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Officials: Ex-student held NY principal hostage

(AP) - A 42-year-old man sneaked adisassembled shotgun into his old middle school just after classesbegan Tuesday, put it together in a bathroom then held theprincipal hostage for more than two hours

News 12 Staff

Nov 11, 2009, 5:07 PM

Updated 5,360 days ago

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(AP) - A 42-year-old man sneaked adisassembled shotgun into his old middle school just after classesbegan Tuesday, put it together in a bathroom then held theprincipal hostage for more than two hours before surrenderingwithout firing a shot, police said.
Dutchess County Sheriff Adrian Anderson said Christopher CraftSr. would be charged with first-degree kidnapping, criminalpossession of a weapon and criminal trespassing. He was scheduledto be arraigned Tuesday afternoon.
Craft walked into the main office at Stissing Mountain MiddleSchool and held Principal Bob Hess hostage while students and staffwere locked down in other parts of the building, Anderson said. Noone was injured.
Craft didn't specifically threaten anyone at the school,Anderson said. Police would not discuss a possible motive. Crafthad two sons who had attended the school, but school officials saidneither was currently enrolled.
Classes began around 7:30 a.m. and Craft walked in a few minuteslater, checking in with a receptionist as required, according toPine Plains Schools Superintendent Linda Kaumeyer. He asked to usethe bathroom, where he put the shotgun back together, loaded itwith one round and headed into the main office, police said.
Police went room to room after Craft surrendered, evacuatingabout 700 students from the combined middle and high schools asthey went. The students were taken to a bus garage, then returnedto school by mid-afternoon. They were allowed to go home around2:20 p.m., right around the time the school day normally ends. Somewere met by parents; others walked down the main street away fromschool.
Hess was the psychologist at the school before becomingprincipal, said Gregg Pulver, superintendent of Pine Plains, a townabout 90 miles north of New York City.
The school was schedule to be closed Wednesday to observeVeterans Day, but Kaumeyer said she would consider opening it toprovide counseling.
The school was on lockdown just after school began Tuesday withCraft and Hess contained in one room. Students and other facultymembers were locked in other rooms.
After Craft surrendered, armed officers could be seen standingguard at the front door of the school. Craft was handcuffed and ledto an ambulance, where he was checked by paramedics.
Parents were told to gather in a parking lot at a restaurant acouple of blocks from school. Hundreds of people, including parentsand other townspeople, were milling around an intersection near theschool, which sits in a rural valley amid rolling hills.
Police said Craft had a prior misdemeanor conviction, but theywould not release details. He was also the victim of a shooting inDecember 2000, when he was shot in the shoulder during a disputeover stolen property.


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