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Former Kokomo teacher arrested after gun is found in his old classroom

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A former teacher turned himself in to the Howard County Criminal Justice Center after a loaded handgun was found inside his old classroom.

Christopher Johnson worked at the Kokomo Area Career Center for five years. He resigned May 2012. The school system said there weren’t any issues. Johnson was a criminal justice teacher at the school.

Then 10 months later, on March 8, a student found a handgun in Johnson’s former classroom. The auto tech class had finished a test and students were doing an experiment.

“One of the students was holding up a tape measure and bumped the ceiling (and) saw there was something there,” David Barnes said.

Barnes is the director of communications for the school system. He called the discovery a “pure act of irresponsibility.”

“There was a point where we want to know what happened, you know. How did the weapon end up in our ceiling?” Barnes asked.

Barnes said officers immediately searched the career center to make sure it was safe.

According to court documents, Johnson’s ex-wife had bought the gun. He told officers he thought his ex-wife had the gun. He said he had not seen it in years.

The court document read in part, “he then said that if he had taken the gun to school, he did it unintentionally. Mr. Johnson said he did not remember putting the gun in the ceiling.”

Kokomo Major Brian Seldon said, “we interviewed Mr. Johnson and (he was) kinda vague on how the weapon entered into the classroom. But, he admitted that it would be logical for him to place the weapon in the ceiling to keep it away from students.”

Court documents stated Johnson was issued a Lifetime Handgun Permit on Nov. 15, 2007. Johnson had the gun on school property sometime between Aug. 2007 through Jan. 2013, officials said. While Johnson’s last day teaching was in May 2012, his resignation was effective Jan. 2013.

“The only thing I’ll say is we have a system that says that we’re innocent until proven guilty. I believe in that system and all I would ask is that the media and the public believe in that system too,” Johnson told Fox59.

When he was asked about the gun he responded with, “like I said innocent until proven guilty and we’ll just leave it at that.”

Johnson was charged with possessing a firearm on school property, which is a felony. He was also charged with criminal recklessness, which is a misdemeanor.

Barnes said teachers will be given professional development in order to make sure they understand the laws.

“But very honestly, we want to know what happened. How could this happen and -for us- it comes back (to what the) superintendent said. (He said it) is a sad situation when an irresponsible act by one individual sheds a light on a corporation we feel is doing a very good job,” Barnes said.

23 comments

  • anon

    Anybody in that room was damn lucky that the ceiling didn't collapse & the gun didn't hit the floor! How irresponsible!

    • sambo

      handguns don't fire when dropped..they are not made like long guns and shotguns. you speak from an incorrect assumption.

  • anonymous

    My concern comes that what if one of our students had done the same thing? And we put this man in charge of a classroom teaching criminal justice and he takes a gun to his school classroom.

    • Rick

      Let's see, This is a criminal justice teacher, not a felon, not a nutcase liberal, possibly thinking of how he can protect himself and his students, guns are NOT illegal…………………..my CONCERN is that this man is now being vilified by the anti Second Amendment leftists ? Maybe if a teacher at Sandy Hook had a gun in the ceiling when they first heard shooting more kids would be alive today. Who knows ???

  • Bev

    He was a Criminal Justice teacher and he did not remember where the gun was? I would think he would have been more careful. Also, if he knew he was not supposed to bring the weapon to school, then why did he do it? What kind of Criminal Justice was he teaching? It is ok to break the laws?

  • law reader

    If he has his LTCH ( he does) then he didn't break any laws. Please read the law on guns at school. If you work for the school you can carry. We now have our test case.

    • Uncle_Slappy

      That would be the case if he had been carrying, but he wasn't. He simply left the gun at the school. If he had maintained posession of the gun I would be on his side but leaving the gun there is irresponsible.

    • John Browning

      Yup, we never thought we would get a test case for this.

      The way the law is worded, it implies that you merely have to be employed by the school. However many interpret it to mean you are employed by a school AND have been given the job of providing security.

      I am guessing the guy accidentally took it to school in a briefcase or something… panicked, stuck it up in the ceiling, and then was too afraid of getting caught to retrieve it and take it home.

      He will definitely be convicted of criminal recklessness since it was a school and it was not in his control.

    • John Browning

      We probably won't get a test case out of this though. The prosecutor is going to take one look at the IC, decide the risk of losing and setting precedent he doesn't like is too high and offer the guy a plea for criminal recklessness. Everybody wins, the teacher gets off with a misdemeanor, gets a slap on the wrist and the prosecutor looks like he did his job without setting precedent that its legal for teachers to carry firearms without school approval.

  • anonymous

    His mental state is what concerns me….he himself claims to have some depressive, manic problems. Get in the archives of our Kokomo radio station and listen to him…scary stuff.

  • Hysteria

    He hasn't been there in months how can he be charged with "possession" of a firearm when he did not have it in his possession. Time to find a good lawyer. Our country needs to stop being so hysterical and locking everyone up except the cops.

  • anonymous

    ANYONE that knows this mans lifestyle in many areas of his life would understand why he is on a police mugshot and news today. He can not hide behind women and the convenience of religion forever….honesty is not his strongest point.

  • Erika Leffert

    Chris may not be perfect but who is? I know I’m not. We all make mistakes. Sometimes they are just different or bigger than others. It is not our place to judge or condemn. He will have his day in court. Thankfully, nobody was hurt or worse in this situation. That’s the part we should be more focused on.

  • Mort

    Those of you who get all shocked and outraged at the thought of teachers having guns in school, as someone who comes from a family of teachers I'm here to tell you that teachers bring guns to school. It's not even the majority, but personally I'm glad a few of them will break the law in case some lunatic decides he wants to start slaughtering kids.

    Some of you say that we're lucky that the gun didn't accidentally kill a student. I say we're lucky that Mr Johnson didn't have to defend his kids from a lunatic or gang members who were pissed that a former member was turning his life around. If any of you have ever taught kids, especially ones from bad backgrounds, you would know EXACTLY why someone might (allegedly) do such a thing.

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