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Dead pregnant woman found in home of man accused of killing store clerk, police say

Torrey Moore has been charged in one of the cases in Montgomery County, Md.

Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones said a man charged in the killing of a gas station clerk had the body of a decomposed pregnant woman in his apartment. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

Police searching the apartment of a man suspected in the killing of a convenience store clerk in Maryland discovered the body of woman who is believed to have been eight months pregnant and dead for at least a month, officials said Friday.

Torrey Damien Moore, 31, was charged with first-degree murder in the initial case, when police say he walked into a Dash In convenience store at 2:58 p.m. Thursday in the White Oak section of Montgomery County, got into an altercation with a 61-year-old clerk and shot him several times in the chest.

Investigators who reviewed outdoor surveillance video saw Moore walking toward the nearby Enclave Silver Spring apartment buildings, according to court records, and eventually learned he lived there. A SWAT team was called in, police said, and on Friday morning burst into his apartment via a no-knock search warrant.

The tactical officers took Moore into custody without incident, according to Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones. He said officers found a handgun and the body of the dead woman on the floor.

“Her body is in an advanced stage of decomposition,” Jones said.

Jones said investigators still have a lot of work ahead to learn what happened and to confirm the woman’s identity. An autopsy of her body is expected Saturday.

Moore “gave us an idea of who she may be, but we don’t in fact know if that is her,” the chief said.

Moore told investigators he had been in a relationship with the woman “and there had been some type of fight between the two about one month prior that led to the victim becoming deceased,” Jones said.

Homicide reported at Montgomery County gas station, police say

Moore has not been charged in connection with her death. He was being held at the Montgomery County Detention Center without bond Friday and is expected to appear in court Monday, officials said.

It is unclear whether Moore has retained an attorney. His family members could not be reached for comment Friday.

Police identified the slain convenience store clerk as Ayalew Wondimu of Silver Spring.

Just after 3 p.m. Thursday, police were called to the Dash In at the corner of New Hampshire Avenue and Lockwood Drive. They found Wondimu on the floor behind the cash register counter, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Interior surveillance video showed a man, alleged to be Moore, enter the store just before 3 p.m.

“Moore selected a bottle of iced tea from the beverage cooler and approached the counter,” Jones said.

Video further showed that Moore and the clerk got into a verbal confrontation, at which point Moore began picking up items and throwing them at Wondimu. That prompted the clerk to pick up a metal pole from his side of the counter, police said, and to try to strike Moore.

Moore then backed up, took a silver handgun from his vest pocket, and fired at least one round at Wondimu, the chief said.

“Wondimu fell, at which point Moore — again senselessly — reached over the counter and fired multiple shots into Wondimu,” Jones said. “Moore grabbed the bottle of iced tea and he exited the store.”

Outdoor surveillance video showed Moore walk toward the Enclave, a collection of high-rise buildings, according to police. Investigators also reviewed video from the complex, which showed the same suspect entering one of the buildings.

Police showed images to an apartment building manager, who identified the suspect as Moore, according to police.

At the convenience store, a manager told investigators that the suspect “had previously caused other commotions in the store,” police said. When detectives showed the manager a driver’s license photograph of Moore, the manager identified him as the suspect.

Magda Jean-Louis and Alice Crites contributed to this report.

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