Questions Remain Over County Police Officer’s Death
Department not commenting on possibility of body camera footage
Acting Police Chief Marcus Jones addresses reporters Monday during a press conference
via Montgomery County
A number of questions have yet to be answered about Monday’s shooting in downtown Silver Spring that killed a 13-year veteran of the Montgomery County Police Department.
Thomas J. “T.J.” Bomba, 38, died Monday at MedStar Washington Hospital in Washington, D.C. Police say he was shot on the top floor of a parking garage at Fenton Street and Ellsworth Drive. They are treating the case as a homicide, but are not ruling out other possibilities, including suicide.
Acting Police Chief Marcus Jones said during a press conference Monday that no witnesses or suspects had been identified in the shooting and there was no danger to the community.
Jones said Monday that Bomba radioed for backup at 8:49 a.m. on the top floor of the garage. A police press release on Monday night said that Bomba told a dispatcher that someone had flagged him down about “disorderly subjects” there.
Another officer found him four minutes later with a gunshot wound. Officers tried to save his life at the scene before he was taken to the hospital.
Sgt. Rebecca Innocenti, a police spokeswoman, wrote in an email Tuesday that the department continues to investigate Bomba’s death as a homicide.
“We are still working to identify suspect or suspects. We are asking for the public’s assistance in coming forward with any information they may have pertinent to this investigation,” she wrote.
Jones said in an interview Monday night that “all options,” including suicide are possible. Innocenti echoed those sentiments Tuesday morning.
“A homicide investigation, in general, will always look at multiple possibilities and scenarios. That is part of doing a thorough and exhaustive investigation. Suicide would only be one scenario of many. We are looking at all possibilities as part of an investigation,” she wrote.
Innocenti wrote that as of Tuesday morning the police has “numerous resources in the area” near the site of the shooting, and she reiterated Jones’s pledge that there was no imminent threat to the public.
“If that perception changes, we will update everyone immediately,” she wrote.
Bomba was wearing a body camera during the shooting, but it remains unclear whether it was recording. Capt. Tom Jordan, a police spokesman, wrote in an email Tuesday that the cameras record continually in a 30-second loop when powered on.
“When the camera is activated, the 30 seconds prior are captured without sound plus the duration of the recording,” he wrote.
Jordan wrote that he couldn’t comment on whether the camera was on during the shooting.
“Analysis of the camera and any subsequent recordings is part of the investigation thus I cannot provide any information on that part of the ongoing investigation,” he wrote.
It also is not clear whether the shooting was captured on surveillance video. Jones said Monday that he wasn’t aware of cameras on the top floor of the garage where the shooting happened. He said police were asking nearby businesses for security footage they might have.
A site manager for the garage said in an interview Tuesday there are security cameras, but they are “not everywhere.” He wasn’t sure if there were any on the top floor.
Jones could not be reached for comment Tuesday morning. Additionally, representatives from Montgomery County’s police union could not be reached for comment Tuesday morning.
Bomba, who was married with two children, was the first officer to die after being shot while on duty since Kyle Olinger died April 18. His death came 16 years after he was shot during a traffic stop in Silver Spring. Olinger’s death was ruled a homicide.
Jordan wrote in his email that he had no information as of Tuesday morning about plans for a memorial service.
Anyone who witnessed “disorderly behavior” in the area or interacted with Bomba Monday morning is asked to call the police department’s non-emergency number at 301-279-8000.
Staff reporter Kate Masters and Managing Editor Andrew Schotz contributed to this story
Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.email@example.com