(Montgomery County Police Department, Maryland)
On September 1, 2010, a suicide bomber entered the Discovery Channel’s Silver Spring, Maryland headquarters. The bomber proceeded to fire five shots into the air and took a security guard and two employees hostage. Officer Edward Paden, off duty at the time, responded to the scene. Officer Paden was one of the first officers on scene and joined other officers to confront the bomber at the front lobby. He and the other officers positioned themselves behind pillars located just yards away from the lobby’s front glass. As the event quickly unfolded, the officers recognized that hostages had been taken, and that the bomber was armed with firearms and several improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Officer Paden realized that the other officers needed to position themselves behind the bomber so he would not be able to make his way further into the building. With no regard for his own safety, Officer Paden ran within feet of the windows of the front lobby, exposing himself to the view of the suspect. Office Paden then moved to a location directly behind the suspect where he took up a tactical advantage position.
Officer Paden was by himself, his portable radio was losing power, and his location only afforded him concealment from the suspect, not cover from gunfire or the IEDs. Once he took up this position, there was a second report of another suspect in the building armed with a machine gun. While keeping his shotgun on the suspect, and attempting to conceal his position, Officer Paden was able to broadcast information about the suspect’s description, his weapons, the IEDs, and his activities in the lobby. He also advised a route for officers to travel into the building.
Once sufficient SWAT officers were on scene, Officer Paden joined a third entry team, made up of patrol officers, who began to search and clear the remainder of the building. Those officers located five employees hiding in the building and determined that no other hostile subjects were present. The event ended when the hostages attempted escape, the suspect attempted to detonate one of his IEDs, and SWAT entered the lobby, shooting and killing the suspect. Much of the success of this operation began when Officer Paden entered the building and sealed off access by the suspect to other Discovery employees. His actions are in the highest tradition of this agency.