Officer accidentally discharges weapon at George Washington Middle School

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George Washington Middle School (Photo Credit: Aleksandra Kochurova)
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By Missy Schrott | mschrott@alextimes.com

An Alexandria police officer accidentally discharged his weapon Tuesday morning at George Washington Middle School, the Alexandria Police Department announced in a news release.

The incident involved a school resource officer accidentally firing his weapon inside his office at the middle school at around 9:10 a.m. The news release states the officer checked for injuries and found that there were none. The officer, at that point, contacted his supervisor and school staff, according to the release.

Classes continued as normal for students and staff after the incident.

“What we’re happy to report is that there were no injuries and that is what is most important to us,” Dr. Lois Berlin, Alexandria City Public Schools’ interim superintendent, told press afterward.

The officer has been with the Alexandria Police Department for five years. He has been placed on administrative leave while police investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident, according to the release. In addition to other security personnel, both George Washington and Francis C. Hammond Middle Schools have one armed SRO, while T.C. Williams High School has two.

APD spokeswoman Crystal Nosal said the police department would release additional information about the incident when the investigation was closed.

Berlin said she could not say where in the school the SRO’s office was, as it is part of the active investigation. She did say, however, that the shot was not heard throughout the school.

“Quite honestly, we are not seeing big reactions because most of the school really didn’t know what occurred,” Berlin said.

Shortly after ACPS administration was informed of the incident, they sent a notice to the school community that an incident had occurred and police were fully investigating it, Berlin said.

“We talked with students and with staff. We talked with students in an age appropriate way, and let them know that we had support on hand should they need that,” she said.

“Given the events in Parkland, Florida, and the events over the past year – 18 shootings is just unfathomable – so of course there’s heightened concern,” Berlin said. “If this can happen with a trained police officer, this is why we don’t need to arm teachers.”

This is a developing story. Updates will be posted to the story as they become available.

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