MUSKEGON, MI -- A man who openly carried a holstered gun at a high school soccer game Thursday led Muskegon Western Michigan Christian leaders to halt the contest against Hudsonville Freedom Christian with 30 minutes remaining.

The man, whose identity was not immediately available, was spotted with the weapon by a Warriors assistant coach, who alerted head coach David Hulings and assistant athletics director Fred VandenBrand.

VandenBrand asked the man to leave, but he refused. Instead, he apparently took the firearm to his car and left it there before returning to the stands. His presence, and the uncertainty if the gun was still being carried, resulted in the game being stopped with 15 minutes into the second half.

"I thought it was necessary to clear the field of players and parents," Hulings said. "It is regretful that the boys on both teams could not finish. I am sorry for the inconvenience, but I thought it best to err on the side of caution.

"Although I personally have no objection to, and do support, his right to carry, the school also has a right under the law to ask him to leave."

Police were called to the scene, but it was unclear if the man with the gun was questioned about his intent or his interaction with Western Michigan Christian school officials. VandenBrand said an officer told him that the private school had a right to ask the man to leave, and that the scenario is unprecedented in his career.

"Talking to the officer...we had a right to ask him to leave, and if he returned without meeting our conditions, he could be charged with trespassing," he said.

"I agree with our coach 100 percent. The safety of our players and students is our highest priority and our coach did the right thing in making sure our players and the fans were going to be safe before anything else.

"We don't want our players on the field with someone who has a gun in the stands."

The game ended in a 2-0 win for Freedom Christian as Sam Moss scored once and assisted on David Brown's goal.

Freedom Christian coach Nate Sharpe said it was a weird way to end a game, but he agreed that the school was within its rights to ask the man to leave in a desire to protect players and fans. As far as the game is concerned, Sharpe felt it was one of the best performances his team gave all season.

"I felt like our guys carried the chunk of the play," Sharpe said. "I think it was only the second time in history we beat them on their field. It's a great rivalry and I have nothing but respect for coach Hulings and the soccer culture they have.

"There are no hard feelings."

http://highschoolsports.mlive.com/news/a...yer-fan-safety/
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