Silver Spring, MD – Montgomery County Police Officer Thomas “T.J.” Bomba died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound while on duty Monday morning.
Police said that the 38-year-old Officer Bomba was on “a routine patrol” when he called out with disorderly subjects from the top of a parking garage at Fenton Street and Ellsworth Drive at about 8:49 a.m., WRC reported.
There were no additional radio transmissions from Officer Bomba after that point, police said.
Acting Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones said that responding officers arrived on the top of the parking garage less than four minutes after backup was requested and found Officer Bomba suffering from a gunshot wound.
The wounded officer was transported via ambulance to MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
The chief said Officer Bomba succumbed to his wounds at the hospital.
Police initially treated the officer’s death as a homicide despite the fact that they said early on there was no reason to believe there was any threat to the public.
On Tuesday evening, the Montgomery County Police Department announced in a press release that the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of the District of Columbia had ruled Officer Bomba’s death was the result of a self-inflicted injury.
Police said the officer had been wearing a bodycam when the incident occurred but that it was not activated.
Chief Jones said Officer Bomba was a 13-year veteran of the Montgomery County Police Department.
He is survived by his wife and two children.
The manner of death came as a shock to his fellow officers who remembered Officer Bomba as a happy fellow who always wore a smile on duty and readily gave thumbs up, WUSA reported.
He was given a Silver Award for Valor in 2008 by the Chamber of Commerce after he restrained a burglary suspect who had shot at a fellow officer and was trying to fire his weapon again.
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich told Bethesda Magazine that he and Chief Jones had already been discussing ways to increase access to mental health services for first responders in the county prior to the officer’s suicide.
“We need to figure out how we do a better job of supporting them because this is essentially someone who probably didn’t feel he had anybody to talk to and didn’t get the support he needed, so we need to see what to do to improve this,” Elrich said. “This really is a tragic loss. However it happened doesn’t change the tragedy.”
Officer Bomba was a native of Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania, according to WICU.
He graduated from Cambridge Springs High School in 1999 and then went on to major in criminal justice at Edinboro University.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Montgomery County Police Officer Thomas “T.J.” Bomba, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.