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Parkland Teacher Allegedly Left Loaded Gun In Bathroom At Florida Beach

A homeless man found it and fired it at a wall, police said.

By Jon Silman

A Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School teacher who survived the mass shooting at the Parkland, Florida school left a loaded gun in a public bathroom at a popular beach, authorities said.

Science teacher Sean Simpson was arrested and charged with failing to safely store a firearm, a second-degree misdemeanor. He was released on $250 cash bond.

Simpson, 43, realized he'd left the gun at the Deerfield Beach Pier about five minutes after he left the bathroom there, the Sun Sentinel reported. A 69-year-old homeless man named Joseph Spataro found the gun and fired it at a wall as Simpson was walking back. Simpson then grabbed the gun from Spataro. Deputies arrived and found the gun and a magazine in Simpson's pocket, as well as a casing in the corner of the bathroom.

Simpson had a valid concealed weapons permit, the Sentinel reported.  

The school says it will keep Simpson on the job for now and has no immediate actions planned.

"We wouldn’t take any action at the school until there’s a final disposition,” Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie told the Sun Sentinel. “Then we would decide if an investigation or discipline is warranted.”

Simpson has expressed support for arming teachers in Florida school, a controversial idea lawmakers proposed in the gun control debate set off by the Parkland shooting. In an interview with MSNBC News, Simpson said he supported a ban on semiautomatic weapons and bump stocks, but he was open to the idea of teachers packing in class. 

"Some of us are willing to take training if it was offered to be another line of defense,” he said.

The Florida Legislature passed a bill that provides funding to train some school employees, such as librarians, Junior ROTC instructors and administrators, to be armed if the school district approves. Broward County, where Marjory Stoneman Douglas is located, voted on April 10 not to participate. 

Lawmakers originally wanted to allow teachers and other employees that worked inside the classroom to participate, but the program was scaled back after objections from the school shooting survivors.

Seventeen people were killed in the Valentine's Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, sparking a national movement led by students there to tighten gun regulations. 

[Photo: Broward County Sheriff's Office]

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