Man suspected of setting fire to Tennessee Planned Parenthood clinic and shooting up federal building died months ago, officials say

A man accused of willful setting fire to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Tennessee and of the shooting later in federal court died months ago, officials announced Monday revealing both the man’s death and the allegations.

Federal court documents show the man, Mark Thomas Reno, 64, died Aug. 15. However, many of the documents in his case were sealed until this week, including records showing he had been arrested in connection with Planned Parenthood incendiary fire.

“The government’s investigation revealed that (Reno) engaged in a series of violent acts of property destruction in Knoxville beginning in early 2021,” a newly unsealed complaint said.

The complaint says Reno fired a shotgun at the clinic’s doors in early 2021, shattering glass and leaving holes in the reception area. Reno then set fire to the clinic in December 2021, the document says.

The building was unoccupied during the fire, but had to be closed for months to undergo a $2.2 million renovation.

Other court documents show that the FBI began monitoring Reno in April of this year after he told an undercover agent that he belonged to a group tasked with resisting actions contrary to Catholic orthodoxy. The agent secretly recorded Reno, who said his team had “multiple targets,” according to the documents.

Reno also told the undercover agent that he was at U.S. Capitol riot in January 2021. The agent said authorities reviewed video from the day and saw he was present, but that there was no evidence he broke any laws.

By July, Reno was accused of shooting into a federal building in Knoxville and shattering three windows, according to court documents.

Court documents show Reno had been in custody since July, but had been temporarily released to receive medical treatment in August. The cause of death was not immediately disclosed.

“The man arrested in this case is not the only one to blame,” Ashley Coffield, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi, said in a statement. “When politicians use hate speech against abortion providers and support extreme laws like the total abortion ban we have in Tennessee, it shouldn’t surprise us that some believe real-world violence is justified.”

Cofield and others criticized Republican Gov. Bill Lee of Tennessee for not condemning the attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic. Over the summer, the governor condemned vandalism at a crisis pregnancy center that aims to prevent people from getting abortions.

Tennessee is among several states that had enacted so-called enabler laws banning nearly all abortions after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to the procedure. Under the law, Planned Parenthood and other health clinics across the state have stopped providing abortions.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee said their office would have a statement on Tuesday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *