SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – John Gibbons, a former United States Marshal for the District of Massachusetts, has died.

Gibbons retired in August of 2021 after more than four decades in law enforcement. He was the first African American U.S. Marshal for the District of Massachusetts. He had been appointed by President Barack Obama in December 2009 and sworn in on January 13, 2010.

Gibbons began his law enforcement career in Massachusetts, serving for 30 years with the Massachusetts State Police (MSP) prior to his taking the Marshal position. At MSP he was assigned to the Division of Investigations for 27 years and held numerous positions including: Unit Commander of the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit in the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, and Unit/Section Commander of the State Police Detective Unit-Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office in Western Massachusetts. Marshal Gibbons served as Operational Supervisor on the FBI Western Massachusetts Gang Task Force, Western Massachusetts Team Leader of the Massachusetts State Police Crisis Negotiations Team, Massachusetts Fire Marshal Representative and participated on the Boston-Raymond Luc Levasseur/Nyack N.Y. Brinks Robbery (BOSLUC/NYROB) Terrorism Task Force investigation in the Western Massachusetts area with members of the FBI, New York City Police, New Jersey State Police, and Massachusetts State Police.

While serving in the U.S. Marshals Service, Gibbons oversaw security for many high profile and historically significant events in the District of Massachusetts, including security for the Boston Marathon Bombing trial and the capture and trial of James “Whitey” Bulger.

Mayor Sarno issued this statement:

“First of all, I am so very sorry to hear about the passing of retired U.S. Marshal John Gibbons. My sympathy, thoughts, prayers, and encouragement go out to his wife Shelby, brother Ron, family and friends. I spoke with Marshal Gibbons not too long ago to see how he was feeling. Always the gentleman and a well-respected lawman. After a long and successful career with our state police, John became a trailblazer, as the first black U.S. Marshal for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Let’s not also, forget, he was one hell of a football player for American International College (AIC) too. Marshal Gibbons, John, your legacy of outstanding law enforcement and compassion will live on. May God rest your soul my friend.”

Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno

Friend of Gibbons and Sheriff of Hampden County, Nick Cocchi offered the following statement:

“The world lost a good man today as my dear friend, retired U.S. Marshal John Gibbons, passed away. During his career spanning 30 years with the Massachusetts State Police and over a decade as the first Black U.S. Marshal in the Commonwealth, John worked on some of the most high-profile cases,” Sheriff Cocchi said. “On the job, he was incredibly talented and dedicated to finding justice for victims. Day-to-day, he was a great friend and a loving family man. My heart goes out to his brother Ronnie, who works for our Sheriff’s Office, his wife Shelby, and his entire family.”

Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi

No information has been made available on funeral services.