‘Heartbroken’ and ‘Mourning’: Community Reacts to Officer’s Shooting Death

‘Heartbroken’ and ‘Mourning’: Community Reacts to Officer’s Shooting Death

Officer Thomas J. Bomba died after a shooting in downtown Silver Spring on Monday

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Montgomery County Police Department Twitter page

This story was updated at 8:05 p.m. Oct. 14, 2019, to reflect the latest on the police investigation.

Officials from across the country shared grief and condolences after a Montgomery County police officer died while on duty on Monday.

Support for the county police department poured in Monday afternoon in various statements and social media posts following the death of Thomas “T.J.” Bomba, a 13-year veteran of the police department.

Community members, elected officials and police officers from as far away as San Francisco, California, said they were mourning Bomba’s death. Police officials from New York City, Kansas, Georgia and Florida also offered condolences on Twitter Monday afternoon.

At approximately 8:50 a.m., Bomba, 38, used his police radio to call for backup as he investigated a report of disorderly conduct on the top floor of a parking garage, according to police. He was found about four minutes later with a gunshot wound, then died at a Washington, D.C., hospital.

Police said during an afternoon press conference that they are considering the case a homicide until they reach a final conclusion, but there were no witnesses or suspects. Until then, “all options,” including suicide, are possible, Acting Police Chief Marcus Jones said in an interview Monday evening.

“I just wanted to extend the county’s sympathy and condolences to the family, his wife and children and to the police department on the loss of one of their own,” County Executive Marc Elrich said during a news conference Monday afternoon. “This is a very difficult job and it’s one of those jobs where not everybody comes home when they go out in the morning. It’s been a really difficult day … but I trust the police will carry out an investigation and we will get to the bottom of this and hold people accountable.”

In a Twitter post on Monday afternoon, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he was “heartbroken” to hear of Bomba’s death.

Speaking on behalf of the Montgomery County Council at Monday’s news conference, Council President Nancy Navarro said she will ensure the police department has “whatever support and resources” it needs during its investigation.

County Council member Tom Hucker said he is “heartbroken” for Bomba’s wife and children.

“It’s a reminder to all of us of the risks that police officers in particular, and public employees face,” he said.

Hucker, whose district includes downtown Silver Spring, where the shooting happened, said he wanted to reassure residents that they are not in danger — a point Jones emphasized in the press conference.

“I think people should take Chief Jones at his word that there’s not a public safety risk,” he said.

Hucker said despite the assurances from the police, there has been concern among residents.

“My phone’s been very busy all day with people calling and texting and checking in. It affected private employers in Silver Spring. It affected schools that were on lockdown. It’s something the community is gonna feel deeply for a long time,” he said.

Council member Andrew Friedson wrote in a text message that it had been “an extremely sad day for Montgomery County.”

“I’m offering my support and solidarity for the family and everyone in the law enforcement community who put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe every day,” he wrote.

Capt. Tom Jordan, a police spokesman, said they are asking the public to come forward with any information they might have.

“We’re looking at everything, and if the public saw anything, any encounters with T.J. Bomba this morning … call us. We want to know,” he said.

Staff writers Dan Schere and Kate Masters contributed to this story.

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