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Cops: We Found Heavily Armed Man Outside Elementary School

Thomas J. Wilkie of Delaware charged, may have gone to see current or ex-girlfriend at NJ school
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2019 9:00 AM CDT
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/ChiccoDodiFC)

(Newser) – New Jersey police responding to a call from cops in a neighboring state say they found a 46-year-old man with a loaded firearm and dozens of rounds of ammo outside an elementary school, putting the school in lockdown. ABC News reports on the incident that took place Thursday afternoon, when Delaware State Police alerted local cops that Thomas J. Wilkie was on his way to Tamaques Elementary School, per the Westfield Police Department. When police converged on the scene, they came across Wilkie hunkered down in an SUV, with a .45-caliber handgun filled with hollow-pointed bullets, per a statement from the Union County Prosecutor's Office. The Delaware man also had two more clips and 130 additional rounds of ammo in the trunk, cops say.

Wilkie's father, George, tells NJ.com that he thinks his son may have gone to the school to see a current or former girlfriend. "I have no idea exactly what went down because we have not been contacted by the police up there," George Wilkie says. NBC New York, meanwhile, says Wilkie may have gone to the school "because of a relationship gone bad with a faculty member," citing info from a senior law enforcement official. School officials tell the New York Times it has an active-shooter plan in place and regularly conducts drills. Wilkie was charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, fourth-degree possession of hollow-point bullets, and fourth-degree trespassing on school grounds. He'll next appear in court on Wednesday and could see five to 10 years behind bars on the weapons charge if convicted. (Read more New Jersey stories.)

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