A man pulled over in Southampton Village early Saturday morning was found not only allegedly to be driving drunk with a suspended license — but also unlawfully in possession of a loaded handgun, according to police. He also teaches fourth grade in the Riverhead Central School District.
said that Joe Johnson, 38, of Southampton, was charged with two felony counts and one misdemeanor count of criminal possession of a weapon around 3:36 a.m. Saturday on Hill Street after he was arrested for DWI and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree, both misdemeanors.
Johnson had a .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol, police said.
On Tuesday, Riverhead School District Superintendent Nancy Carney confirmed that Johnson is an employee of the district. He is employed as a fourth grade teacher at the Phillips Avenue Elementary School, Carney said.
"The Riverhead Central School District is monitoring the matter and will of course cooperate with the Southampton Village Police Department," Carney wrote in an email. "Mr. Johnson has been administratively reassigned to his home, effective immediately. Any further action, if and when appropriate, will be taken after the charges are addressed by the court."
A former graduate of the district, Johnson has been involved with athletics and spoken to students a number of years ago about saying no to drugs.
Bail was set at $3,000 during his arraignment at Saturday morning. Police said the investigation is ongoing.