Complaint filed, suspect identified in destruction of Knoxville Planned Parenthood

A Jefferson City man was named as the suspect in the shooting and later fire that destroyed the Knoxville Planned Parenthood center, according to documents obtained by WVLT News.
The Knoxville Fire Department reported an “intentional” fire set at the clinic.
The Knoxville Fire Department reported an “intentional” fire set at the clinic.(WVLT)
Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 6:08 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A Jefferson City man was identified as the suspect for both the shooting and the later fire that destroyed the Planned Parenthood on Cherry St., according to court documents.

The Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit in September related to two attacks on the Knoxville Planned Parenthood center. The lawsuit sought to confiscate property owned by a man the DOJ claimed was used in the shooting and later fire that destroyed the Planned Parenthood Center of Cherry Street.

Ashley Coffield, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi, named Mark Thomas Reno as the suspect for both of the incidents in a press conference Monday afternoon.

On Jan. 22, 2021, Investigators say Reno fired one incendiary round at the center with a shotgun. Video footage of the incident and witness statements lead to an FBI-executed search of Reno’s residence and his car. Shotgun shells recovered during the search matched the casing they found at the center, according to court documents.

Surveillance video and witness statements identified Reno’s car and during the search, they found a red gasoline container and seven matchbooks, according to the documents.

A search of his cellphone revealed that Reno sent a news article to someone about the arson at the reproductive center with the message, “we were busy in THE CULT OF JESUS,”, according to documents.

Knoxville Fire Department crews responded to a fire at the North Cherry Street Knoxville Planned Parenthood around 6:45 a.m. on Dec. 31. When crews arrived, they reported “heavy fire” coming from the building and began working defensively on the flames. Justice Department officials said that Reno utilized the pickup truck to set fire to the Center, resulting in the Center burning down.

Officials said that on June 18, 2022, Reno utilized the same pickup truck and a .22 caliber rifle with an illegal suppressor to shoot the windows at the John J. Duncan Federal Office Building in downtown Knoxville; and a second time on July 3, 2022.

“First and foremost, I want to thank the investigators who worked tirelessly in pursuit of justice in this series of attacks meant to terrorize our staff and stop patients in East Tennessee from getting the health care they rely on,” Coffield said. “I am grateful to the Knoxville Fire Department and federal law enforcement agencies for fearlessly pursuing the truth as we rebuild our capacity to serve patients in the Knoxville area.”

The Justice Department said that FBI Agents arrested Reno on July 18, 2022, and he was released from custody for health reasons on Aug. 14, 2022, and passed away on Aug. 15, 2022. Since Reno died, a civil lawsuit was filed for the seizure of his two cars and gun.

Coffield said they purchased a mobile health unit and should start using it next week.