A June 10 Metro article about William H. Garcia, who was arrested on a felony gun charge, incorrectly reported that Garcia was a Prince William County school employee. He was a Manassas City school employee. (Published 6/11/2005)
A Prince William County school employee has been arrested on a felony gun charge after an officer found a loaded pistol in a trailer where he works behind the Manassas City School Administration Building, police said yesterday.
William H. Garcia, 42, a Spanish translator, was arrested Wednesday after a Manassas City officer went to his office to serve him with a court order to stay away from an ex-girlfriend in Rockville, according to police and court records. In court documents, the woman had written that Garcia always carried a firearm and that she feared for her family's safety. The officer found the weapon on a shelf and bullets in Garcia's pocket.
Garcia, a resident of Leesburg, was charged with possession of a firearm on school property, police said. He was released on his own recognizance.
Less than a month ago, a misdemeanor assault charge against him was dropped, police said. A 14-year-old student claimed that Garcia attacked him at Osbourn High School in October, when Garcia was a teacher there. On May 18, a judge dropped the charge after the boy twice failed to testify against Garcia. Prosecutors could not go forward with their case without the witness, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Claiborne T. Richardson II said yesterday. Garcia's attorney, Steven D. Stone, said yesterday that Garcia was innocent of the assault charge and will be vindicated of the felony charge.
Garcia has been an employee of the Manassas City school system since August 2003, working as a Spanish and English teacher at the high school. In January, Garcia was moved out of the classroom and hired as a translator.
On Wednesday, he was suspended from his job with pay pending the outcome of the case against him and barred from school property, said Superintendent Chip Zullinger.
During his tenure there, Garcia had shown tremendous leadership potential and was active in reaching out to Hispanic youth, Zullinger said.
The temporary peace order, which is similar to a domestic protective order, was filed Tuesday by the Rockville woman, who claimed that the two dated from 2000 to 2003, court records show.
"He is very obsessed and he does not understand that we can't be together anymore," she wrote. "He constantly calls me at work. . . . He also bothers my family."
Staff writer Katherine Shaver contributed to this report.