Editor’s Note: Mr. Garland delivered the following comments on Monday during the Memorial Service for U.S. Deputy Marshal Tommy Weeks Jr.


Good morning. It’s an honor to be here today to join with the Weeks family and this community to recognize Deputy U.S. Marshal Thomas Weeks.

Merrick B. Garland

Mrs. Weeks — when I called you last Tuesday to convey the Justice Department’s deepest condolences to your family, I hoped in some way to be able to provide you with comfort and support in the midst of your unimaginable loss. What I did not expect is that you would end the call by asking me what you could do to support the Marshals Service and the Justice Department in this time of immeasurable sadness.

I called hoping to lift your spirits. The call ended with you lifting mine. And I know that is what you have been doing all week for both your family and for the U.S. Marshals Service family.

Mrs. Weeks, I did not have the honor of knowing Tommy. But from everything I have heard about him, I know he would be very proud of you.

Over the past several days, I have learned that Tommy loved his family deeply — his wife, his four children, his father, and his three brothers. I know that no words can adequately describe the pain that you are feeling now, that nothing can undo this horrible loss, and that there is not enough gratitude in the world to recognize the sacrifice that you and your family have made.

I have also learned that Tommy loved his U.S. Marshals Service family. And I know that today, that family is not just grieving for a colleague, but for a friend and a brother.

I also know that despite that grief, the U.S. Marshals family and the entire law enforcement family here in Charlotte, has stepped up to support the Weeks family.

That is what working in law enforcement means — it means stepping up and showing up when things are most difficult and most painful. It means facing unacceptable threats and danger. It means supporting people and communities when they are experiencing some of their darkest days. It means putting your life on the line for the public that you serve.

That is what Tommy did every single day during his career in law enforcement.

That is what he did during his work with Customs and Border Protection.

And that is what he did after joining the U.S. Marshals in 2011. He first worked in Washington, D.C., where he protected the D.C. Superior Court. And where he played on a hockey team alongside other deputy marshals and at least one judge.

That judge recounted that Tommy always had a smile on his face. The biggest smile. Equally important, the judge said, was that Tommy was the kind of hockey player you always wanted on your side. And the kind of person who the judges were glad to have on their side, protecting them.

When Tommy arrived in the Western District of North Carolina, he quickly developed a reputation for being the kind of law enforcement officer, and friend, you could count on.

No matter what he was doing — whether it was serving a warrant, protecting the courthouse, or carrying out an extradition in Poland or Colombia — he gave everything he had to make sure the task was done right.

He was dependable, reliable, resilient, and passionate about serving his community.

His colleagues say that he could be intense because he took his work so seriously. He knew how important his job was. And he never gave anything less than 110 percent.

But they also say he could be funny — in a dry sort of way, as you just heard.

When Tommy arrived at the Western District, one colleague commented that he might just be a bit out of shape. Tommy replied: “Round is a shape.”

But Tommy didn’t just leave it at that. Instead, he took it as a challenge. He started running the fastest he had ever run— soon he was running faster than everyone else — and he pushed his colleagues to constantly be better.

That was the kind of marshal he was, and the kind of leader he was.

For all the seriousness he brought to his work, Tommy also brought care and a touch of tenderness to his work family.

When a dear friend and a fellow Deputy Marshal became a grandmother, he started calling her meemaw.

When a close friend and fellow Deputy Marshal from D.C. was transferred to the Western District, he helped him find a place to live. The friend said it best: “Tommy would give the shirt off his back to anyone.”

For Tommy, serving with the U.S. Marshals Service was a dream job. He was proud to be in a position in which he could inspire others.

And as a history buff, he knew that he was part of one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in our country’s history.

He knew that his work to keep his community safe, and to protect the judicial process upon which our democracy depends, was of historic importance.

As Tommy likely knew, the position of both Attorney General and U.S. Marshal — together with our federal courts system — were all created at the same time under President George Washington’s administration, as part of the Judiciary Act of 1789.

Our founders recognized that a country based on the rule of law could only survive as long as there were people — people like Tommy — willing to defend the institutions that sustain it.

For more than two decades, I was a federal judge in Washington, D.C., working in another federal courthouse just down the block from where Tommy was working. In fact I think I recognize our bomb dog over there in the corner.

It is no exaggeration to say that federal judges put their lives in the hands of U.S. Marshals. Their service, and their sacrifice, makes it safe for judges to base their decisions on the law, and not on fear.

Our U.S. Marshals reflect the very best of what a public servant should be — dedicated, selfless, and courageous.

That is what Tommy did. That is what Tommy was. And that is how he lived his life. And that is how he always will be remembered.

On April 29, 2024, Tommy made the ultimate sacrifice. He did so along with his colleagues, task force officers Alden Elliott and Samuel Poloche, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Joshua Eyer.

Their deaths stand as a stark reminder of the enormous risks our law enforcement officers face every day, even when making the relatively routine arrests they make every day.

Every day our law enforcement officers go to work knowing that day may be their last. Every day their families send them off to work, praying it will not be.

While this community will never be the same without the brave officers we lost on April 29, it will always be safer because of them.

There is no more honorable legacy than that.

To the Weeks family: please know that your husband, your father, your son, your brother will always be remembered by this community and by our country as a hero.

As we remember Tommy Weeks today, and in the days and years ahead, may we never stop working to fulfill the mission to which he dedicated his life.

Thank you.

Merrick B. Garland is the U.S. Attorney General.