ROCKVILLE, Md. — A decade ago, he was fighting for his life. Last week, he allegedly killed himself.
Court records show Montgomery County Police Officer Thomas Bomba had gone to court against his department after he was infected with flesh-eating bacteria in a training incident and nearly died.
Now, colleagues are trying to understand why a young father and police officer would decide to take his own life. Some are looking back to the damage inflicted on Thomas Bomba's body and brain after a training injury in 2009 led to a deadly infection.
One of Bomba's lawyers told WUSA9 than an instructor had hit and jabbed Bomba with a baton while Bomba was wearing a "Redman" protective suit.
A scratch on his shoulder became infected. A week later, he was at Maryland Shock Trauma, a hospital spokeswoman said. Bomba was fighting necrotizing fasciitis -- a flesh-eating bacteria -- and toxic shock syndrome, according to a website set up to help his family cover his medical bills.
He had to have a breathing tube and brain surgery and barely survived.
Court records show Bomba engaged in years of back and forth litigation with Montgomery County. The Workers Compensation Commission ruled he was only 35% disabled, but Bomba's lawyers said that failed to cover his injuries.
The county offered him another $200,000, but the court cases dragged on. It is still unclear how they ended up.
Whether the struggle, the pain, and the injuries contributed to his decision to commit suicide atop at Silver Spring parking garage last week is still a mystery.
It is not yet confirmed whether Officer Bomba's death will be considered "in the line of duty."
That could make a big difference for his family.