He showed up at NJ school with 130 rounds of ammo: What we know
WESTFIELD — Plenty of questions remain about why a Delaware man allegedly brought a gun, hollow-point bullets and 130 rounds of ammunition to the Tamaques Elementary School in Westfield — a place where he had no obvious business or history.
But some details are emerging about Thomas Wilkie, the man found sitting inside an SUV with that weaponry.
Wilkie, 46, of Bear, Delaware, had come to the school shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday, as after-school activities were underway, police have said. He was arrested and charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, fourth-degree possession of hollow-point bullets and fourth-degree trespassing on school grounds.
Later, authorities added an additional charge of third-degree possession of a firearm in or upon the grounds of an educational institution.
Westfield Police Chief Christopher Battiloro said investigators conducted a search of the school with K9 units, and children were released about 90 minutes after Wilkie was first located in the parking lot. No one ever opened fire, and no children were hurt.
Wilkie remained behind bars awaiting his first scheduled court appearance on Wednesday in Superior Court in Elizabeth. Prosecutors intend to ask the judge to keep him locked up before trial.
Here's some of what we know — and some of the questions that remain:
Why was Wilkie at the school? A "senior law enforcement official" told NBC New York Wilkie was not carrying any weapons when he went to the entrance to the school looking for a woman he had a "relationship issue" with. When told she was not in the building, Wilkie returned to his car and called her — he was told she was at a tutoring appointment but would return to the school, the source told NBC.
While Wilkie waited for the woman to return, he called his brother, who became concerned and called Delaware State Police, the source said. The official told NBC New York that police believe he was only targeting the woman.
Wilkie's father, George, told NJ.com that he also believed his son was looking for a current or former girlfriend. George Wilkie said his son had divorced "a couple years back" and "everyone moved on" — he didn't believe the incident was related to the breakup of the marriage.
His ex-wife lives in Millville, more than 100 miles from the school, according to public records obtained by New Jersey 101.5.
How did Wilkie get into the school? Parent Megan Brenan, who volunteers at the Tamaques School, said in an online petition the incident is a "wake-up call" to the Westfield community — and is urging the district to lock the school's doors at all times, including after school hours.
"Keeping the school doors locked during the day is a no-brainer, and so why isn't that the case after school?" she wrote. "There is currently nothing to stop someone from entering the school and doing harm after regular school hours."
Westfield school superintendent Margaret Dolan did not had not yet returned a message seeking comment Monday.
What was going on in his life? Federal court records show that Wilkie filed for bankruptcy in Delaware almost a month to the day he was arrested. The filing says that he suffers from "severe bipolar illness."
The filing also shows that he had an escrow account with $10,200 for future child support payments. The filing says that he does not own any real estate or vehicles and owes more than $30,200 in credit card debt and back rent.
On Facebook, Wilkie suggested that he recently has been homeless and living in his car.
Where did Wilkie get his weaponry? The filing claims that Wilike does not own any firearms.
“I’m not even sure when he bought this gun that he’s alleged to have," Wilkie's father told NJ.com. "It’s something that I’ve never seen."
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