The San Diego-area school teacher facing two felonies for carrying a loaded weapon on a school campus is said to be devastated by his arrest.
Ned Walker, 41, was arrested Feb. 11 after San Diego Unified School District police reported finding a loaded .380 semi-automatic handgun with a 7-round magazine as well as a 2.5 inch locking blade knife in his car.
The Farb Middle School English teacher appeared before a judge Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to two felony charges. If convicted, Walker faces up to 5 years, 8 months in prison.
Walker was free on bail but opted not to explain his actions to the media at this time according to defense attorney Gerissa Santos.
"He’s obviously devastated. He loves his job and he loves teaching,” Santos said adding that Walker's career means everything to him.
The school's vice principal contacted school police after learning Walker may be storing ammunition on campus. Police questioned Walker and said he denied possessing the gun at first.
A search of the teacher's locked cabinets in his classroom resulted in no ammo or weapons found. Officers then searched the teacher's car in the parking lot and found the loaded handgun according to SDUSD Chief of Police Rueben Littlejohn.
Littlejohn was clear that even with the heightened anxiety surrounding school safety after the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn., teachers should not take matters into their own hands.
Twenty-seven people died including 20 children in the second most-deadlies shooting in U.S. history on Dec. 14, 2012.
Deputy District Attorney Heather Trocha shared that sentiment when she was asked what message she would send other teachers who may be concerned about school safety.
“Just follow the law and keep your kids safe,” Trocha said.
However Santos said her client's concern for his students has increased following the high-profile violence on school campuses around the U.S.
“It’s difficult to be the protector of your students as well as yourself and not be in a position to do so at times given atrocities that have happened in the past few months,” Santos said.
“So it’s quite difficult.”
A preliminary hearing was set for April.