The city of Silver Spring, Maryland looked like something out of a movie earlier this week as a massive police presence searched for the people responsible for shooting and killing one of their fellow officers.
But after hours of searching and no description of who they were looking for, the search was suddenly called off, leaving people wondering — what happened to Officer TJ Bomba?
Reports have now surfaced that the fallen officer had not, in fact, been injured by “disorderly suspects,” as he had called out over the scanner, but actually took his own life.
WTOP published a report in which they said the D.C. medical examiner’s office determined that the officer had died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
On Monday, another officer from Montgomery County discovered 38-year-old Bomba severely wounded in a parking garage in downtown Silver Spring. Bomba had radioed in about “disorderly subjects” inside the garage just before 9 a.m.
When his fellow officer found him shot and bleeding, an “all hands on deck” manhunt began to search for the would-be killers. While that was happening, Bomba was rushed to a nearby hospital, but succumbed to his injuries a few hours later.
A Maryland police officer has died after he was found with a gunshot wound in a parking garage that was part of his regular patrol, authorities said. https://t.co/RXQJ5cs3Un
— AP South U.S. Region (@APSouthRegion) October 14, 2019
Officers from multiple agencies swarmed the downtown area, alerting civilians and businesses of the activity, warning them to stay clear until the suspect(s) had been apprehended.
Police at the scene described the issue as difficult, being that there was no actual description of the person or persons they were looking for.
Officer Bomba was reportedly wearing his body cam, but it had not been activated at the time of the shooting, leaving investigators with little to go on.
A few hours in, the manhunt was suddenly halted. Officials didn’t provide any reasoning behind why they stopped looking, but let the public know that there was no threat in the area.
That brought up questions about what really happened inside the parking garage.
But now, area officials have confirmed the tragic report – Officer Bomba died by his own hand.
The investigation into his death is still ongoing, but the department is reeling from the sudden action taken by their friend and fellow officer.
“The outpouring of support from the community has been greatly appreciated during this trying time,” Montgomery County authorities said in a news release.
BREAKING: The death of Officer TJ Bomba has been ruled a suicide. Montgomery County Police say he was wearing his body-worn camera, but it was not activated. Here is our earlier coverage of the shooting in Silver Spring: https://t.co/46k3lY00NE
— Lindsey Mastis (@LindseyMastis) October 15, 2019
Officer Bomba leaves behind a wife and two sons.
This tragedy combined with another reported suicide out of New York City Wednesday morning has the law enforcement community asking questions and demanding that action be taken to save the lives of those who are struggling.
Investigators are saying that Officer Linhong Li, a 35-year-old sergeant with the force, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
The law enforcement officer was off-duty at the time, ABC 7 NY reported. Reports noted that Li’s wife discovered him in a pool of his own blood when she came home around 8 p.m. Tuesday night. Prior to becoming an officer, Li served as a U.S. Marine and did a tour of duty in Iraq.
The sergeant becomes the 10th New York City police officer to take their own life in 2019, far surpassing the department’s yearly average.
The city has been scrambling to provide resources to their officers because of the overwhelming amount of mental health struggles and increasing rate of officer suicide.
Retired NYPD detective David Chianese routinely writes editorials for LET about the New York City department.
He says the brass isn’t doing enough, saying the department is more concerned with their budget concerns than actually saving the lives of their officers.
Did you know that Law Enforcement Today has a private new home for those who support emergency responders and veterans? It’s called LET Unity, and it’s where we share the untold stories of those patriotic Americans. Every penny gets reinvested into giving these heroes a voice. Check it out today.
Their latest move? Apparently holding a secret meeting of top department officials where leaders decided to create a video to discourage suicide because it was cheap and easy.
The following is from the former detective.
One police source at the meeting, speaking on a condition of anonymity, stated he looked around at everyone while they discussed options and shot down ideas. It appeared the biggest issue was a fear of budget costs and spending too much on overtime for certain programs or in rescheduling of officers.
Always putting budget before service and dollars before brethren, a typical decision was made.
In the end, it was agreed that the department would direct a training video to combat suicide and mandate all to watch the program.
Videos don’t fix demons, they won’t cure PTSD and will not end the stigma.
Videos such as the one by the PBA yelling “Don’t fucking do it” won’t put bullets back in the barrels.
As a nation, we need to push our leaders to do more to combat the problem and bring those lost to their mental battles back to their families and friends. We need leaders to rise up and demand that the real issues that address these stigmas are dealt with.
Phone numbers won’t help someone afraid to dial and stepping forward to get grounded won’t pay the bills. We need real decisions and serious debate and I welcome 1 Police Plaza, Local Police Commander’s and Politicians to sit with my colleagues and I and make real change that works for all, including their purse strings.
That being said, we’re still dropping this contact info below just in case anyone needs it.
If you or someone you know is a member of the NYPD and are struggling, you can text “Blue” to 741741 for help. Not a cop but still in crisis? The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is a free 24-hour hotline that can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.