RALEIGH -- The U.S. attorney for eastern North Carolina is stepping down next month.
U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker said in a news release Tuesday that he has submitted his resignation to President Obama effective Jan. 7.
Walker's statement said that he will return to private legal practice.
Walker was sworn into office in 2011 after being nominated by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
Walker's office handled all federal criminal and civil matters in 44 counties in eastern North Carolina.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement that Walker "proved himself to be a consummate public servant and exemplary law enforcement officer."
Walker said he is grateful to have had the opportunity to serve in the post.