SAN DIEGO - A Farb Middle School teacher who brought a loaded gun to work, possibly as a means of defending himself on the Tierrasanta campus, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony charge of possession of a firearm in a school zone.
Seventh- and eighth-grade English instructor Ned Carter Walker, 41, faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced Aug. 12 by Judge Eugenia Eyherabide.
As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors dismissed a charge of possessing a knife or stabbing instrument on school grounds.
Defense attorney Michael Berg spoke to reporters after the hearing.
"He didn't wave the gun," Berg said. "He didn't flash it. Nobody saw it. It was always in his pocket, so nobody was actually endangered or threatened by it. There are some states, South Dakota being one, where teachers are allowed to have guns in the school. California is not there yet. Mr. Walker was sort of ahead of his time, so to speak, but he knows it's illegal."
He said there was support for Walker in the community but 10News heard others in opposition.
Denise McLain observed, "He's a teacher and he has to protect his kids and I can understand with all the school shootings but you have to leave it up to the politics in the school … [security] … Yeah, get somebody on the school campus, one person to take care of the school."
Robbie Scholder agreed, "Not a good idea. I don't think it's a good idea at all 'cause somebody else could get a hold of that gun."
San Diego Unified School District Officer Henry Ramelli testified during a preliminary hearing in April that he was called in by Farb's principal to assist with an investigation on Feb. 11.
"She (Courtney 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 and was patted down and discovered to be carrying a Colt semiautomatic pistol with a seven-round magazine and a knife with a 2 1/2-inch blade, authorities said.
Walker -- who remains free on $50,000 bail -- was placed on leave from his job following his arrest.
A school district spokesman told 10News that Walker will be terminated upon his sentencing.