Fallen US Marshal is memorialized by Attorney General Garland, family and others

May 6, 2024, 11:48 AM

When met with condolences about the death of her husband — Thomas Weeks Jr., a Deputy U.S. Marshal killed in Charlotte last week — Kelly Weeks asked instead how she could help the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a Monday memorial for the officer.

In her eulogy, Weeks’ wife said that in the wake of her husband’s death she had no other options but to seek change.

“My husband’s tragedy cannot be just another death,” Kelly Weeks said during the memorial. “It has to be for something bigger.”

Hundreds gathered at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte to memorialize Weeks — who, along with three other law enforcement officers, died in a Charlotte neighborhood shootout on April 29. Between speeches by those close to Weeks and mournful, acoustic folk songs, the officer was remembered not only for his commitment to his job but also his love for those around him.

Weeks was one of four officers killed last week while attempting to serve a warrant of felony possession of a firearm to a suspect at a Charlotte home. Officers shot and killed the wanted man, 39-year-old Terry Clark Hughes Jr., during the three-hour standoff. Four other officers were also injured.

It was the deadliest shooting against law enforcement officers since 2016 when a sniper shot five officers at a Dallas protest.

Weeks’ memorial was the second of four planned for the fallen officers, following a service on Friday commemorating the life of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Joshua Eyer. The other two officers killed were William Elliott and Sam Poloche of the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections.

Originally from Maryland, Weeks joined the U.S. Marshals Service in 2011 and initially worked at the D.C. Superior Court. As a former federal judge himself, Garland vouched for the importance of Weeks’ job, saying how judicial officials often put their lives in the hands of deputy marshals.

“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,” Garland said on Monday.

Those who worked with Weeks described him as “intense and full of conviction,” Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Joe Graham said. His dedication to the job could lead him to be a bit matter-of-fact, such as when he had to stop a scuffle in then-U.S. District Judge Robert Conrad’s courtroom, according to the former judge. When asked to testify about the conflict, Weeks just said: “He acted up. I took care of it.”

But Weeks always treated everyone with respect, no matter what side of the courtroom someone was on, Conrad said.

His kind nature and dry sense of humor were remembered by his coworkers. When one of his colleagues became a grandmother, Weeks started to lovingly refer to her as “Meemaw,” according to Garland, who said he didn’t know Weeks personally but heard stories from those who did.

Another time, when someone told Weeks he was out of shape, he joked that “round is a shape,” Garland said.

In 2014, Weeks received the “best email of his life,” according to his longtime friend and U.S. Deputy Marshal Ryan King, speaking at the memorial. Weeks was switching posts to the Western District of North Carolina, where he could be reunited with his wife and children in Mooresville.

King, who met Weeks when he first started at the D.C. Superior Court, eventually moved to the Western District of North Carolina in 2020, working out of a cubicle right next to his buddy. It was like old times between the two friends, who went tailgating together to support the Carolina Panthers football team and hung out at local pubs, he said.

“Tommy boy was a true shining star,” King said.

Cheering on all D.C.-area teams was one of Weeks’ passions, whether it was the Washington Nationals baseball team or the Washington Capitals ice hockey team, King said. He even participated in sports leagues himself, in particular a hockey team for law enforcement officers.

If Weeks knew his memorial would be held at Bojangles Coliseum, where the Charlotte Checkers hockey team plays, his wife Kelly said he would be thrilled. He also would have been “humbled by all the people” in attendance, she said.

Aside from being a sports fanatic, Weeks would be remembered as a loving father and husband, Kelly said. Nightly hugs and Dunkin’ Donuts runs were just a few examples of ways he showed care for his four children, she continued.

Every morning, Weeks told Kelly he loved her and reminded her how lucky he was to have her, she recalled. But now reflecting, Kelly said she was “truly the lucky one.”

“He was already a hero to me in our family,” Kelly said.

Weeks was a star that burned bright but fast, Kelly said. She said she hopes her husband’s legacy can inspire others, like how stars in the universe are born out of other stars’ death.

“Tommy’s mission in life was to make the world safer and fight for justice. So what do I need?” his wife asked. “I need this country to come together to support our law enforcement officers so they can continue to fight for justice like my husband did.”

United States News


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Fallen US Marshal is memorialized by Attorney General Garland, family and others