BETHESDA, Md. — A federal security officer suspected in three fatal shootings outside a high school, a mall and a supermarket in the Washington, D.C., area was arrested Friday, police said.
Eulalio Tordil, an employee of the Federal Protective Service, which provides security at federal properties, was taken into custody without incident near the supermarket, authorities said. The brief manhunt and seemingly indiscriminate shootings rekindled fears of the D.C. sniper in 2002, which paralyzed the nation’s capital and its suburbs.
Tordil was put on administrative duties in March after a protective order was issued against him in which his wife said he had threatened to harm her if she left him, The Washington Post reported . Tordil subjected their children to “intense-military-like discipline,” like push-ups and detention in a dark closet, Tordil’s wife said, according to the order.
Authorities said Tordil followed his 44-year-old wife Gladys to their children’s high school Thursday. As she waited in an SUV in the parking lot of High Point High, Tordil confronted her and shot her. He also shot and wounded a man who tried to intervene.
The shooting happened more than an hour after school, and no students were harmed.
On Friday morning, about 15 miles from school, police responded to a shooting at the Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. One person was initially shot and two others may have been shot coming to that person’s aid, Montgomery County Police Assistant Chief Darryl McSwain said. There was no reason to believe the victims knew the shooter, he said.
A man died and another one was in critical condition, Montgomery County police spokesman Capt. Paul Starks said. A woman had injuries that were not life-threatening.
About a half an hour later, police were called to a shooting at a Giant Food store in Aspen Hill, about 5 miles away. Police later tweeted that a woman died in that shooting.
Around 3 p.m., Tordil was taken into custody near the grocery store.
“I don’t know if he was hiding out,” Starks said. “That’s where we located him and that’s where he was arrested without incident.”
An Associated Press photographer saw Tordil being searched and taken into custody in a shopping mall adjacent to the Giant. A car matching the description of the one that authorities said they were searching for, a silver Hyundai with Pennsylvania plates, was parked at the center.
The grocery store in Aspen Hill is a few hundred feet from a Michaels craft store that was first target by D.C. sniper John Allen Muhammad. Muhammad’s shot into the store did not hit anyone, but he killed a man about a mile away less than an hour later, kicking off a three-week killing spree that left 10 dead.
For a time, all Montgomery County schools were sheltering in place at the request of police, but after Tordil was taken into custody, the order was lifted.