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Colo. man arrested for threatening to kill deputies had 'the means to do it' in his home

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Pueblo Chieftain

PUEBLO, Colo. — A Pueblo man was arrested Monday night after threatening to kill law enforcement officers and U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado.

Thomas Wornick, 37, through emails, said he was going to kill every sheriff’s deputy in Pueblo County, according to an arrest affidavit. Wornick identified himself to authorities as a disabled military veteran.

 

During a search warrant at his home in the 1500 block of East 12th Street, detectives found two guns, including a semi-automatic rifle, knives and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Pueblo County sheriff’s detectives, in cooperation with the FBI, the Pueblo Police Department and Fort Carson military police, arrested Wornick at Fort Carson on a warrant for harassment and obstruction of government operations. He was brought back to Pueblo, where he was booked into the Pueblo County jail.

As part of the sheriff’s operational plan to arrest Wornick, they led him to Fort Carson.

“We didn’t want to have any type of hostage situation when we went to approach him. It was part of our operational plan to get him out and away from his home,” said Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor.

“We were able to convince him to go to someplace that he was comfortable in because we knew he was in crisis — and that was a military base that was relatively close.”

The warrant came after Wornick allegedly sent threatening email messages to several attorneys Monday morning. The sheriff’s office said Wornick also made similar threats toward government officials, including Gardner, Colorado’s Republican senator.

In an email to Gardner Wornick allegedly wrote: ”... I got no choice left but to kill Cory Gardner so that the rest of the world will at least know that I served this nation ...”

In the email sent Monday Wornick also said that he was deployed to Iraq in 2003, that he was blown up by an improvised explosive device and that a vehicle he was in was blown up weeks later. He said he suffers every day of his life to serve the nation.

“I am going to hunt down and kill every sheriff deputy, then I am going to hunt down and kill Cory Gardner for refusing to help me get medical care,” Wornick wrote.

Taylor said that upped the ante for a federal individual such as Gardner to be so severely and so specifically threatened.

“We have had numerous contacts with this individual that was arrested last night — the first being on July 4.”

According to a police affidavit, on July 4, 2019, Wornick made threats and did not cooperate with deputies at the Parkview West Hospital, 899 E. Industrial Blvd. Deputies said he was belligerent with them.

Taylor said his office had contact with the suspect in January and February as well.

On Jan. 4, Pueblo Crime Stoppers received a tip which was labeled “Kill all sheriff’s deputies.” The phrase was repeated throughout the tip, an affidavit said.

In the suspect’s name portion of the tip, the person wrote the names of the three deputies who handled the call at the hospital on July 4. Investigators believed that the tip came from Wornick.

“Each time the individual became more and more agitated — and the threats were becoming more escalated,” Taylor said.

 

On Feb. 7 when deputies wanted to speak about the tip, Wornick’s girlfriend said he had severe PTSD and he didn’t want any contact. Wornick later yelled obscenities.

Taylor said another email was sent by Wornick to a Colorado Springs TV station.

“He said he was planning on killing numerous sheriff’s deputies — all deputy sheriffs — but specifically three individuals who had contact with him back in July,” Taylor said.

Taylor said Wornick threatened him as well.

“This thing was really spread out across the community. I received numerous calls and emails and text from the (Colorado) State Patrol and from law enforcement agencies and city police, the (Greater Pueblo) Chamber of Commerce,” Taylor said.

Another email said: “I will use my skills the United States Government trained me, and I will hunt down and kill every Pueblo sheriff deputy, the true enemy of the people ...”

The email accused the three deputies of assaulting him in the July 4 incident.

The email was a direct threat to the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office and triggered an immediate investigation. Taylor said 10 different emails altogether were sent out to agencies.

“This was great work by our detectives in quickly locating and arresting this suspect before he could act upon the threats,” Taylor said.

Taylor also thanked the people and businesses who received the email for promptly notifying the sheriff’s office of the threats.

“He had not only the will to do it, he had the means in which to do it,” Taylor said.