A Johnson City teenager was arraigned Wednesday in Sessions Court on gun and drug charges.
Benjamin Neis-Eldridge, 18, 304 Shenandoah Drive, is jailed on a $11,000 bond. Judge Robert Lincoln appointed the public defender’s office to represent him on the charges.
Neis-Eldridge was arrested at the Liberty Bell Middle School campus on Tuesday after police found a loaded .22-caliber handgun in a trench coat he was wearing.
School administrators became suspicious of Neis-Eldridge because he was wearing a trench coat all buttoned up. The Science Hill High School senior was in a class on the middle school campus because of ongoing construction at the complex.
In addition to the handgun, police found ammunition and a small glass jar containing what they believe to be marijuana.
As soon as police found the weapon, both campuses were placed on a “code yellow” lockdown. That meant no students were allowed to leave their classrooms until the lockdown was lifted.
That lockdown lasted about two hours, police said.
School officials and police said the critical incident plan worked as it was supposed to when implemented.
Johnson City Police Maj. Mark Sirois said the weapon was never displayed and remained in Neis-Eldridge’s coat until police found it.
Police have still not said why Neis-Eldridge took the gun to school.
Simple possession of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor and carries up to 11 months 29 days in jail. Carrying a prohibited weapon on school property is a Class E felony that carries one to two years in jail.
Neis-Eldridge is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 1:30 today in Washington County Sessions Court.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the judge as James Nidiffer.