This story was updated at 5:08 p.m. with additional details and at 5:40 p.m. with a statement from the police union. It also was updated at 7:55 p.m. with additional information from Gaithersburg Police Chief Mark Sroka. it was updated again at 10:50 a.m. April 15, 2021, to include information from a police spokesman.
Gaithersburg police said officers at an apartment complex on Wednesday heard a gunshot from a balcony “in the vicinity” while they responded to a traffic call.
The shot set off a heavy response from multiple departments, because of the possibility that the gunshot was aimed at the officers.
However, Gaithersburg Police Chief Mark Sroka said during a press conference it was not clear if the officers were “fired upon.”
Sroka told reporters that Gaithersbug officers got a call around 3 p.m. Wednesday about a blocking a driveway access road to Spring Ridge Apartments at 392 N. Summit Ave.
While two officers were talking to the driver of the vehicle, who they think was impaired, Sroka said, they heard a gunshot from the top-floor balcony.
“The officers immediately took cover, radioed for additional assistance …,” Sroka said.
Sroka said Gaithersburg and Montgomery County officers responded. No one was struck by gunfire or otherwise injured, he said.
Gaithersburg police asked those who live in the 300 block of North Summit Avenue to shelter in place while officers search for the shooter, but the shelter in place guideline was later lifted.
“As soon as we complete the search, we will be notifying the public in regard to the outcome of that search,” Sroka said.
Officer Dan Lane, a Gaithersburg police spokesman, wrote in an email to Bethesda Beat on Thursday morning that there was “no new information” available about the incident but there is no “ongoing threat to the community.”
Police previously posted about the shooting on Twitter, but gave few details. An initial tweet from Montgomery County police said: “As officers responded to call, reported being shot at from higher elevation.”
Sroka said police are investigating whether the officers were targeted.
He said he watched body-worn camera footage, and “could not conclusively” say that the officers were “fired upon,” although it’s possible they were.
After the initial report that officers were “shot at,” Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35, the union that represents Montgomery County officers, posted on Facebook: “Praying for our members, fellow officers of GPD and the residents of MoCo. This is in addition to our member who was assaulted yesterday at the transit center in 6D. It’s a dangerous time right now in MoCo. We need elected leaders to stand up for law enforcement, not defund/dismiss us.”
When asked about the union’s statement, Sroka said that in general, officers have been put in danger before, but he wanted to focus on Wednesday’s events.
“I’m here and know what’s happening with this incident. That tweet that you received from the union, I don’t believe they’re here on the scene,” he said.
Gaithersburg High School Principal Cary Dimmick posted on Twitter that the school’s athletic practices were cut shot and the home soccer game on Wednesday evening was canceled.
Staff writer Caitlynn Peetz contributed to this story.
Dan Schere can be reached at email@example.com