Police Officer Thomas Joseph Keller

Police Officer Thomas Joseph Keller

Torrance Police Department, California

End of Watch Thursday, April 17, 1986

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Thomas Joseph Keller

Police Officer Tom Keller was shot and killed after responding to an armed robbery call.

The suspect had entered a sporting goods store at approximately 3:45 pm and displayed a handgun. The workers and customers fled the store and called the police. The suspect then armed himself with a M1 carbine rifle that the storekeeper kept for protection.

As Officer Keller and other officers arrived, the suspect exited the store with the rifle in his hand. Officers ordered the suspect to drop the weapon, but the suspect retreated into the store. The suspect then took up position behind the counter and opened fire out the window. One shot grazed Officer Keller in the head, causing him to stand from behind his cover. He was then struck with a second shot in the side, just above his bullet-resistant vest. The round struck Officer Keller in the heart, killing him.

Other officers returned fire, striking the suspect several times. When the SWAT team arrived on the scene, they entered the store and found the suspect dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Officer Keller was a United States Marine Corps veteran who had served with the Torrance Police Department for four years and had previously served as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department and as an Explorer Scout with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department. Officer Keller was survived by his parents, brother, and two sisters.


  • Age 25
  • Tour 4 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle; M-1
  • Offender Committed Suicide


Most Recent Reflection

View all 52 Reflections

Just read this sad news of my friend , my brother. We were room mates at Marine Barracks Washington DC. Served together for two and half years. Such a dedicated Marine. We were very proud to be Marine Barracks Guards. Very proud to have been selected to 8&I Barracks. We were opposites but boy did i learn a lot. Rest easy Tom!! This happened 37 years ago and my heart broke today. SEMPER FI

Lcpl JR Faust
US Marine Corps Washington DC

November 6, 2023

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