A Maryland man accused of killing three people in a shooting rampage lost his eyeglasses during a scuffle with his final victim as he tried to carjack her SUV, prosecutors said Monday, an occurrence that helped contribute to his capture.
Without his glasses, Eulalio Tordil, 62, couldn’t see well enough to drive any distance, prosecutors said, and parked in a lot near his alleged final attack where a patrol officer noticed his license plate from a lookout report and alerted a law enforcement team that swarmed and arrested Tordil.
On Monday, a Montgomery County Court judge ordered Tordil, of Adelphi, held without bond until his preliminary hearing June 3. Tordil, an officer with the Federal Protective Service since 1997, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and multiple firearm charges in connection with Friday’s shootings in Montgomery. The attacks began Thursday in Prince George’s County where Tordil is accused of fatally shooting his estranged wife as she waited to pick up her daughters outside a Beltsville high school. They ended Friday in Montgomery in what authorities said were attempted carjackings at a mall and outside a supermarket in the course of the manhunt.
The rampage left three people dead and three wounded, some of them bystanders who tried to come to the aid of those Tordil is accused of shooting.
During his initial court appearance on Monday, Tordil appeared via closed-circuit TV. When asked, Tordil stated his name and responded “yes” when asked if he could hear the proceedings. Tordil stood with his head down as Montgomery State’s Attorney John McCarthy and Tordil’s public defender discussed the details of the case. Tordil’s attorneys did not oppose holding the man without bond at this time.
The .40-caliber Glock used in the Montgomery shootings, prosecutors said Monday, was purchased legally by Tordil in 2014 in Las Vegas.
As of Monday, authorities were looking for other weapons belonging to Tordil, including a Smith & Wesson, McCarthy said after the hearing.
A cache of guns and Tordil’s service weapon already had been removed from him after his wife, Gladys, 44, obtained a protective order against him in March, authorities have said.
The recent protective order in Prince George’s included allegations that Tordil physically abused his two stepdaughters and his wife over 10 years. It detailed the personal arsenal that Tordil’s wife said she was aware of, and listed .40- and .45-caliber handguns, an M4, a revolver and a “hunting gun.”
Tordil’s superiors at the Federal Protective Service took his gun and badge as a result of the protective order and put him on administrative duty.
The weapons listed in the order were confiscated, said John Erzen, a spokesman for the Prince George’s state’s attorney’s office. On Monday, Erzen said that if the .40-caliber Glock was purchased before the protective order, “how it didn’t get confiscated, we don’t know. That is part of the investigation. The deputies took all the guns listed in the protective order, minus his service weapon.”
A protective order is a civil proceeding, which would not trigger a police investigation, said Dorothy Lennig, the director of the legal clinic at House of Ruth in Maryland, a nonprofit that helps families struggling with domestic violence. Someone seeking to bring a criminal case would have to either file a criminal complaint with a court commissioner or directly contact police to trigger an investigation.
The House of Ruth helped Gladys Tordil with her protective order, but Lennig said she couldn’t speak to the specifics of the case for confidentiality reasons. “She did the steps that we would encourage her to do,” Lennig said.
Ruth Glenn, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said protective orders or restraining orders rarely trigger criminal investigations. A judge could decide if there is imminent danger or real threat of physical harm, she said, but law enforcement doesn’t automatically get involved solely based on an order of protection.
The review of Tordil’s weapons continued as added details of the shootings in Montgomery emerged.
It was during a scuffle with Claudina Molina, 65, who was fatally shot outside the Giant supermarket in Aspen Hill on Friday, that Tordil lost his glasses and a magazine from his .40-caliber handgun, prosecutors said.
Molina was shot inside the SUV that Tordil tried to take, police have said previously.
Unable to see well enough to drive any distance without his glasses, Tordil drove across the street from the Giant, went inside a Dunkin’ Donuts for a cup of coffee and then went inside the Boston Market for lunch, prosecutors and charging documents allege. He was arrested after returning to his car, which police rammed to prevent his exit.
Before the shooting at Giant, Tordil allegedly shot and killed Boyds resident Malcom Winffel, 45, who had come to the aid of a woman at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda whose SUV Tordil also was attempting to take, prosecutors said. That woman and another man trying to help her were wounded.
Police in Prince George’s have charged Tordil with first-degree murder and related charges in connection with the slaying of his estranged wife, a high school chemistry teacher. He also is charged in Prince George’s with assault for allegedly shooting and wounding a bystander who had come to his wife’s aid.
If convicted in the Montgomery case, Tordil faces a maximum of life without parole, said McCarthy, the Montgomery state’s attorney.
McCarthy said that Thursday evening through Friday morning, Tordil drove — with his cellphone off — through Maryland and parts of Virginia before driving to Montgomery Mall at about 11 a.m.Years ago, Tordil lived near the mall, which is one reason, McCarthy said, he drove to the area during the shootings.
Before his arrest on Friday, police had found numerous notes written by Tordil that they said were suicide notes. “He thought he would be killed in a shootout with police,” McCarthy said. Instead, after police with their weapons drawn confronted him outside the Boston Market, Tordil surrendered peacefully. The .40-caliber handgun was found inside his vehicle, police said.
Tordil had an extensive background in law enforcement, McCarthy said. In addition to his work with the Federal Protective Service, he previously worked security for the National Institutes of Health.