Thomas Crane Wales (June 23, 1952 – October 11, 2001) was an American federal prosecutor and gun control advocate from Seattle, Washington, who was the victim of an unsolved murder.
Wales was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Wales was a graduate of Milton Academy, where he roomed with Joseph Patrick Kennedy II, whose father Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. Wales graduated from Harvard University. He attended Hofstra Law School, where he graduated with distinction in 1979 and served as the Editor-in-Chief of the school's Law Review.
In 1995, a student at the high school that Wales's son attended brought a gun to school and shot and injured two classmates. Soon after, Wales became involved in Washington CeaseFire, most visibly as a vocal supporter of an unsuccessful 1997 state referendum that would have required gun owners to use trigger locks. Wales later became president of CeaseFire. As a community volunteer, he was active in civic organizations and served as a trustee of the Federal Bar Association.
Wales worked as an assistant U.S. Attorney in Seattle specializing in the investigation and prosecution of fraud in banking and business.
On the evening of October 11, 2001, Wales was sitting at his computer in his home office in his basement. A gunman avoided the security lights in Wales' backyard and shot him in the neck, through a window, with a handgun. The killer left shell casings behind. The shots were heard by a neighbor who called 9-1-1.
In his memory, the Thomas C. Wales Foundation was set up to support civic engagement.
Marlis DeJong organizes the annual Tom Wales Memorial 5K Run.
Thomas C. Wales Park is dedicated to his memory. It is located at 2401 6th Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98109 and is administered by the City of Seattle. https://www.seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/thomas-c-wales-park
As of 2011, this murder case remains unsolved and no evidence has been found to establish a motive. An airplane pilot that Wales had prosecuted was investigated and his home searched, but he was not charged. The Bellevue airline pilot, once prosecuted by Wales, was also a firearms enthusiast. Agents believed he resented Wales' off-duty activism as a leading gun-control advocate. The pilot later filed a malicious prosecution claim, but the suit was dismissed.
It has been suggested by the media that U.S Attorney John McKay was dismissed in part due to his request that resource allocation for the Wales investigation remain high. In June 2007, the FBI cut the staff assigned to the case down to two. There is an open reward of one million U.S. dollars for information leading to the conclusion of the case.