A chemistry teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Sunday accidentally left a Glock 43 9mm pistol with seven rounds loaded in it in a public bathroom stall at the Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier in Deerfield, Florida. The teacher, a 43-year-old named Sean Simpson, then tried to wash his hands after relieving himself. However, because the sink wasn’t working, Simpson left the facility to find a location to cleanse elsewhere.
“The sink would not work,” according to a Broward County Sheriff’s Office arrest report. “He then exited the bathroom stall and washed his hands in the main bathroom sink — then [exited] the bathroom. At this time the gun was still left in the stall.”
Within five minutes, a homeless man, Joseph Spataro, found the gun and fired a bullet into one of the bathroom’s walls. Simpson returned, confronted Spataro, and reclaimed the weapon. Spataro was charged with discharging a firearm in a public or residential property and trespassing and Simpson was cited for unsafe storage of a firearm. Simpson, who has a valid concealed carry permit, remains employed and he’s not expected to be disciplined by school officials.
“Safety and security remain the District’s highest priorities,” the Broward County School District said in a statement. “The District is aware of an incident, which occurred over the weekend at the Deerfield Beach Pier. At this juncture, no determination regarding employee discipline has been made, pending the final disposition of the charges.”
Nikolas Cruz used an AR-15 semi-automatic style rifle to murder 17 people and injure another 15 individuals at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14. Judge Kim Theresa Mollica ordered Cruz to be held without bond on 17 counts of premeditated murder the day after the massacre. Roughly two weeks after Cruz’s attack, the Florida House Appropriations Committee approved a $67 million bill that will allow 10 trained teachers to carry a firearm in every school across the state. If selected following an extensive vetting process, educators who partake in the “school marshal” program will receive a one-time stipend of $500.
“I don’t know if that’s the answer, but I know that there are some of us that are willing to take the training if it was offered and probably be another line of defense, but again it’s a complicated subject and I’m not sure if it’s the answer,” Simpson said. “I think it’s easier to get these type weapons out of the hands of people that aren’t meant to do anything but kill.”
The Broward County School Board announced on Tuesday that it won’t arm its staff and would prefer to use funds to hire more school resource officers.
“To leave $67 million on the table is just a travesty,” school board member Robin Bartleman said, according to the Herald. “We should definitely launch a campaign to persuade the governor — for those districts who don’t want to arm their employees, that they give us the money to keep our children safe in other ways, as opposed to leaving it there.”
Prosecutors proclaimed that they will seek to execute Cruz.