WESTFIELD, NJ — The Delaware man arrested on the grounds of Tamaques Elementary School in June has pleaded guilty to second-degree possession of a firearm, authorities said.
Thomas J. Wilkie, 46, of Bear, Delaware, entered the plea Monday at Superior Court in Elizabeth before Judge William A. Daniel, said acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo in a statement.
The indictment states that he had a black Glock handgun in his possession, which he did not have a permit to carry in New Jersey. Westfield police had arrested Wilkie in the school’s parking lot June 13, 2019 after school let out.
Sentencing in the case is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 21, at which time the state will request a term of five years in state prison, with 42 months to be served before the possibility of parole, Ruotolo said.
Westfield police responded to Tamaques Elementary School at about 3:55 p.m. on a report from the New Castle County Police Department in Delaware that a man later identified as Wilkie was en route to the school and potentially armed, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Theresa Hilton, who prosecuted the case.
The affidavit of probable cause filed in the case charges that Wilkie entered Tamaques Elementary School on “multiple occasions … after school hours and without permission.” The document further states that Wilkie had two loaded magazines in his pockets.
The school was placed on a lockdown for a brief time.
Arriving officers located Wilkie, holding a .45-caliber handgun loaded with hollow-point bullets, in the front seat of his vehicle, a 2019 Mitsubishi SUV, parked in the school’s parking lot, authorities said.
Police recovered two additional loaded clips of ammunition and a folding knife from Wilkie’s person, in addition to 130 additional rounds of ammunition located in the vehicle’s trunk, according to Ruotolo.
Authorities then said he had been at the school to see a romantic partner.
A grand jury had returned a six-count indictment against Wilkie with counts ranging in degree from second to fourth, including third degree possession of a firearm on school grounds.
Late last year, the Prosecutor’s Office denied Wilkie’s request for a waiver made by defendants seeking to avoid imposition of the state’s mandatory minimum sentence for gun offenses, Ruotolo said.