JUST IN: Man tried to bring loaded gun to high school football game

A suburban West Palm Beach man tried to bring a loaded handgun to the Palm Beach Lakes High School football game Thursday and is facing criminal charges following his arrest, according to a police report released Friday.

A security officer who was screening people entering the stadium for the game against Lake Worth High School alerted Palm Beach County School District police that Joshua Aaron Bland, 36, appeared to have a gun, school police said.

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Officers said in their report that they recovered a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol loaded with six rounds from a holster on Bland’s right hip. He also had in his possession a magazine that held nine additional rounds.

Bland told authorities that he had a concealed-carry weapons permit for the gun and that he had it with him at the game. He told police he knew he had brought the gun onto school property, but did not know it was illegal to do so.

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Bland faces a charge of possession of weapon on school property and a violation of his concealed-carry firearm permit. He was taken into custody after the incident and booked into the Palm Beach County Jail.

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A judge Friday morning ordered him released on his own recognizance during a bond hearing at the jail. He was ordered to have no contact with schools and not to possess handguns following his release.

The report does not specify a reason that Bland tried to bring the gun to the game. An attempt Friday to reach him for comment was unsuccessful. A person who answered a telephone number linked to him declined to comment.

The arrest comes less than two weeks after a shooting outside a football game at Palm Beach Central High. County students also were caught with firearms at school at least 10 times in the last school year.

According to court records, Bland does not appear to have been arrested before in Palm Beach County.


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