court order came 3 times in 5 years
The Prince George’s County sheriff’s office attempted for weeks to track down Tyndell but he consistently eluded law enforcement, at one point avoiding going to work knowing he could be apprehended at his job as a Metro mechanic, said Col. Darrin C. Palmer, chief assistant sheriff for Prince George’s County.
Deputies had visited his home and a second address for him three times, conducted surveillance and were working with Tyndell’s estranged wife in an attempt to serve a protective order and three arrest warrants related to the couple’s domestic disputes, Palmer said.
Over the weekend, deputies had gotten in touch via phone with Tyndell, 37, who said he was going to turn himself in on Tuesday.
Tyndell didn’t show.
The next morning, police said, he killed Cpl. Mujahid Ramzziddin, 51, who was shot five times with a shotgun as the off-duty officer attempted to intervene in a domestic disturbance between Tyndell and his estranged wife, who lives in the officer’s Brandywine, Md., neighborhood.
“He was being evasive and he was taking particular steps to avoid going to the places where we would logically be able to find him,” Palmer said. “My own folks are upset that they were working this case and he ends up doing this.”
Funeral services for Ramzziddin are scheduled to begin 12:30 p.m. Friday at the Diyanet Center of America in Lanham, Md., with speeches and eulogies taking place at the police union’s lodge in Upper Marlboro after the burial service concludes.
Ramzziddin was remembered as a model public servant and hero as more details of Tyndell’s troubling past emerged Thursday in court records. Divorce filings and criminal complaints describe a man who had repeatedly been violent toward his spouses and children, and had anger-management issues.
Court records show troubles escalating in late January between Tyndell and his estranged wife and that they were living apart. Tyndell’s estranged wife filed paperwork in court accusing him of stealing her spare car key and important financial and personal documents, including her passport and Social Security card, after she had filed an earlier protective order alleging assault.
Tyndell’s estranged wife said in the January court filing that he was afraid she would leave the country and he agreed to return her documents.
Roughly a month later, she described what she said was his violent reaction after a Valentine’s Day incident in which the couple discussed their separation.
“Glenn went down to basement and flipped the couch and began to charge at my son,” Tyndell’s wife wrote in another protective order request. He accused her of cheating, accusations that are not substantiated in court filings, and she told the court that he grabbed her phone and threw it before pushing her into a wall.
Two days later, on Feb. 16, a temporary protective order was granted and a hearing was set for a Feb. 26.
Judge Katina S. Steuart specifically ordered Tyndell to hand in his firearms to the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office. Such orders do not automatically apply when protective orders are temporary.
The law requires the subject to immediately surrender all firearms, if the sheriff serves the protective order in person. If the protective order is mailed, the subject is required to arrange a time to surrender the firearms to the sheriff.
The Feb. 16 order also removed Tyndell from the home the couple shared on Chadsey Lane in Brandywine and gave his estranged wife temporary custody of their 2-year-old son.
The temporary protective order was still in effect Wednesday as Tyndell drove to the neighborhood where he once lived with his wife. The locks on the home were being changed, police said.
Tyndell’s wife had requested a law enforcement presence Wednesday morning while she collected items from the couple’s home, Palmer said. But the sheriff’s office typically conducts such “domestic standbys” in the latter stages of a final protective order when ordered by a judge. Tyndell’s wife, who was still on a temporary protective order, was told to apply for a judge’s order that would allow her to enter the home in the presence of law enforcement, Palmer said.
Tyndell’s wife then asked Ramzziddin for help as she was attempting to collect belongings from their home, police said, and the off-duty officer agreed to be present, bringing his gun and radio. Suddenly Tyndell emerged from between two homes and shot at Ramzziddin five times, police said.
He took Ramzziddin’s service weapon and fled in a black SUV before he was shot and killed in a confrontation with officers, police said. Ramzziddin’s police-issued gun was recovered and it showed that shots had been fired from it, said police officials.
On Thursday, police identified the officers who fired and struck Tyndell as Luke Allen and Channing Reed. Allen has worked for the department eight years and Reed six. Both have been placed on routine administrative leave pending an investigation of the shooting.
Marcus Dillard, 33, an electrician at Metro, said he could not believe that the man police say shot and killed Ramzziddin was the same man he worked with over the years.
“That’s not his character, the guy I know,” Dillard said. “He struck me as a family man. That was his life right there, family, family, family.”
Separately, last summer Prince George’s County Judge Herman C. Dawson entered a final protective order for Tyndell’s ex-wife that was still in effect and extended through July 2018.
The judge found by a “preponderance of the evidence” that Tyndell had stalked his ex-wife and barred Tyndell from threatening, harassing or contacting her, in addition to the order to relinquish his guns.
Under federal law, people convicted of domestic violence and subject to court protective orders for threatening a partner or child are prohibited from having firearms.
If Tyndell had not turned over his firearms, the sheriff’s office was “supposed to come after him,” said Dorothy Lennig, director of the legal clinic at the House of Ruth Maryland, a nonprofit that provides services for victims of domestic violence.
Palmer said typically when deputies are serving protective orders or arrest warrants, they only have the authority to demand the surrender of listed weapons ordered by the court. If the suspect doesn’t surrender the weapons listed by the court, deputies go back to the court to request a search warrant.
“There is not language there that says they may be forcibly taken” without a search warrant, Palmer said.
Rob Valente, a domestic violence policy expert, said there are not enough officers on call at every moment to seize firearms in such cases.
“Everybody is in an impossible situation because the system is broken. There are not enough resources,” Valente said. “A lot of law enforcement officers I work with try so hard, but they are given an impossible number of cases to handle.”
The funeral for Rammzzidin will honor the officer’s life and work within the tenets of his Muslim faith, Prince George’s Police Chief Hank Stawinski said Thursday. The service and the public display of support from departments all over the country will be briefer than the hours-long ceremonies many citizens are accustomed to seeing because of the timeline for the religious services.
Ramzziddin, a father of four, an only son and a husband, was a 14-year veteran of the police force and a former Marine. He was lauded as “exceptional” by the head of the Northwest Washington mosque where he had worshipped for about eight years.
Ramzziddin served his faith community on the safety and security committee, as a volunteer for Boy Scout Troop 1517 and on the Muslim-American veterans group, said said Imam Talib Shareef of the Nation’s Mosque.
“I wasn’t surprised when I heard he was killed trying to protect someone,” Shareef said. “Our faith says if you save someone, the value is that you saved a whole people. He’s saved his own soul.”
Faiz Siddiqui, Ellie Silverman and Justin Jouvenal contributed to this report.