PINE PLAINS—Christopher Craft, 42, a former student at the Stissing Mountain Middle/High School, is in the Dutchess County Jail after allegedly taking a principal hostage inside the school the morning of November 10.
The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office reports at about 7:45 a.m., Mr. Craft, walked into the Stissing Mountain Middle/High School with a concealed shotgun.
Once inside, he revealed the firearm and barricaded himself inside the middle school office, taking Middle School Principal Robert Hess hostage.
Sheriff’s deputies and State Police set up a secure area around the school to control the situation. The school implemented its emergency plan, including a lockdown, and the students were safe, according to a press release.
Contact teams from both police agencies gained entry to the school and contained Mr. Craft to one room.
Hostage negotiators spoke to Mr. Craft, who surrendered to police at 9:52 a.m. No shots were fired and no one was hurt.
Authorities say Mr. Craft’s motivation still remains unclear. He was charged with first degree kidnapping and following arraignment was sent to the Dutchess County Jail without bail.
Classes were cancelled and students were dismissed early following the incident.
“The communication and cooperation with other agencies and the school is why the situation was resolved successfully. What’s really important is that people know that their children are safe. Proper protocol was followed,” Sheriff Adrian “Butch” Anderson said in the release. Assemblyman Marcus J. Molinaro (R-103rd) said in a statement, “The events of today at Stissing Mountain High School in Pine Plains are indeed frightening. Schools are to be sanctuaries for our students; places where our children can learn and socialize free from harm. We can all breathe a sigh of relief knowing the gunman… was captured without incident.”
The assemblyman commended law enforcement agencies for their seamless response and their ability to resolve this situation so quickly, professionally and safely.
Others assisting at the scene were: City and Town of Poughkeepsie Police, Dutchess County Probation, Pine Plains Police and Fire departments, Pine Plains Supervisor Gregg Pulver, Northern Dutchess Paramedics, Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response, ATF, FBI, and the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office.
Pine Plains is located in Dutchess County and some children who live in Ancram and Gallatin in Columbia County attend school in that district.