Knoxville Resident Charged in Bank Robbery

July 31, 2012
Department of Justice
United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Gordon Harold Williams, 49, of Knoxville, Tenn., was arrested today, July 31, 2012, and charged with the July 30, 2012, robbery of the BB&T Bank, 7108 Maynardville Pike, Knoxville, Tenn.

Williams appeared in U.S. District Court today and entered a plea of not guilty.

According to an affidavit on file with the U.S. District Court Clerk in support of the complaint Williams admitted to robbing the bank when he was arrested. He also confessed to having an explosive device designed to be detonated with a lighter and a liquid accelerant in a backpack during the robbery.

Further investigation by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Safe Streets Task Force and Knox County Sheriff's Office (KCSO) Major Crimes Unit led to a potential improvised explosive device located at a Fountain City address. Knoxville Police Department Bomb Squad and Knoxville Fire Department HAZMAT both responded to the scene and recovered the explosive device.

This matter was a joint investigation of the FBI Safe Streets Task Force and the KCSO Major Crimes Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Lewen, Jr. will represent the United States.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment constitutes only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until their guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

From the indictment:

On July 30, 2012, a white male, later identified as Gordon Harold Williams (hereinafter referred to as Williams), entered the BB&T Bank located at 7108 Maynardville Pike, Knoxville, Tennessee 37918, the deposits of which were then insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Upon entering the BB&T Bank, Williams told a teller he wanted to make a withdrawal.

The teller asked Williams for his driver's license or account number, hi response, Williams began opening his backpack and stated to the teller, "I have a bomb and need your money." Williams opened the backpack and the teller gave Williams money from the teller drawer. After this teller gave Williams the money, Williams stepped to the next teller window, looked at the teller and said, "You too." In response to Williams' demand, the second teller provided Williams money. Between the both tellers, Williams obtained $1,546.00.

After receiving the money, Williams exited the bank and walked to a motorcycle parked in the bank's parking lot. Williams exited the parking lot heading north on Maynardville Pike.

On July 31, 2012, agents located Williams at the Scottish Inn hi Knoxville, Tennessee. Agents knocked on the door and identified themselves. Williams confirmed his identity to the agents. Agents asked Williams if he knew why they were at his hotel room, to which Williams responded, "yes." Agents Mirandized Williams and Williams agreed to waive his rights. Williams admitted to robbing the BB&T Bank with a bomb, on July 30, 2012, as discussed in paragraph 5 of this affidavit.

Further, Williams described the bomb as an explosive device designed to be detonated with a lighter. Williams told agents he had a lighter in his possession at the time of the robbery and that he was prepared to ignite the explosive device if "anything went wrong" during the robbery. Williams directed the agents' attention to the bed in the hotel room. A lighter was on top of the bed and Williams told the agents that it was the lighter he had during the robbery. Williams also produced for the agents some of the remaining money he had robbed from the BB&T Bank.

Williams, who resides with his mother, gave agents consent to search his property at his mother's residence. Williams told the agents that the bomb he used to rob the bank as inside a backpack on a table next to the motorcycle, inside the garage. Williams further told agents that the funnel he used to pour the liquid accelerant into the bomb was in me garage along with other components Williams used to manufacture the explosive device. Additionally, Williams told agents that the shotgun shells he used to obtain the gunpowder and pellets were in his bedroom, in his mother's house. Agents went to Williams' mother's residence and obtained consent from the mother to search the residence.

Agents found the bomb inside a backpack, in the garage next to the motorcycle. The bomb consisted of a small plastic baby bottle filled with gunpowder, bird shot and metal screws. This baby bottle was taped to a 20 ounce soda bottle which was filled with gasoline. These components were taped to a small propane tank which also had an additional soda bottle filled with gasoline taped to it Agents also found a mason jar filled with an additional accelerant. Williams told agents that his intent was to pour this accelerant over the device and ignite it with a lighter. Additionally, agents found shotgun shells in Williams' bedroom, in his mother's house. Some of the shells had been cut open and emptied.

Based upon the information contained in this affidavit and based on my training and experience, I believe there is probable cause to believe that Williams did by force, violence, and intimidation take and cause to be taken from the person and presence of another, money belonging to and in the care, custody, control, management, and possession of the BB&T Bank, located at or near 7108 Maynardville Pike, Knoxville, Tennessee, 37918, the deposits of which were then insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and in doing so did put in jeopardy the life of a person by the use of a dangerous weapon and device, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2113(a) and (d).

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