It’s been a week since Officer Thomas J. Bomba was found shot in a parking garage in Silver Spring, Maryland. After an all-out manhunt in search of the person who pulled the trigger, it was revealed that Bomba had taken his own life.
But the details surrounding his death are still not entirely clear, leaving many people asking… what really happened?
The answer may be in his past, according to ABC 7.
The news outlet released information on the fallen officer about what may have led to the mounting struggles that the 38-year-old could no longer deal with.
An officer that knew Bomba well anonymously spoke with ABC 7 to help shed some light on their friend and co-worker’s untimely end.
“We definitely have some ideas about why he may have been sad and depressed,” the officer stated.
According to medical records, Officer Bomba originally contracted an infectious skin disease in June 0f 2009. He was participating in a department training that required officers to wear compressed padded gear while a trainer used a baton to strike them, simulating a physical altercation. The records showed that because Bomba had been struck in the shoulder, he developed an abrasion.
That minor abrasion would change his life.
When the officer woke up, he noticed pain in his arm. He went to Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center in Rockville and was prescribed some minor painkillers to help manage the discomfort.
A week later, it was much worse. Bomba began noticing that the abrasion on his shoulder had turned into an open sore. When he went back to the medical center, doctors told him that he was experiencing septic shock from the flesh-eating disease, necrotizing fasciitis.
“He was admitted to the intensive care unit and underwent ventilatory support and aggressive intravenous hydration,” medical records showed.
Once the medical center realized the severity of Bomba’s condition, they transferred him to the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore to undergo an emergency surgery, where doctors placed a catheter into his brain and removed damaged and infected tissue from his arm. While he was hospitalized, Bomba suffered three heart attacks.
UPDATE: Many Montgomery County officers have placed black mourning bands on their badges and across the department emblem on their cruisers.
This is in memory of Officer Thomas J. Bomba who took his own life Monday. Funeral service information will be released when available. pic.twitter.com/8rb1nxeuyD
— Kevin Lewis (@ABC7Kevin) October 16, 2019
Over the next few months the officer had to undergo more medical procedures to remove damaged tissue from the shoulder, reportedly contracting other infections during his fight.
He was eventually released, but the pain didn’t stop. Bomba continued to express discomfort in his shoulder, but it also had spread into his neck and down his back into his buttocks.
“He cannot sleep on the shoulder; shoulder pain wakes him up at night. The pain is increased with pushing, pulling, heavy lifting… The arm gets fatigued very easily,” a doctor’s notes read. “Tingling sensation in both feet, especially with prolonged standing, walking, going up and down the stairs and any kind of strenuous physical activity.
Because of the complications, Bomba was unable to perform his regular duties at work. His inability to move around like he used to caused him to gain weight. His problems from the original infection continued to grow, causing him to experience sleep apnea, forgetfulness and even a “very low testosterone level”.
Eventually, Bomba turned to the department for help. The way he saw it, he had contracted his illness as a direct result of the training… and it was taking everything from him.
Frustrated, he filed worker’s compensation and disability claims against Montgomery County. The claims listed the long-lasting effects of the illness, including the fact that he’d gone through multiple surgeries, skin grafts and muscle transplants.
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The doctor’s records documented his claims.
“The neck has an unsightly tracheotomy scar. The buttock region is severely deformed due to extensive surgery to an infected area. This makes it painful for him to sit for a long time.”
Bomba laid out his case to the department.
“I have loss of strength, and range of motion in my right arm, pushing, pulling, definite loss of muscle because it was taken away,” Bomba reportedly said. “And, since it was replaced with a muscle flap from my back pulling it flexes at a very awkward time because it’s a different muscle, which makes… lifting weights and working out and that aspect difficult.”
ABC 7 said that despite digging through hundreds of pages of records, they were unable to figure out the result of the worker’s comp. and disability claims.
But cops that worked alongside Bomba said that he was different after that… making them wonder if it directly led to him taking his own life.
“He was just different after that,” said an unnamed officer. “I’ve done some research on septic shock, and it can cause brain damage and cognitive problems.”
Others say that he may have tried to stage his death to appear as though he was killed in the line of duty in order to make sure his family was properly taken care of.
Now, Bomba’s wife and children are awaiting Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich’s decision on the officer’s death.
A fellow officer from Montgomery County discovered 38-year-old Bomba severely wounded in a parking garage in downtown Silver Spring on October 14. 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.
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 is body cam, but it had not been activated at the time of the shooting, leaving investigators with little to go on.
Within 36 hours, it had been revealed that Bomba had taken his own life.
Bomba was laid to rest on Saturday at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg.
Rest in peace, Officer Bomba.
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