The Montgomery County Circuit Court building. Credit: Matt McDonald

A man was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge on Wednesday after Montgomery County police say he shot at a vehicle and several businesses in downtown Silver Spring last year.

John Tomlinson, now 30, saw an impaired driver hit his friend’s parked vehicle on Mayor Lane just after 2 a.m. on Dec. 13, 2021, according to police. Tomlinson’s friend got into a fight with the driver and Tomlinson ran to get a handgun from another vehicle and returned to the scene.

Tomlinson then fired nine shots, which struck the vehicle, street signs and at least five businesses on nearby Bonifant Street, according to police. No one was injured.

Police used video from a Tesla parked nearby to identify Tomlinson, according to authorities. He was arrested the following month and charged with attempted murder.

On Aug. 25, Tomlinson pleaded guilty to one count each of attempted second-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office. On Wednesday, Judge Chris Fogleman sentenced him to 30 years in prison with all but 15 suspended. Tomlinson also must serve five years of probation after he is released.

State’s Attorney John McCarthy said in a statement that the owner of the Tesla provided information about the case, which was helpful.


“When we have a case like this where someone came forward to share evidence and enabled us to hold the defendant accountable for putting lives in danger, it’s a great message,” he said.

Tomlinson’s attorney, Howard Cheris, could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

Dan Schere can be reached at