- The Washington Times - Monday, October 14, 2019

Montgomery County Police are searching for the person who fatally shot an officer Monday morning in a Silver Spring parking garage — the county’s first fatal shooting of an on-duty police officer since 2003.

At an afternoon press conference at the county administration building in Rockville, acting Police Chief Marcus Jones said Officer Thomas J. Bomba was on patrol at about 9 a.m. when he radioed in a report about disorderly conduct at a parking garage at Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street.

“He called out ‘requesting assistance,’ and we heard no further transmission from him,” Chief Jones said.

Responding officers arrived about three or four minutes later and found Officer Bomba suffering from a gunshot wound on the top floor of the garage, the police chief said.

County authorities said Officer Bomba, 38, was transported by helicopter to MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Chief Jones said the officer later died there.

“Today it is with a heavy heart that I am announcing that Montgomery County Police has lost one of our own, Officer Thomas J. Bomba, a 13-year veteran of our department, has lost his life,” the chief said. He added that there was no immediate threat to public safety.

Chief Jones said the department is aggressively investigating the homicide but has no suspects. No weapons were found at the scene other than Officer Bomba‘s, he said.

Officer Bomba was wearing a body camera, and police were determining whether it was activated and functioning, Chief Jones said. Police also are working with nearby businesses to collect video surveillance, he said, expressing disappointment that the garage did not have cameras on the top level.

“We continue to investigate this event, and we will do everything in our power to ascertain what transpired this morning,” the chief said.

Anyone who noticed any suspicious behavior in the area Monday morning or communicated with Officer Bomba is asked to notify the police department.

Chief Jones said police presence in the area was increased to ensure public safety.

The area surrounding the scene was shut down after the shooting, as was the Capital Beltway. East Silver Spring Elementary School, Sligo Creek Elementary School and Silver Spring International Middle School were in “shelter in place” mode. Everyone was brought into the buildings, all exterior doors were locked and teaching continued, according to the Montgomery County Public Schools’ public information office.

Officer Bomba worked in the 3rd Police District, which services the Silver Spring area. He is survived by a wife and two children.

“This is a very sad day for Montgomery County,” County Executive Marc Elrich said in a statement. “We have about 10,000 County employees and when they go to work each day, they expect to be going home that night. That expectation is not as simple for our public safety employees. Even on their most routine days, they work with risks that most others do not take. Today, a much-respected officer, Thomas J. Bomba, will not be going home at the end of his shift.”

County Council President Nancy Navarro called the officer a hero and said “our hearts are hurting.”

“There is no incident more traumatic to a law enforcement officer than the serious injury or death that may occur in the line of duty,” Ms. Navarro said. “We ask that you please keep Officer Bomba and his family in your thoughts and prayers and that you give them the privacy they deserve.”

“Tragic news. Our hearts and condolences go to the @MCPDnews officer’s family, friends and colleagues,” tweeted council member Tom Hucker, who represents the Silver Spring area. “A sad day for all our dedicated police.”

“Deeply saddened and troubled to hear of the shooting of a Montgomery County Police Officer in downtown Silver Spring this morning,” council member Gabe Albornoz tweeted. “Sending thoughts of peace and courage to all impacted.”

Council member Will Jawando could not make it to the press conference, but he tweeted his condolences: “I am so sorry to learn of MCPD Officer TJ Bomba’s passing. My condolences to his family and friends and the entire Montgomery County Police Department. @ MCPDnews” In April, Officer Kyle Olinger, 53, died of health complications from a gunshot wound he sustained in 2003, according to a release from the county police department.

The release said Olinger was making a traffic stop in Silver Spring when he noticed one of the passengers was concealing a gun. When he ordered the passenger to drop the weapon, the passenger shot Olinger in the neck, which resulted in an injury that paralyzed him below the chest.

He served with the Montgomery County Police Department for two years and with the Reading Police Department in Pennsylvania for six years.

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