NEWS RELEASE                                             

For Immediate Release
August 7, 2006
Contact: Michele Nicholson
Public Information Officer
  (850) 651-7420


     A Georgia man who was traveling with a personal arsenal inside his SUV is charged by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with intent to commit a felony, engaging in a criminal offense while in possession of a weapon, and use of a firearm while under the influence of alcohol.

     33-year old William Gerald Thomas of Gainesville Georgia was arrested following an armed disturbance that began around ten o’clock Sunday night at the Days Inn on Highway 98 in Destin.

     Okaloosa deputies called to the scene say witnesses claim Thomas was harassing two 14 year old girls at the motel pool. When the teens’ parents intervened, Thomas got a 22-caliber rifle out of his 2004 GMC Yukon Denali and began threatening a bystander.

     Thomas’ acquaintance managed to wrestle the rifle away and secure it, but Thomas then retrieved a .308 caliber Browning machine gun, engaged it, and then started waving it side to side at the involved parties and other hotel patrons. The machine gun was wrestled away from Thomas and secured. 

     After executing a search warrant on Thomas’ SUV, investigators found thirty-eight weapons ranging from various high velocity assault rifles to 50-caliber sniper rifles and multiple handguns. Deputies also confiscated more than 2000 rounds of ammunition.

     Thomas is being held at the Okaloosa County Department of Corrections in Crestview.