SAN DIEGO — A San Diego teacher was arrested Monday at Farb Middle School after he was found carrying a gun and a switchblade knife at the Tierrasanta campus, authorities said.
Ned Carter Walker, who teaches seventh- and eighth-grade English, was jailed on felony charges of having weapons on school grounds, said Rueben Littlejohn, the San Diego Unified School District’s police chief.
Littlejohn, speaking at a Tuesday news conference, said he knew of no threats made by Walker to use the weapons, but “we speculate that this employee was somewhat infatuated with firearms” and wanted to be ready in case of an armed intruder on campus.
It is a felony in California for anyone except sworn law officers to have weapons on a school campus, even if the person has a permit to carry a gun, Littlejohn said. He said he didn’t know if Walker had a concealed weapons permit.
Walker, 41, was held on $50,000 in bail but had been released from jail as of Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday afternoon, a man answering a phone number associated with Walker said, “I have no comment at this time.”
Walker has been placed on administrative leave and a substitute teacher was assigned to his classes, Farb Principal Courtney Rizzo said in a letter on the school website.
Some staff members told the principal on Monday morning that they had heard Walker was keeping ammunition in locked cabinets in his classroom, Littlejohn said. He said Walker had told some students and staff that he had a gun, and that he loves firearms.
Rizzo searched Walker’s classroom but wasn’t able to get into two locked cabinets. She contacted police, who checked the cabinets but found nothing improper, Littlejohn said.
“When we asked him initially, he denied possessing any weapons,” Littlejohn said. He said Walker let officers check his car in the school parking lot. Then, he said, they noticed a bulge in one of Walker’s pockets.
They patted him down and found a .380-caliber semi-automatic pistol with a 7-round magazine, and a switchblade knife with a 2 ½-inch blade, Littlejohn said.
Walker was arrested about 8:30 a.m. with no students around, the chief said. He said he didn’t know how long Walker had been carrying the pistol.
Walker has taught at Farb since 2006, and at Hamilton Elementary School for three years before that, Littlejohn said.
“There probably are a handful of teachers out there who know bringing a gun to school is not a good idea, but may not know it’s a felony,” Littlejohn said. “(Walker’s) intentions may be good, but nothing good came of this.”
Counselors were made available to students who wanted to talk about the incident.