Probation Officer
Thomas Eric Gahl
United States Probation and Pretrial Services
Monday, September 22, 1986

Age: 38
Served: 11 years, 6 months
Badge #:
Panel 39E, Line 4
Panel L1, Line 10

Incident Details

Cause of Death:
Date/Time of Incident:
Monday, September 22, 1986
08:15 am
Incident to Death Duration:
Same day
Incident Location:
1730 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive, Indianapolis
Incident County:
Incident Township:
Weapon Used:
12-gauge shotgun
Suspect Disposition:
Died by suicide
Burial Place:
Graceland Cemetery, Valparaiso

Share this Memorial

   Probation Officer Thomas Gahl was shot and killed while making contact at a residence in Indianapolis of a newly-released probationer with a life-long history of mental illness.

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

   Probation Officer Gahl, like other officers in his district at that time, was not armed.

   While being pursued during the 11-day manhunt that followed, the offender's crime spree included killing two men, a 45-year-old store owner in Indianapolis and a 47-year-old motorist in St. Peters, Missouri, as well as several kidnappings.

   On October 1, the 41-year-old offender became the 406th entry of the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives and the following day, he was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted shotgun wound in an abandoned barn southwest of Wright City, Missouri.

   Probation Officer Gahl, from Indianapolis, was assigned to the Indianapolis Division of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

   He had previously served with the Indiana Department of Correction at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City and the Federal Bureau of Prisons at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute.

   Probation Officer Gahl was survived by his wife, two young sons, brother and mother.

Military Service

United States Marine Corps
Vietnam War
First Lieutenant (1ST LT) ▪ 1969–1972

Memorial Tribute

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

View all fallen officers from the
United States Probation and Pretrial Services

Donate in memory of
Probation Officer Gahl
Probation Officer Thomas Eric Gahl - United States Probation and Pretrial Services -