CHICAGO — The former head of the U.S. Marshal’s Office in Chicago is accused of making a threatening comment about a judge.
A new Justice Department Inspector General’s report said that in the middle of firearms training, the former head U.S. Marshal “made [an] inappropriate comment about shooting a judge.” He later told investigators “he was joking” and “admitted it was inappropriate.”
“There’s no place in the U.S. Marshals’ service profession to make those comments, especially when you’re out at a firing range for firearms training," former Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal and WGN security analyst John O'Malley said.
The IG's report does not name the U.S. Marshal, but sources tell WGN Investigates it was Edward Gilmore. He abruptly retired one year ago, days after making the comment and ahead of the investigation.
Before Barack Obama appointed him to the marshal’s job in 2015, Gilmore served as the Calumet City police chief. He also worked for the DEA and Chicago Police Department.
O’Malley said the person in charge of security for federal judges and courthouses should never joke about shooting anyone.
"Having a U.S. Marshal, let alone the head of the district, make a comment about harming a member of the judiciary is akin to a high-ranking Secret Service official making a threat or statement that he wants to shoot the President of the United States. Totally unacceptable," O'Malley said.
Chief Judge Ruben Castillo also didn’t treat the comment as a joke.
“It’s an unprecedented comment and in today’s era of workplace violence it’s one we need to know about. He was one of the few people who could walk into my chambers fully armed," Castillo told WGN Investigates.
The Inspector General also noted this wasn’t the only questionable comment during Gilmore’s rocky two-year run.
The IG's report said Gilmore “lacked candor” with investigators when he was questioned about “making another inappropriate comment about a judge during a meeting the prior month with the chief judge of the United States District Court.”
“A story like this is a total distraction to the hard work that the men and women of United States Marshals’ Service do every day – not only protecting judges but also going out and arresting extremely violent fugitives on a daily basis," O'Malley said.
The Inspector General also found it “concerning” that no other members of the Marshals Service who heard the comments reported them to the chief judge.
WGN's efforts to reach Gilmore were unsuccessful. Prosecutors declined to bring a case against him.
The Trump administration has still not appointed a permanent successor in Chicago.