At the downtown courthouse on February 19, a Jean Farb Middle School teacher pleaded not guilty to two felony charges of having a gun and a knife on the Tierrasanta school campus where he teaches seventh- and eighth-grade English.
Ned Carter Walker, 41, was arrested in the school parking lot last week for carrying a loaded .38 caliber pistol and a knife on the campus. He was jailed and held on $50,000 bond; he made bail the next day, February 12.
On February 19, Walker looked serious during his arraignment. He stood still and had a gloomy demeanor as he faced the judge.
Walker could receive up to five years and eight months in prison if convicted of the charges. He was possibly carrying the weapons as protection in the event an armed intruder entered the campus, according to Rueben Littlejohn, San Diego Unified School District’s police chief, who spoke at a February 12 news conference.
"We speculate that, based on reports from staff members, this employee had somewhat of an infatuation with guns and brought the weapon(s) to the school to protect himself in the event of a violent intruder,'' Littlejohn said during the news briefing, according to various news reports. Littlejohn also said that he didn’t know of any threats that had been made by Walker to use the weapons.
In California, only sworn law officers are allowed to have weapons on a school campus. Walker is currently on administrative leave from his job, pending the outcome of the court case, according to his attorney, Gerissa Santos.
“There are two sides to every story and Mr. Walker clearly would like to share his side at some point in time; it just, unfortunately, will not be today,” Santos said outside the courtroom on February 19. She said she could not discuss any details, as she was waiting for copies of the police reports and discovery from the district attorney’s office.
Santos did say that Walker misses his job and his students, and that he has been a teacher for more than a decade. Walker is a father, and his wife is also a teacher, she said. Santos said there are students at the school who want him to come back and that “it’s a devastating situation.” His preliminary hearing is set for April 23.