By Mike Fletcher
Tribune crime reporter
Court dates for the former teacher whose handgun and holster were found at Kokomo High School were set this week at the defendant’s initial hearing.
Christopher Johnson appeared in Howard Circuit Court and was arraigned on Class D felony charges of possession of a firearm on school property and a Class B misdemeanor criminal recklessness.
Not guilty pleas were entered on his behalf and Johnson was appointed a public defender. He is set to reappear June 12 for his pretrial hearing and July 2 for a trial. Johnson turned himself into police March 19. He was booked into the Howard County jail on the felony charges and was released after posting $750, 10 percent of the $7,500 bail.
Charges were filed against Johnson March 18 after auto tech students at the Kokomo Area Career Center discovered a loaded 9mm Beretta handgun and an extra clip after playing with a tape measure, which hit the ceiling and moved a ceiling tile.
Johnson, a former teacher at the Area Career Center, taught criminal justice at the career center for five years. Johnson’s final day of teaching was in May 2012.
Kokomo police believe Johnson placed the weapon in the ceiling when he was teaching.
Johnson, 52, Frankfort, posted a $7,500 bond and was released from the jail.
Police with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms traced the gun to Johnson’s ex-wife.
During an interview with police, 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.
Police said they don’t know how long the gun was hidden inside the ceiling of the school.
If convicted, Johnson could face up to three years on the Class D felony and up to six months on the misdemeanor.