Bearcat bullet proof window saves life of Howard County police officer

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HOWARD COUNTY, MD – The thick glass on the police officer’s bearcat was the only thing that saved his life after two well-aimed shots would have hit him squarely in the head in any other patrol vehicle.  A military surplus acquisition saved the life of one lucky police officer.

Now, the man who shot the officer’s vehicle has been charged with the attempted murder of a police officer.

Howard County police have charged a Mt. Airy man with shooting out the driver’s side windshield of a police vehicle as it approached his home to serve a search warrant. Bulletproof glass prevented the shots from striking the officer who was driving the armored vehicle.


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Karl Tomanek, 34, of Shaffersville Rd., was charged with attempted first-degree homicide and numerous firearms charges. He is being held on no bond at the Howard County Detention Center.

After Tomanek fired the shots, officers did not return fire, instead giving immediate verbal commands to take him into custody. No one was injured.

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“Our community almost lost an officer yesterday,” said Police Chief Lisa Myers. “If not for the protection of the armored vehicle, this event would have ended very differently. After taking fire, these officers were able to resolve this very dangerous situation without injury, thanks to their outstanding training and judgement, as well as the critical equipment that saved their lives.”


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Police were approaching Tomanek’s residence Jan. 14 to serve a search warrant after identifying him as a suspect in an April burglary in which $25,000 of equipment was stolen. As police approached, Tomanek exited his residence with a shotgun and fired two shots directly at the driver of the vehicle. He was immediately taken into custody.

During the service of the search warrant at the house, police found multiple firearms and rounds of ammunition, which Tomanek had been previously prohibited from possessing. They also discovered evidence linking him to the April burglary and expect to file additional charges as the investigation continues.


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