2021 | Police & Fire

UPDATED: Gaithersburg police fatally shoot man after chase

Officers were investigating report that man was armed, chief says

Gaithersburg police fatally shot a man on Friday after investigating a report that he was armed.

Photos by Caitlynn Peetz

This story was updated at 8:09 p.m. on Jan. 8, 2021, with more information about the shooting.

Gaithersburg police shot and killed a man after a chase on Friday, according to Police Chief Mark Sroka.

During a press conference following the shooting, Sroka said four plain clothes officers with a Street Crimes Unit were watching the man because of a report that he was armed.

Montgomery County police said in a press release that the officers approached the man as he was walking in the area of 14 S. Frederick Ave.

Sroka said that when the officers identified themselves, the man ran across Md. 355 to Chelsea Park Apartments at 14 S. Frederick Ave. Officers pursued him. When the man reached a “grass sidewalk area” at the apartments, he pulled out a handgun.

“At least one or more Gaithersburg police officers discharged their department-issued firearms,” Sroka said. The man, who was not immediately identified, died, Sroka said. Police expect to release his identity on Saturday.

The shooting happened at about 5:53 p.m in the area of 12 S. Frederick Ave., the Montgomery County police press release said.

Officers tried to care for the man and radioed for help from Montgomery County Fire & Rescue, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, the press release said.

Police recovered a handgun from the scene.

Gaithersburg and Montgomery County police work the scene of where a police officer shot a man on Friday night.

“It’s unfortunate any time you have a loss of life,” Sroka said. “We’ve taken an oath to serve and protect and we understand the sanctity of life. We never want to take an individual’s life. But what I know at this point is this individual was armed, he did flee from police and he did display a handgun at the officers.”

The officers will be placed on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated. Gaithersburg police probably will release the identities of the four officers on Saturday evening, the Montgomery County police release said.

No police officers were injured in the shooting.

The Montgomery County Police Department also responded. Montgomery County’s Major Crimes Division is investigating the shooting.