DANIA BEACH, Fla. - Broward County school security guard Nathaniel Strowbridge is no longer facing criminal charges after he was found to have a gun stowed in his car that was parked at the school.
Strowbridge was arrested on the first day of school, Aug. 15, on a charge of having a firearm on school property.
"I would have put my life on the line for the kids, because that is what I was there for," Strowbridge told Local 10 News Tuesday. "So I wouldn't have done anything in my life or anything during my time of tenure to hurt those kids or any staff because I was there to protect them."
Strowbridge, 57, worked at Olsen Middle School in Dania Beach for most of his 25-year career until deputies arrested him after an anonymous caller told Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies he had a gun in his car.
Strowbridge was called into the principal's office and after a search, investigators said they found a 45-caliber handgun on the floorboard of the car, which was parked in the school lot. The tipster also claimed Strowbridge was mentally unstable.
"To have my livelihood taken away by something such as this -- it's been really tough," Strowbridge said.
Former and current teachers and students at the school came to Strowbridge's defense after his arrest.
"It's not in his nature at all … He has one of the soundest minds at that school and I can tell you that 100 percent," former Olsen Middle teacher Terry Lopez Preuss previously told Local 10 News.
Some believe Strowbridge was set up and coworkers said he really needs his job since he takes care of his disabled wife and three grandchildren.
Support quickly grew online as well for Strowbridge. There was a petition with some 900 signatures just two weeks after the incident, requesting that administrators help him get his job reinstated or to guarantee his pension.
"I want my job back and I want my reputation back," Strowbridge said.
Strowbridge's attorney said his client legally owns the firearm in question and had it locked in his car, enclosed in its case.
"We never contested whether he had a firearm in his locked vehicle securely in case, but we pointed out to the court that he has a concealed weapons permit, which was issued by the state of Florida," attorney Noel H. Flasterstein said.
A judge ultimately ruled in Strowbridge's favor and dismissed the charges Tuesday.
Strowbridge intends to file a lawsuit against the school district.
Copyright 2018 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.