Exclusive: Guns Scandal at Parkland Charter School Involved Principal's Father, Staffer's Ex-Husband
Somerset Parkland Academy – Photo by Parkland Talk

By Kevin Deutsch

The gun scandal that roiled Somerset Parkland Academy in June involved both the school’s principal and a support staff member formerly married to the principal’s father—the man to who one of the gun’s apparently belonged, law enforcement records show.

The two firearms were concealed in a black bag and discovered June 2 by the school’s activities director, Kaitlene Alonso, inside school conference room 100C. The weapons were a black Beretta 380 Cal semi-automatic pistol and a silver Jimenez Arms 380 Cal semi-automatic pistol, according to an incident report obtained by Parkland Talk through a public records request.

Two loaded ammunition magazines were also found, records show. The incident report does not indicate whether the guns were loaded with magazines at the time.

Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputy Krizia Somaza, the school resource officer at Somerset Parkland Academy, learned of the guns in the school at 8401 N. University Dr. after receiving a radio call from Assistant Principal Margaret Campbell, who summoned Somaza to the conference room shortly after 10 a.m.

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There, Campbell explained that a staff member—later identified as Alonso—had been working in the room when she spotted a bag she believed might have a gun inside, the records state.

Somaza opened the bag, found and secured the guns, and began investigating, according to the report.

When Somaza spoke with Alonso, the activities director told her she had spotted the black bag and placed it on a chair, not knowing what the bag contained.

Alonso said a member of the school’s support staff, Odalys Suarez, 63, had “walked into the conference room and opened the chair that she had put the black bag on…[Suarez] recognized the bag and told Mrs. Alonso that she believed that was a gun bag,” the incident report states.

“Mrs. Alonso stated that [Suarez] called her over, and when [Suarez] opened the bag, they saw the handle of the gun. [Somaza] then met with [Suarez] who…stated that she immediately recognized the bag as her ex-husband’s gun bag and notified administration.”

Somaza then spoke again with Campbell, who said that, after learning of the guns, she “quickly evacuated the conference room as there were other staff members in the room and called [Somaza] to secure the firearms,” the report states.

After further investigation, Somaza met with Somerset Parkland Academy Principal Geyler Castro, 39, “who advised that one of the firearms belonged to her and the other one was her father’s, Gil Suarez.”

Neither Gil Suarez, 80, of Miami nor Odalys Suarez could immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

Castro, the principal, told Somaza she had “put both firearms in her vehicle and was trying to take them to the post office to be secured in a safety box.”

“She had boxes in her vehicle with graduation supplies, which different staff members helped unload from her vehicle. Mrs. Castro is unsure if a staff member accidentally brought the firearm(s) into the school in a box while unloading the graduation supplies.”

The report states that Castro has a concealed weapons permit that expires on January 25, 2024.

Both firearms were placed into safe keeping by BSO, the report states.

Todd German, chair of Somerset Parkland Academy’s board of directors, was notified of the guns’ discovery around the same time.

“[The board] will conduct their own investigation,” according to the report.

Reached by phone Thursday, German said the board wanted to be as transparent as possible, but could not comment while the law enforcement investigation was ongoing.

The guns scandal has had an impact well beyond school grounds.

Eleven days after the firearms were found, Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony fired Captain Craig Calavetta, the BSO Parkland District Chief, saying Calavetta had “deliberately” provided “false information to administration.”

Tony did not say whether the false information concerned the firearms investigation at the school.

Authorities have not said publicly whether criminal charges are being considered in the guns case.

According to state law, it is a felony to bring a firearm into a school in Florida.

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Author Profile

Kevin Deutsch
Kevin Deutsch
Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.

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