WESTFIELD — Why did a divorced dad who's been living in his car travel all the way from Delaware to an elementary school in Union County carrying an armed handgun and dozens of rounds of ammunition?

Tamaques Elementary School was put on lockdown Thursday afternoon after police found a man with a handgun, hollow-point bullets and 130 rounds of ammunition sitting inside an SUV in the school's parking lot.

Delaware State Police notified police in this township that Thomas J. Wilkie, 46, of Bear, Delaware, was on his way to the school with weapons, according to acting Union County Prosecutor Jennifer Davenport.

Davenport on Friday said that police found Wilkie in a 2019 Mitsubishi SUV with a .45-caliber handgun loaded with hollow-point bullets and two additional loaded magazines of ammunition along with 130 additional rounds of ammunition in the trunk.

A spokesman for the Prosecutor's Office did not say why Wilkie was at the school.

His connection to New Jersey, according to public records obtained by New Jersey 101.5, appears to be that his ex-wife lives in Millville.

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."

Wilkie was arrested Thursday and charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, fourth-degree possession of hollow-point bullets and fourth-degree trespassing on school grounds. A Superior Court hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday in Elizabeth. Prosecutors intend to ask the judge to keep him locked up before trial.

He is represented by the Public Defender's Office, which could not be reached for comment.

The bankruptcy court document also shows that he had an escrow account with $10,200 for future child support payments.

The filing claims that he does not own any firearms and that his 2018 Harley Davidson Fatboy and 2017 Ford Mustang GT were repossessed in March and April, respectively.

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.

Thomas Wilkie was arrested outside a Westfield elementary school on June 14, 2019. (Thomas Wilkie via Facebook)
Thomas Wilkie was arrested outside a Westfield elementary school on June 14, 2019. (Thomas Wilkie via Facebook)

Westfield Police Chief Christopher Battiloro said after-school activities were underway at the school when Wilkie was found.

Battiloro said police conducted a search of the school with K9 units and children were released about 5:30 p.m.

Extra police were present at the school on Friday to assure parents and children the building was safe.

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