ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) — A federal security officer charged with killing three people, including his estranged wife, in a shooting rampage in a Maryland suburb of the nation's capital was ordered held without bond on Monday.
Eulalio Tordil of Adelphi, an employee of the Federal Protective Service, appeared in court by video Monday afternoon in Rockville, Maryland. He faces charges including first-degree murder.
A public defender representing him conceded it wasn't realistic to ask for Tordil to be released.
In court, Montgomery County State's attorney John McCarthy called Tordil "very tough to track" following the shooting of his wife. He was driving a rental car and had turned off his cell phone. McCarthy said the weapon Tordil used had been purchased before a protective order that required him to turn in any firearms and should have been turned over to law enforcement.
McCarthy said Tordil's glasses were knocked off him in a struggle with the victim at the grocery store and that he may have stayed in that area because he couldn't see to drive.
Police say the shootings began Thursday when Tordil, 62, fatally shot his estranged wife Gladys, a chemistry teacher, in a high school parking lot. A bystander was wounded.
Authorities say the shootings continued Friday at two other parking lots, one outside Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, and the other at a shopping center about 5 miles away. Police said those shootings, including one in which two other people were wounded, were likely botched carjackings.
In the mall parking lot, charging documents allege, a woman returned to her silver Toyota RAV4 to find a car parked awkwardly close to hers. The driver got out, blocked her way to her door and asked if it was her car. When she replied that it was, he pointed a gun at her and said, "I'm not kidding. I will shoot you," the documents state. The armed man followed her and when she yelled for help, two men approached, and the man shot the men and her, documents state. The woman said she closed her eyes and didn't move to avoid antagonizing the shooter.
About a half hour later, an officer responding to a report of shots fired in a shopping center in Aspen Hill, found another woman shot inside her RAV4 in the parking lot near a supermarket, charging documents state. She was pronounced dead on the scene.
A friend of the Tordils said in an interview Sunday evening that he saw the couple as recently as three weeks ago and was not aware they had any troubles. Gary Cochran of Sterling, Virginia, said Eulalio Tordil, who attended high school with his wife, was "always smiling and very polite."
Cochran said he and his wife "can't believe this is the person we invited into our home."
Police identified the two people who died in Friday's shootings as 45-year-old Malcom Winffel of Boyds, one of the two men shot while trying to help the woman shot in the mall parking lot, and 65-year-old Claudina Molina of Silver Spring, the woman fatally shot in the supermarket parking lot.
Winffel and a friend, who wasn't identified, were both shot. His friend and the woman they were trying to help were both wounded.
"He was always helping people," Pilar Winffel of Columbia said of her brother. "If a friend of a friend was moving, he would go and help."
At a news conference Saturday night, Montgomery County Assistant Police Chief Russ Hamill said Tordil spoke to investigators a little about the shootings. "I would not describe him as being remorseful," Hamill said.
Hamill said a search of Tordil's car uncovered a .40-caliber Glock handgun that was used in Friday's shootings. Hamill said police believe it also was used in Thursday's shooting of Gladys Tordil but more testing is needed to confirm.
When officers arrested Tordil near the second shooting scene, charging documents state that he told them the gun was in the car and there was "nobody in the trunk," just a golf bag.
Tordil, a federal security officer employed by the Federal Protective Service, was put on administrative duties in March after a protective order was issued against him when his wife said he had threatened to harm her if she left him. Tordil subjected their children to "intense-military-like discipline," such as pushups and detention in a dark closet, according to the order.
The protective service said Tordil's weapon, badge and credentials were taken when he was placed on leave.
Cochran said he had no idea about the protective order, and never suspected any domestic problems.
"I just saw a beautiful family," he said, adding that Tordil never mentioned the action taken against him at work.
The charges against Tordil carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. Maryland abolished the death penalty in 2013.