A white supremacist in Tennessee, captured after a two-day manhunt, now faces a charge of attempted murder of a police officer and possibly other charges, authorities say.
Ronnie Lucas Wilson, identified as a member of Tennessee’s Aryan Nations prison gang, was arrested early Saturday while attempting to escape a burning, abandoned house on Calderwood Highway in southern Blount County, Tennessee, near the Little Tennessee River.
The 31-year-old fugitive was arrested after he jumped through a window in the abandoned house where he had started a fire, Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch said in announcing the arrest.
“It’s a great weight off all of us,” the chief told the Knoxville News-Sentinel, expressing “concern was that he was going to hurt someone else, and fortunately that didn’t happen.”
Wilson, wanted for probation violation, had been sought after allegedly shooting Knoxville Police Department Officer Jay Williams Thursday evening during a traffic stop in front of a Target store in North Knoxville on Thursday night. The location of the suspect’s arrest is about 30 miles south of the shooting scene.
During the attempted traffic stop, Wilson is accused of firing at least seven rounds at the police officer, who was hit once in the shoulder. It wasn’t disclosed if he was wearing a vest.
The wounded officer, a 14-year veteran of the Knoxville police department, was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and released
The suspect’s identity and photo were quickly released and a $2,500 reward posted. A U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task received a tip early Saturday that Wilson and his girlfriend may be hiding in the abandoned home on Calderwood Highway.
Wilson was arrested in Claiborne County in October 2016 following the chase and agreed to a plea deal in February and given a 10-year sentence.
After serving less than five months of his sentence, Wilson was released on probation. A probation violation warrant was issued for Wilson in September after he failed a drug test and did not report to his probation officer.
Kristin Denise King, 31, who authorities said was with Wilson at the time of the shooting, was hiding with him in the abandoned house. She ran from the burning house which was heavily damaged, the police chief told reporters.
King, who wasn’t injured, was detained as part of the investigation but currently faces no charges, authorities said.
Wilson’s criminal history includes a 2011 conviction for aggravate burglary and 2016 shooting and police chase in Claiborne County, Tennessee, during which he tossed a gun from his car, authorities said.
In a plea deal, Wilson admitted involvement in that crime and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but only served five months before being released on probation. While in prison, he was a member of a white supremacist prison gang called Aryan Nations, according to the Tennessee Department of Correction. Police photos show Wilson has a large neo-Nazi swastika tattoo on his chest above his heart.
A warrant for his arrest on charges of probation violation was issued in September after he failed a drug test and didn’t report as required to his probation officer.