SILVER SPRING, Md. — The death of the Montgomery County police officer who was fatally shot Monday has been ruled as a result of "self-inflicted injury" by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of the District of Columbia.
The officer, identified as Thomas J. Bomba, 38, was fatally shot on the top of a parking garage Monday morning, police said.
"It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing that Montgomery County police has lost one of its own," Acting Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones said.
Bomba, who is from Gaithersburg, is survived by a wife and two children, Jones said.
"This is a very difficult job, and this is one of those jobs where not everybody comes home when they go out in the morning. And it's a tough loss for everybody," Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said.
Police said Officer Bomba was wearing his body-worn camera, but it had not been activated.
Jones described Bomba as a very dedicated officer. He worked the downtown Silver Spring beat and was assigned to the 3rd District.
"He worked primarily in the Central Business District area," Jones said. "We have typically been made aware of many different types of crimes that have occurred in downtown and Officer Bomba has always been actively involved on patrol and addressing a lot of the concerns that have occurred in downtown Silver Spring."
Police said that Bomba was on routine patrol when he radioed at 8:49 a.m. saying he was flagged down about a report of disorderly subjects on the top level of the parking garage at Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street.
Additional officers were sent to assist, and the first officer to the scene found Bomba suffering from a gunshot wound, police said.
Jones said Bomba was found 3-4 minutes after the shooting. He said the only weapon found at the scene was Bomba's. No other weapon was found, Jones said.
Bomba was taken via ambulance to MedStar Washington Hospital Center where he was pronounced dead, officials said.
Initially, authorities said they were searching the area and wanted the public and area businesses to be aware of the activity. Jones said he does not have any suspect information to release.
"We were on scene fairly quickly. We locked down the area," Montgomery County police spokesman Capt. C. Thomas Jordan said Monday morning.
Police had officers patrolling the area for publicly safety, Jones said. No one has reported anything suspicious, so there is no threat to the community, Jones said.
"This is one of the hardest things that as police officers we have to deal with and one of the things we have to recognize is that it’s not just affecting the police officers, it's affecting the communities, too," Jordan said.
When asked at the press conference if it was possible that Bomba took his own life, Jones said they were considering it, but that there was no evidence to support that at this time.
Authorities said they are treating the incident as a homicide pending further investigation with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Police said they are continuing to collect evidence from the scene and the investigation is ongoing.
Montgomery County Councilman Tom Hucker, who represents Silver Spring, said his thoughts are with the officer and his family.
"It's just certainly a reminder of the sacrifices that our police are put in every single day keeping our community safe. This is one of the safest communities in the country and everybody should be thinking of the officer and their family and being grateful to our police in such a difficult time," Hucker said.
"It's very, very troubling. It's a reminder of, I was there the night of the heavy Flower Branch explosion, it was a tragedy there. It'’s a wonderful community and I think the best community in the whole area, and the whole community is going to be suffering when we have an event like this. It's going to be on everybody’s mind for a very long time," Hucker added.
Montgomery County Public School officials said three schools in the area --Silver Spring International Middle School, Sligo Creek Elementary School and East Silver Spring Elementary School -- were sheltering in place, but officials lifted the alert just after 12 p.m.
Witness Describe Scene
Witnesses in the area described what happened, and also tweeted about the police activity.
"I heard that an officer was shot in the parking garage over here," a witness told WUSA9.