Probation Officer Thomas Eric Gahl

Probation Officer Thomas Eric Gahl

United States Courts Probation and Pretrial Services, U.S. Government

End of Watch Monday, September 22, 1986

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Thomas Eric Gahl

Probation Officer Thomas Gahl was shot and killed while attempting a home contact in Marion County, Indiana, at the residence of a newly-released probationer with a life-long history of mental illness.

The purpose of the visit was to obtain a urine specimen to determine whether the probationer had been taking drugs. Before Officer Gahl could do so, he was struck with three shotgun blasts by the offender in an unprovoked attack.

At the time of the shooting, Officer Gahl, like other officers in his district, was not armed. While being pursued during the manhunt that followed, the offender's crime spree included two other murders and several kidnappings before ending with the offender committing suicide.

Officer Gahl was a United States Marine Corps Vietnam War veteran and had served with the United States Probation Office for the Southern District of Indiana for 11½ years. He had previously served with the Indiana Department of Correction, the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Officer Gahl was survived by his wife, two young sons, brother, and mother.

On June 24, 1994th, the Thomas E. Gahl United States Probation Office was dedicated at the Indianapolis, Indiana, headquarters in his honor.


  • Age 38
  • Tour 11 years, 6 months
  • Badge 1101
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Indiana
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Committed suicide

convicted felon, EDP, parolee, probation violation

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We, the Law Enforcement community, consider you a hero. May your family find solace in knowing that you’re resting in peace. You did your job, your shift is over.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection

August 2, 2023

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