Baltimore County

Mother of Baltimore County officer injured by friendly fire says daughter expected to make full recovery

The mother of a Baltimore County police officer who was shot in the line of duty gave an update on her daughter’s condition and asked community members to “keep those prayers going.”

The officer, 13-year department veteran Tabitha Hays, was wounded in the upper body by friendly fire May 2 while police were responding to the home of 76-year-old Robert Uhl Johnson. Police said Johnson intended to commit “suicide by cop” when he lifted an unloaded handgun from his lap and pointed it at officers. Four officers opened fire killing Johnson.


Hays comes from a long line of police officers. Her mother, Bernadette DiPino — a fourth-generation officer — works as the police chief in Sarasota, Fla.

The Sarasota Police Department tweeted a video Tuesday evening of DiPino expressing appreciation for the support her family received in the wake of the shooting.


“I’m happy to report to you that she’s home and expected to make a full recovery,” DiPino said in the video. “I want to thank everyone for all of your thoughtfulness and prayers because they really have helped us during this horrific situation.”

DiPino previously served as chief of the Ocean City Police Department and started her career as a Baltimore County cop in 1985. After receiving the phone call “a mother never wants to receive” about her child, DiPino traveled to Maryland to be by her daughter’s side.

After news spread of her daughter’s injury, DiPino said members of the public sent an outpouring of hope and prayers through social media, phone calls, cards, flowers and gift baskets.

“On behalf of the DiPino family, on behalf of my daughter Tabitha, thank you so much and keep those prayers going,” DiPino said.

Baltimore Sun reporter Tim Prudente contributed to this article.