Montgomery County authorities captured a 62-year-old federal police officer on Friday who is suspected in the shooting deaths of three people — including his estranged wife — and the wounding of three others in attacks in two counties over two days.
Eulalio Tordil, a Federal Protective Service officer from Adelphi, was arrested without incident just before 3 p.m. Friday at an Aspen Hill shopping center, where police say he patronized businesses after shooting a woman fatally outside a nearby Giant Food grocery store earlier in the day.
Witness James DeCarlo, 56, said he saw unmarked police vehicles ram Tordil's car, with officers jumping out and ordering him out of the vehicle at gunpoint. After what seemed like a few minutes, Tordil emerged with his hands up, DeCarlo said. He could be seen looking down at the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back.
Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger said Tordil was spotted by plainclothes officers who kept him under surveillance for an hour as he went from store to store in the Northgate Plaza Shopping Center. He visited a Dunkin' Donuts and ate at a Boston Market, authorities said.
"My officers had the well-being of the public in mind and kept him under surveillance and were ready to act if they needed to," Manger said. "Knowing his behavior today, and knowing of statements that he had made in the past, we did not want to endanger anyone and have a shootout when we took him into custody."
A flier circulated by Prince George's County police said Tordil had made previous statements about committing "suicide by cop," or wanting to be killed by police.
Less than an hour before the Giant shooting, three people were shot — at least one of them fatally — in a parking lot at the Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. One man was in grave condition and a woman suffered injuries that were not considered life-threatening.
Police knew of no links between Tordil and Friday's victims, who were not immediately identified.
The shootings began Thursday afternoon, when police say Tordil fatally shot his estranged wife, 44-year-old science teacher Gladys Tordil, in the parking lot of High Point High School in Beltsville as she picked up her children. A male bystander who tried to intervene was shot and wounded.
Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said officers worked through the night trying to locate Tordil and his vehicle, a rented silver sedan with Pennsylvania plates. He said they used phone-tracking and license plate reader technology, to no avail.
While thankful that Tordil was taken into custody without incident, he said it was "tragic we were not able to intervene before additional victims were harmed."
Prince George’s County Police said late Friday that Tordil has been charged with first-degree murder and related charges in connection with the shooting at High Point High School.
The shootings briefly recalled the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks, which paralyzed the Washington region as two gunmen shot random people in a series of incidents.
Amid a series of shootings in the Aspen Hill area in 2002, one of the gunmen, John Allen Muhammad, ate at the same Boston Market where authorities said Tordil had a meal before being taken into custody.
Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy said Tordil had lived in the area at one point, and he believed Tordil was there because the area was familiar.
The Friday incidents prompted a lockdown of all Montgomery County public schools.
Just before Tordil's arrest, a number of officers were investigating the crime scene at the Giant, where an unidentified woman was shot while sitting in her vehicle. Police, meanwhile, were briefing reporters at the Bethesda mall.
Word crackled across the police radio that a suspect was in custody, and officers rushed across the street from the Giant to the Northgate Plaza center. Tordil could be seen with his hands behind his back, the front of his shirt wet.
"Our fear was that he was armed," said Manger, explaining why officers waited before arresting him. "We certainly didn't want to have other bloodshed."
Theresa Doyle, 55, of North Carolina had dropped off her husband at the Dunkin' Donuts and was driving around the parking lot when she said she noticed Tordil's vehicle. She said she had seen news reports of the shootings, as well as broadcasts of his vehicle description.
"I just had this heavy fear come over me," Doyle recalled.
Suddenly, she saw officers surround the vehicle. Doyle, a retired Army veteran, said the scene "was like being in the military again."
Scott Kennedy, 54, who was at the Giant amid the police presence, said his wife had worked at a Papa John's whose windows had been shot out in 2002 during the sniper attacks, which they recalled as word of Friday's shootings spread.
Tordil worked as a law enforcement officer with the Federal Protective Service, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, which guards federal facilities.
In March, he was placed on administrative duty after his wife, Gladys Tordil, had a protective order issued against him, according to a Homeland Security official. His gun, badge and credentials were removed. Tordil was later placed on administrative leave, the official said.
Homeland Security officials would not comment on the record about Tordil.
According to the protective order obtained by The Washington Post, Gladys Tordil said Eulalio Tordil once slapped her so hard that her glasses broke on her face. She also said he subjected their children to "intense-military-like discipline," such as push-ups and detention in a dark closet.
Tordil's current address is an apartment in Adelphi, and he previously lived in Nevada, Arizona, California, Georgia and Northern Virginia, according to public records.
In front of the high-rise apartment complex where Tordil lives, resident Dion Williams, 50, said Friday that he was glad Tordil had been captured.
Williams had recognized Tordil's picture on television, from having seen him around the building, and was surprised, he said.
"He was always quiet," Williams said.
Williams said all the high school-age kids who live in the building go to High Point, where the first shooting occurred and where "everyone knows each other."
Williams said the school had counselors on hand Friday to talk to students, and his wife also talked to his 17-year-old daughter about what happened.
"I guess you never know who you talk to or run into or who your acquaintances are," he said. "It could be anybody."
Another neighbor, Carine Ndiforngwa, said she was shocked that the suspect lived in her building.
"It's really scary to think that you're living in a building with someone who could shoot someone," she said. "It's cold-blooded."
Baltimore Sun reporter Pamela Wood and the Associated Press contributed to this article.