County Police Identify Suspect, Officer in Yesterday’s Shooting

The county’s Police Department has released the names of the officer and the victim involved in yesterday’s fatal shooting following an armed bank robbery in Silver Spring.

The suspect has been identified as Mikyas Mehary Tegegne, age 31, of no fixed address, according to a press release.

The officer involved in the shooting was identified as Christopher LaPointe, currently assigned to the 3rd District’s Patrol Services Bureau.

The robbery took place at the BB&T Bank at 1100 Wayne Ave. shortly before 11 a.m. The suspect approached the bank’s manager, claimed to have a bomb, displayed a gun in his waistband and demanded $20,000, said Assistant Chief Marcus Jones, chief of Investigative Services in a media briefing yesterday.

“The bank manager got up, walked over to the teller line where the panic button was pressed, at which point in time, the 911 system was alerted,” Jones said.

The caller to 911 provided a description of events and Tegegne, who fled without any money.

“An officer responding to the bank robbery located the suspect in a parking garage behind the bank building as the suspect was attempting to flee from the area,” according to a department press release. “During the confrontation, the suspect was shot by the police officer. Officers attempted life-saving measures at the scene.”

Members of the county’s Fire & Rescue Services then took Tegegne to Holy Cross Hospital, where he died, Jones said.

A number of streets in the area were closed while the county’s Fire and Explosive Investigative Unit examined the backpack and found no explosives; Tegegne’s handgun was recovered from him.

LaPointe, described as a two-and-a-half-year veteran of the department, has been placed on paid administrative leave while detectives from the Major Crimes Division investigate the incident.

Those detectives believe that Tegegne also committed a robbery at the Sandy Spring Bank, located at 8401 Colesville Rd., on Dec. 24, the department said.

Once the investigation, which the department said will review all available video footage, including officers’ body-worn camera footage, is complete, the findings will be submitted to the Howard County’s State’s Attorney’s Office for review, per standard procedure.

Councilmember Will Jawando (D-At Large) on Tuesday introduced a bill that would change how investigations are conducted when a county police officer is involved in the death of an individual.

Bill 1-19, Police Officer Involved Death—Independent Investigation, also known as the Law Enforcement Trust and Transparency Act, would require the county to engage at least two experienced investigators from an independent law enforcement entity to handle any investigation of the case.

The Major Crimes Division also asks anyone who has information related to this case to call 240.773.5070 (callers may remain anonymous).

Screenshot of Jones’ media briefing from police department’s Twitter feed.

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