A San Jose middle school teacher was arrested Wednesday in connection with a February road rage incident that escalated into a strong-arm robbery, according to NBC Bay Area, and police said there was a loaded gun in his classroom at the time of his arrest.
Charles Ha So, 35, was identified as a suspect in the Feb. 21 incident, where police said he assaulted another man and “forcibly took” his cell phone, San Jose Police Sgt. Enrique Garcia told the Mercury News.
The MERGE Unit, San Jose’s version of a SWAT team, went to Chaboya Middle School on Wednesday to arrest So, who teaches an eighth-grade language arts class there, according to the Mercury News.
Police said the first-year teacher had a loaded handgun in his satchel when he was arrested, NBC Bay Area reported.
“It’s going to be very difficult for him to articulate why he had a loaded firearm in the classroom,” Garcia told NBC Bay Area.
Charles Crosby, a spokesman for the Evergreen School District, told ABC 7 that the district first heard about the allegations on Wednesday and that So passed background and fingerprint checks as recently as Aug. 17.
“There was nothing on the record to show that there was anything we should worry about,” Crosby told ABC 7. “That’s another issue that we would like a little clarity on because it’s troubling.”
Garcia told the Mercury News that police don’t currently believe So was going to use the loaded gun found in the classroom “against staff or students.”
So was taken to the Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of robbery and possession of a firearm at school, according to ABC 7.
He is being held in lieu of $65,000 bail, according to jail records.
The school’s principal notified parents of the arrest on Wednesday night, Crosby told the Mercury News.
A parent, who was not identified, told ABC 7 that her son is a student in So’s class.
“I’m numb,” she told ABC 7. Regarding the loaded gun: “You hear about it happening elsewhere, you just don’t think it’s going to be happening in your school.”