(WBIR-TV/Staff reports) The TBI has arrested and charged a Knoxville man after he allegedly made threats against a former mayor of Rockwood. Authorities found several guns in his car.
59-year-old Thomas Pierce, the former public works and recreation director in Rockwood, is charged with Retaliation for Past Actions and four counts of Unlawful Possession of a Weapon. He is currently in the Roane County Jail on a $150,000 bond.
Authorities received a tip about 1:30 p.m. Friday that Pierce was “homicidal, suicidal” and had made threats to kill. Later, family members told police that one unnamed person in particular faced the threat.
Police put a watch on the person’s home and then saw Pierce driving by it.
When they stopped Pierce he was found to be carrying a loaded handgun in his pocket and had two other handguns in his vehicle as well as a shotgun. Authorities say that he was taken into custody without incident.
Pierce already was free on bond awaiting prosecution in Roane County in the alleged theft of city funds while using two charge cards. A grand jury indicted him in February 2013 on counts that included theft, credit card fraud and official misconduct. In February 2013, the state Comptroller of the Treasury reported they’d conducted an audit that showed Pierce had used a city credit card and a “city store charge card” to buy $32,725 in goods for his own use.
The comptroller’s review covered January 2009 through January 2012 and sometimes was expanded.
The audit found that Pierce bought weapons and ammunition valued at $11,900, clothing amounting to $7,263, and photo equipment valued at at least $5,697. He’d also spent $3,675 on miscellaneous items such as protein power and testosterone booster as well as digital music, books and movies, according to the report. Pierce also paid $985 for online accounting courses with city resources, according to the comptroller’s report.
When city officials confronted him in February 2012, Pierce gave the city 12 guns, 149 boxes of ammunition as well as other items with a total value of more than $9,000.