CPS teacher charged with illegally dealing ammunition and gun accessories

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago Public School Teacher was charged with illegally dealing ammunition and gun accessories on Chicago's South Side, according to a complaint filed Thursday by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors said Brent Turpin, a teacher at Kershaw Magnet School, supplied a convicted felon who was working with the FBI with a handgun magazine, a laser sight and two boxes of ammunition.

Turpin, 53, is charged with one count of conspiracy to dispose of a firearm and ammunition to a known felon, and one count of disposing ammunition to a known felon. He was due in court for a detention hearing at 3 p.m.

Together, the charges carry 15 years in prison maximum.

Turpin's attorney denied the charges.

"We're going to answer the government's charges, and hopefully after a thorough process he'll be exonerated," said Lawrence Wolf Levin, defendant's attorney.

Prosecutors said Turpin is the guardian of a 17-year-old boy and conspired with that juvenile to provide weapons and ammunition to the informant.

Prosecutors said the informant is a friend of the juvenile, and that Turpin worked to secure a firearm for the informant at a gun show in Indiana earlier in the summer. Turpin allegedly instructed the information on what to say and do while they drove to the show. Prosecutors said Turpin and the informant met with a gun dealer at the show but did not purchase a gun because Turpin allegedly declined to present his driver's license.

"Further investigation needs to be done," Levin said. "He's done an excellent job in the community and the kids that he has been associated with have learned and further shown degrees of excellence."

Chicago Public Schools released a statement, saying, "The vast majority of CPS employees embrace their unique opportunity to serve as positive role models for young people in our city, which makes these allegations so disturbing and out of the ordinary for our school district. The employee in question has been removed from his position while the investigation proceeds, and our staff is focused on supporting the school community during this difficult time."

The CPS spokesperson said Turpin has worked as a special education teacher at Kershaw since 2010 and previously worked at Lathrop Elementary School and Charles Hughes Elementary School. The spokesperson said he was suspended Wednesday after CPS received notice of the charges.