ESSEX, Md. (WJZ) — A 21-year veteran of the police force took his own life inside a Baltimore County high school Monday, triggering a large police response and putting the school on lockdown.
According to the Baltimore County police, the school resource officer died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside his office at Eastern Tech High School in Essex.
Authorities have identified him as Officer Joseph Comegna.
A school resource officer in title, but to some students, he was much more.
“He was genuinely a kind person and you wouldn’t think there would be anything wrong,” said Eastern Tech High School sophomore Gilliam Robles.
Robles was in class Monday when word first spread that Comegna had fatally shot himself in his office.
He said the tragedy unfolded about an hour after he had a brief exchange with Comegna in the halls.
“He smiled at me, he said his day was going good, and he asked me the same, but unfortunately we were in a rush so we really couldn’t exchange a conversation,” Robles
Teachers heard the sound, went to investigate and found the officer dead inside. They then called police around 12:23 p.m.
No one else was with the officer when the shooting occurred. They did review security footage.
The school was placed on lock down and students and staff sheltered in place until police arrived to investigate.
The officer was a school resource officer for 11 years, police said, and was assigned to Eastern Tech for four years.
The school dismissed students at 2:20 p.m.
No students or teachers were harmed.
From Chopper 13, a large police presence was seen at the school Monday as school buses lined up for dismissal.
Officers and others could be seen walking in and out of the school.
All afternoon and evening activities are cancelled at the school.
Police did say the SRO was wearing his body-cam, but they do not believe it was on, so there wouldn’t be any relevant footage to the incident.
Another police-involved crash occurred in Essex Monday, but officials said it was unrelated.
This story is developing stay with WJZ for the latest.