By the FBI
It has been nearly 10 years since a killer stood outside the Seattle home of Tom Wales and fired several shots from a handgun through a basement window, killing the assistant U.S. attorney and father of two while he worked at his desk.
Since that time, the FBI and our law enforcement partners have dedicated themselves to finding those responsible for the murder.
Now, as the 10th anniversary of the killing approaches on October 11, we are announcing a new media campaign to again ask for the public’s assistance.
(Children of slain federal prosecutor Thomas Wales make a plea for the public’s help in finding the killer. There us a $1 million reward in the case. Courtesy of the FBI and YouTube. Posted on Feb 20, 2018)
“This is an active case in which we are constantly and aggressively pursuing leads,” said Greg Fowler, the FBI inspector in charge of the task force investigating the murder.
“Information is the key,” Fowler added, “and the better the information, the greater the chance of finding those responsible.”
Wales, a prosecutor who specialized in white-collar crime cases, was shot at 10:40 p.m.
It has been reported that a lone male suspect was observed leaving the scene.
We Need Your Help
Please contact the FBI is you have any information about this case.
No piece of information is too small, and your tip may help bring justice on this case and closure for the family of Tom Wales.
If your information leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the murder of AUSA Wales, you will be eligible for the reward of up to $1 million.
“We know information about the crime is still out there,” Fowler said.
“We know there are people who—because of fear, doubt, or other reasons—have not yet come forward.
“Regardless of the reasons, now is the time to come forward.”
“Now is the time to tell us what you know. Now is the time to help us solve this crime.”
During the next few weeks, residents in the Seattle region will see and hear a variety of print, broadcast, and billboard advertisements regarding the Wales investigation and the reward of up to $1 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
In addition, detailed information about the case will be available on our website and our social media outlets, including Facebook.
“There are those who may not even know their information is important,” Fowler said, explaining the need for the media campaign.
“Something seen, something heard, something out of place, something unusual—even the smallest clue may help.”
Special Agent Russ Fox, who has been supervising the investigation for the past two years, added that the 10th anniversary of the murder is a natural point to “renew the public’s interest in the investigation.”
Fox noted that the murder took place exactly one month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which should help people remember that time period.
Insight Into a Killer
As part of the Wales homicide investigation, the Bureau asked its Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) to review the evidence to help understand the personality of the killer and the ways he might react as the 10th anniversary of the murder approaches.
“The anniversary and renewed media attention could prompt a reaction in anyone involved in the homicide,” said Susan Kossler, the BAU special agent assigned to assist with the case.
“It’s important for people around that person to make note of behaviors that may be unusual or out of the ordinary.”
The media coverage surrounding the anniversary could trigger a variety of emotional responses from the killer, Kossler said.
“He may appear tense or uneasy. He may make unexpected or inappropriate comments about the murder or about Wales.”
The killer might be preoccupied with the case and want to talk about it constantly. Or the very mention of the murder might make him shut down completely.
“Any stronger than normal reaction, any significant deviation from the norm is what people should be looking for,” Kossler said.
Fox acknowledged that the case has special significance because Wales was a federal prosecutor and a partner to law enforcement.
“But he was also a neighbor, a father, and a member of our community.”
The FBI, the Seattle Police Department, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and the Department of Justice—which form the Seattle Prosecutor Murder Task Force—“are still fully committed to this case,” Fox said.
“The murder of Tom Wales was more than a single act of violence against an individual,” Fowler added.
“It was a crime that impacted many, but no one more than his family. Tom Wales left behind a legacy and a life that cannot be replaced.”
“We remain confident that, with the public’s help, we will find those responsible and bring them to justice.”
The Murder Weapon
Forensic scientists have determined that the murder weapon was a Makarov semi-automatic handgun fitted with an aftermarket barrel.
- Soviet Bloc countries manufactured the Makarov through approximately 1968.
- The aftermarket barrels are stainless steel, rifled with six lands and grooves and a left twist.
- Because there are a limited number of aftermarket barrels that were sold in the United States, investigators have been working to identify and test fire as many as possible.
If you have any information about the case, there are three ways you can contact the FBI, all of which are confidential:
Call: (206) 622-0460
Send a letter: FBI Seattle – Thomas Wales Case, 1110 3rd Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101.
(Amy and Tom Wales talk about their father Tom Wales, a federal prosecutor in Seattle who was killed by a gunman in 2001. Courtesy of the FBI and YouTube.)
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein joined U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes, Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan, the Wales family, the National Association of Former United States Attorneys Foundation, and other law enforcement partners in Seattle on Wednesday to bring continued and deserved attention to the Department of Justice investigation into the 2001 murder of Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas C. Wales.
The Department of Justice remains committed to a reward of up to one million dollars for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
In addition to and separate from the Department’s reward, the National Association of Former United States Attorneys Foundation President Mike McKay announced that his organization is offering up to a $525,000 reward to the same individuals as the Justice Department for information leading to the Department’s prosecution of those responsible for Wales’ murder.
“Any attack on a law enforcement officer is an attack on our entire justice system,” Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein said.
“The Wales family has shown incredible strength, courage, and devotion. As Deputy Attorney General, I intend to see that we leave no stone unturned in the search for the killer who murdered Tom Wales.”
“We will continue to pursue this case for as long as it takes to achieve justice. The killer will be held accountable.”
“The murder of Tom Wales more than 16 years ago remains an affront to the rule of law and a devastating loss to all who knew Tom and the community he so loyally served,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.
“I am deeply grateful to the National Association of Former United States Attorneys and their foundation for establishing a separate reward in this case.”
“As the Department of Justice has made clear time and again — we will never rest until justice is done in this case.”
A task force led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Seattle Police Department continues to work actively and intensively.
The investigative team has been able to successfully investigate thousands leads and continues to devote resources to focused investigative avenues.
In just the last 12 months, the investigative team has served nearly 50 new subpoenas and has pursued hundreds of investigative actions.
Investigators believe that there are people who have information and hope that the significant reward provides an additional incentive for coming forward.
The task force asks the public to help partner in its efforts for justice, and closure for the Wales family.
“Local prosecutors will continue our partnership with federal investigators on this case, said Dan Satterberg, King County Prosecuting Attorney.
“We are determined to solve this terrible crime.”
“The FBI remains committed to bringing closure for the Wales family,” added FBI Special Agent Tabb.
“We continue to offer a reward of up to $1 million for information that helps us resolve this investigation. We know that there are people with pertinent knowledge and we are pleading with you to come forward to the FBI.”
“Please help us solve this case for the Wales family.”
“We haven’t forgotten about Tom Wales, and are leaving no stone unturned in this investigation,” said Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best.
“We will continue to work in collaboration with our federal partners to bring the individual responsible for his brutal murder to justice.”
(Charlie Mandigo, former Special Agent in Charge of the Seattle FBI office discusses why the murder of Tom Wales was so difficult to investigate and why the investigation is continuing 15 years later. Courtesy of Erika Schultz and The Seattle Times)