UPDATE: Forest Hill High student says loaded handgun was protection

7:18 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 Local
A Forest Hill High School student was arrested Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, for reportedly having a loaded gun in his waistband.

A sophomore brought a loaded handgun Friday to Forest Hill High School because he needed protection, the 17-year-old told Palm Beach County School District police.

The teen was arrested Friday morning on a charge of possessing a loaded handgun at school.

School police found the gun while patting down the student. They had pulled him from class due to an open probation-violation charge in a curfew case, West Palm Beach police said.

The teen said he had the gun, and the three bullets inside it, because someone shot at him the previous Sunday, so he needed protection. That shooting, he said, stemmed from unresolved problems in his West Palm neighborhood. City police did not have any record of the alleged shooting.

However, records indicate he was stabbed in the back in 2016 during a fight in Riviera Beach.

The teen has been arrested on felony charges at least three times in the last two years. Once was for reportedly “car hopping” while he was a freshman at Palm Beach Gardens High School. Another arrest came when he was an eighth-grader at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Riviera Beach. Police said he and other boys allegedly robbed their classmate who was waiting for a bus.

He was arrested in October 2015 on burglary and theft charges when West Palm Beach officers reportedly saw him and another teen going into a car near Clematis Street.

Palm Beach County school authorities have found at least three other guns in county schools this year, including one found Tuesday in Greenacres in a Cholee Lake Elementary School student’s backpack.

A loaded gun was found Jan. 26 on a cabinet in a classroom during dismissal at William T. Dwyer High in Palm Beach Gardens. And last month a Boynton Beach middle school student was suspended after allegedly bringing a gun to school.