A federal security worker recently placed on administrative leave was arrested after shooting dead three people— including his estranged wife— in three separate incidents in 24 hours, police said.
Eulalio Tordil was taken into custody on Friday after he allegedly spent the afternoon at an Aspen Hills shopping center, eating in a Boston Market for about an hour and dipping into neighboring businesses, including a Dunkin Donuts, cops said.
Plainclothes officers decided to not move in immediately when they spotted him in the Dunkin Donuts due to safety concerns, Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger said at a press conference Friday.
“Knowing that the suspect was armed, knowing that the suspect had made statements about what he intended to do, we needed to make sure the public was safe when we took him into custody,” Manger said of the decision to keep him under surveillance until officers felt it was safe to apprehend him.
Manger would not specify what statements Tordil had allegedly made, but said that officials believed he may have wanted a shootout to occur.
Tordil allegedly followed his former wife Gladys, 44, to the parking lot of High Point High School in Beltsville, Maryland, a suburb outside Washington, D.C., on Thursday afternoon and confronted the woman as she sat in her SUV, police said.
The woman, who was waiting for her children, was shot several times after an argument with the 62-year-old suspected gunman allegedly escalated, Prince George’s County Police said.
He is also accused of shooting a bystander who tried to intervene and help Gladys Tordil, cops said. The Good Samaritan was taken to a local hospital with a shoulder wound and is expected to survive.
Classes had been out for about an hour when the shooting occurred, but some students had remained in the building for after-school activities, officials said.
No students were injured, but some may have witnessed the shooting, which was also captured on surveillance video. A crisis team was at the school Friday to provide support for those who need it.
"When situations unfold like this it takes some time even for us to know what's happening," said Kevin Maxwell, CEO of Prince George's County Public Schools at a press conference.
Tordil fled the scene and went on to shoot four others— two fatally— in two additional shootings in the Maryland area, police said. It is unclear if Tordil knew the other victims.
On Friday morning, he allegedly opened fire outside the Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, killing one man and wounding two others. He then allegedly moved on to a Giant grocery store in the same area, where he is accused of fatally shooting another woman as she sat in her car just 20 minutes later.
The man wounded in the mall shooting is in critical condition, Montgomery County Police Captain Paul Starks said.
All schools in Montgomery County had been ordered to shelter-in-place and the county's recreation centers were placed on lockdown following the shootings.
Tordil was being held at Montgomery Police headquarters, officials said.
He is expected to be formally charged on Friday, Maryland States Attorney John McCarthy said. He will then be brought before a Maryland Commissioner on the charges before appearing in open court for his arraignment at 1 p.m. Monday, McCarthy said.
“The events today unfolded very, very rapidly,” he said.
Authorities said Tordil works for Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service, which provides services for federal buildings. He was put on administrative duties after Gladys Tordil had received a no-contact order in March as part of a domestic violence case, officials said.
Tordil was ordered to remove his duty weapon, badge and credentials and was subsequently put on administrative leave, the FPS said.
“This was a sad, sad event,” Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski III said.
Friends and family took to social media to mourn Gladys Tordil, shocked that the beloved Parkdale High School chemistry teacher was so violently killed.
“It breaks my heart because you were such a good person and you shouldn’t have gone like that,” one mourner wrote on Facebook.
Loved ones created a GoFundMe page to raise money for Gladys Tordil’s children, who are said to be two daughters in their senior year of high school preparing to head off to college next year.
“Their situation has changed since they have no family in the U.S since their family currently all resides in the Philippines,” a friend wrote on Facebook. “Mrs. Tordil was her daughters’ primary financial support system.”