- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 11, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A former state worker accused of bringing a loaded gun to the secretary of state’s office made an innocent mistake, his attorney said Wednesday after the man was arraigned on a misdemeanor charge of possession of a weapon in a state building.

Authorities say Bryan Keith Thurmond left a backpack with a loaded pistol, three knives and extra magazines in a men’s bathroom of the secretary of state’s office.

Thurmond, 51, was arraigned Wednesday in Sacramento County Superior Court. He did not enter a plea and is scheduled to return to court March 9.

Security officers found Thurmond’s backpack in the men’s bathroom on Jan. 19, a state holiday, but it’s not clear if it was hidden. Thurmond’s attorney, John Holbus, said Thurmond had the gun to go to a firing range with his brother after work and the knives were intended for the office kitchen.

“This is unfortunately an accident that’s being blown out of proportion,” Holbus said in an interview. “This mistake is very common.”

A California Highway Patrol investigative report said Thurmond’s brother could not corroborate that the two had plans to go shooting. Holbus said Thurmond didn’t have specific plans with his brother that day but had an open invitation to his brother’s home on weekends.

The secretary of state’s office fired Thurmond and obtained a restraining order against him. Thurmond told officers he had been in trouble at work for sending inappropriate messages to two female co-workers, including a text message asking a woman to guess the identity of her secret admirer, according to documents filed by the agency.

Holbus said Thurmond was recently divorced and “a little bit awkward” but meant no ill will. He said Thurmond has no criminal record.

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