Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

March 19, 2014

Proposed plea reached in gun at school case

Possible sentencing for Christopher Johnson is April 23 in Howard Circuit Court.

By Mike Fletcher
Kokomo Tribune

---- — A former Kokomo High School teacher whose handgun and holster were found in the ceiling at the Kokomo Area Career Center last year entered into a recommended plea deal Wednesday that calls for a suspended sentence and a year of probation.

Christopher Johnson, 53, appeared in Howard Circuit Court and pleaded guilty to a Class B misdemeanor criminal recklessness charge as part of a recommended plea deal.

Judge Lynn Murray took the plea under advisement and set an April 23 possible sentencing date.

If Murray accepts the plea, Johnson will receive a 180-day suspended sentence and one year of supervised probation. He also would have to forfeit his handgun.

Johnson also had been charged with a Class D felony possession of a firearm on school property. That charge will be dismissed if the plea is accepted.

Johnson turned himself in to police March 19, 2012. 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 9 mm Beretta handgun and an extra clip while playing with a tape measure, which hit the ceiling and moved a ceiling tile.

Johnson 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.

Police, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, traced the gun to Johnson’s ex-wife, according to court documents.

Police said they don’t know how long the gun was hidden inside the ceiling of the school. During an interview with police, Johnson was vague about how the weapon ended up in the classroom.

Mike Fletcher can be reached at 765-454-8565 or mike.fletcher@kokomotribune.com