By Ken de la Bastide
Tribune staff writer
A former teacher at the Kokomo Area Career Center has been charged with possession of a firearm on school property in connection with the discovery of a handgun found hidden in the ceiling of a classroom.
Auto tech students at the Career Center discovered the loaded handgun and an extra clip after playing with a tape measure, which hit the ceiling and moved a ceiling tile. A loaded 9mm Beretta in its holster fell to the ground.
Former teacher Christopher Johnson turned himself in at the Howard County Criminal Justice Center Tuesday morning on a class D felony charge of possessing a firearm on school property and a misdemeanor charge of criminal recklessness.
Johnson, 52, Frankfort, posted a $7,500 bond and was released from the jail.
Kokomo-Center officials have been notified that Kokomo police have reason to believe the weapon was placed in the ceiling by Johnson, who taught criminal justice at the career center for five years. Johnson’s final day of teaching was in May 2012.
With assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms the gun was traced to the ex-wife of Johnson. During an interview, Johnson was vague about how the weapon was brought into the school and taken into the classroom.
Johnson told police it would have been logical that he placed the weapon in the ceiling to keep it away from students.
Major Brian Seldon, public information officer for the Kokomo Police Department, said police don’t know how long the gun was hidden inside the ceiling of the school.
“I extend special gratitude to the city of Kokomo and its police department for working diligently to bring forth information, solutions, and appropriate actions related to this case,” Jeff Hauswauld, superintendent of Kokomo-Center schools, said in a press release. “It is rather unfortunate that this disconcerting situation was created by the irresponsible acts of one individual. This atypical behavior certainly does not reflect the professionalism displayed daily by the hardworking teachers and staff.”