SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Farb Middle School teacher accused of bringing a loaded gun and knife to work, possibly as a means of defending himself on the Tierrasanta campus, must stand trial on two felony weapons charges, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Seventh- and eighth-grade English instructor Ned Carter Walker, 41, faces up to five years and eight months in prison if convicted of possessing a firearm on school grounds and possessing a knife or stabbing instrument on school grounds. He is on leave from his school.
San Diego Unified School District Officer Henry Ramelli testified during a preliminary hearing that he was called in by Farb Principal Courtney Rizzo to assist with an investigation on Feb. 11.
"She (Rizzo) told me she'd heard rumors from teachers that Walker had a gun and had possibly been ordering ammunition and having it delivered to the school," Ramelli testified.
The witness said the defendant allowed him to search a locked classroom cabinet and a gym bag, but no evidence was recovered.
Ramelli said he, Walker and another police officer, Tom Gray, went to search the defendant's car in the school parking lot.
The witness said he became concerned when he saw something heavy in Walker's front pocket.
After searching the defendant's car, Ramelli said he confronted Walker.
"I positioned Walker between me and the vehicle and told him I believed he had a gun," Ramelli testified.
The defendant admitted that he did, was patted down and handcuffed after a search of his person uncovered a Colt semiautomatic pistol with a seven-round magazine and a knife with a 2 1/2-inch blade.
Defense attorney Michael Berg questioned Ramelli about the steps taken by school police leading up to a search of Walker's clothing.
"You were called to the school to look for someone with a possible gun and ammunition, why didn't you pat him (Walker) down (right away)?" Berg asked the witness. "You searched the cabinet and found nothing, searched his gym bag and found nothing, searched his car and found nothing. So the last place it could be was on his person."
Judge Michael Smyth found that enough evidence was presented for Walker to stand trial June 12. A readiness conference was scheduled for June 4. The defendant remains free on $50,000 bail.
Sunday, December 8 2013 3:00 AM EST2013-12-08 08:00:26 GMT
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