On October 11, 2001, around 10:30pm, Tom Wales, a 49-year-old federal prosecutor and a high-profile leader in the gun-control movement, sat at the desk of the basement office in his Queen Anne home. Three to four .380-caliber bullets, fired from behind the house, pierced a basement window and struck Wales in the neck and side. A neighbor heard the gun blasts and called 911. Out on the street, a witness spotted a man walk away from the home, slip into a car, and speed away. Wales died hours later at Harborview Medical Center.
Investigators suspected either someone the attorney had prosecuted or a dis-gruntled firearms enthusiast. But 13 years later, despite some 15,000 leads (including a confession letter from a Las Vegas hit man who went by the handle Gidget, likely a hoax), one promising suspect (a pilot for U.S. Airways whom Wales once indicted for fraud), and a $1 million reward, the case remains unsolved.
In 2011, attorney general Eric Holder joined Wales’s family, friends, and colleagues in Seattle to mark the 10-year anniversary of the murder and announce the FBI’s ongoing investigation (as well as a social media campaign) to find the killer. “It was one month after the 9/11 attacks,” Holder said. “Think back, remember what you saw, heard, or knew…. You could make the difference.”