Former Highland Games employee faces attempted murder charges



Members representing the various Scottish clans line up for the torchlight ceremony at the opening ceremonies of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in Linville, North Carolina, in 2016.


The former office manager of the popular Grandfather Mountain Highland Games has been jailed for gun crime and attempted murder following intense police activity at the Blue Ridge Mountain office.

Thomas Dewey Taylor, 43, is being held in Avery County Jail on bail set at $ 500,000. The State Bureau of Investigation charged him with possession of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted murder on Monday night, Sheriff Kevin Frye said.

Stephen Quillin, president of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, said Taylor was fired as the organization’s office manager in August. Taylor’s arrest was linked to an incident at the Mitchell Avenue office in Linville, Quillin said, and photos from the Avery Journal show the building surrounded by emergency vehicles.

The Grandfather Mountain Highland Games feature traditional Gaelic music, drumming and dancing, but are best known for their Scottish-style sporting challenges, particularly the Caber Throw, which involves throwing a 16-20 foot pole.

Organizers held the 65th annual games in July after COVID-19 triggered a year-long hiatus, and Taylor described the torchlight ceremony of “raising the clans” for radio station WFDD.

“The ceremonial, I think it’s really pretty,” Taylor says. “This is one of the best scenic events. When there’s fog up there, it’s actually prettier. They say if it rains up there it’s more authentic Scottish weather. This is what we have always said. It’s like you’re refueling. … because if you’ve been to Scotland it’s very similar to here.

The SBI was unable to provide further information.

This story was originally published September 28, 2021 2:08 pm.


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