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

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 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 and was a US Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War. 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


Most Recent Reflection

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I "grew up" with Tom in Valparaiso, Indiana. We played baseball, basketball and football together in junior and senior high. i was with the US INS as a Criminal Investigator out of Hammond and on "Detail" in Indianapolis in 1980 when i realized Tom was also in the building. We got together for coffee every day I was there to talk about and remember our days in Valpo. He did everything right and was a true American Hero. He was "The Real Deal".

Supervisory Special Agent Anti Smuggling
U.S. Border PAtrol Miami , Florida (retired)

May 8, 2017

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