Former school gunman arrested on weapons charges again; released with a ticket

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HYDE PARK – A man who held a Pine Plains High School Principal hostage at gunpoint in 2009 was arrested on Wednesday on several charges, including the illegal possession of a firearm.

Fifty-five-year-old Christopher “Chris” Craft was arrested by State Troopers after the vehicle he was in was pulled over for several traffic violations on Route 9 in Hyde Park.  His son Jeremy Craft, 32, was also arrested. Both men are residents of Rhinebeck.

Police determined Christopher and Jeremy Craft possessed a loaded Mossberg 500A 12-gauge shotgun illegally.  Both men have previous criminal convictions that prohibit them from possessing firearms. In addition to the loaded shotgun, an unrestrained child was riding in the front seat of the van.

During the arrest, Christopher Craft refused to comply with lawful orders.

The two men were arraigned in Hyde Park Justice Court on misdemeanor charges of criminal possession of a weapon, endangering the welfare of a child, and possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.  Christopher Craft was additionally arrested for misdemeanor obstruction of governmental administration.

Both men were released with appearance tickets returnable in Hyde Park Justice Court on May 9, 2022.

The elder Craft has a lengthy criminal history that includes the 2009 storming into the Stissing Mountain Junior-Senior High School with a loaded shotgun and holding then Principal Bob Hess hostage.  The situation resulted in a two-hour standoff until he finally surrendered to the SWAT team.

In 2018, Jeremy Craft was an inmate at the Dutchess County Jail when his friend Matthew Moore attempted to smuggle a controlled substance to the inmate.  Both men were charged for that incident.

Lifelong Pine Plains resident Sarah Cahill-Funk was outraged after learning of the most recent arrests.  Mrs. Funk recalled the day of the hostage crisis vividly.  “That day was one of the most traumatic days in the lives of all of us who had kids in that building and or worked there, she said.  “Now the state’s bail reform laws are putting us at risk again.  “He (Christopher) is not supposed to possess any guns after the school standoff and the state is allowing him to walk away with a ticket after being caught with a gun.  This is repulsive!”