At 6:55 a.m., on Friday, March 27, 1981, Silver Spring Officer Philip Metz was just beginning his day work tour of duty when he was dispatched to the W. Bell and Co. store in White Oak to meet the manager and alarm company representative and assist in checking the interior of the building. Police had been dispatched earlier when the alarm was activated but found the building secure. At 7:06 a.m., Officer Metz arrived at the store and met David Myers, the security employee, and Douglas Cummins, the assistant store manager. Together the three men entered the store. At 7:16 a.m., a backup officer arrived, found the building doors locked, and was then dispatched to another location to check out an alarm.
Meanwhile, the three men inside the store proceeded to the main office where Officer Metz entered first and was immediately accosted by one gunman who shot him in the head. A second gunman jumped out and shot the other two men in their chests. The wounded store manager was dragged inside the office and forced to open the safe. He was then handcuffed to a file cabinet, while the gunmen cleaned out the safe and fled. Although severely wounded, the store manager was able to get free and telephone for help. The time was 7:45 a.m. Officer Metz and the security man, David Myers, were pronounced dead on the scene. Mr. Cummins survived his wounds and later testified at the trial. A total of seven people were ultimately arrested, tried, and convicted. The 33-year-old officer was appointed to the department on May 1, 1972.