Police: Carjackings likely at end of Maryland shooting spree
ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) — Malcom Winffel’s family was not surprised to learn that he died in an effort to help others.
“He was always helping people,” said his sister, Pilar Winffel, of Columbia. “If a friend of a friend was moving, he would go and help.”
On Friday, the 45-year-old man was helping a woman in the parking lot of Montgomery Mall when police say he was shot and killed by Eulalio Tordil, 62, of Adelphi.
Tordil went on a nearly 24-hour shooting spree Thursday and Friday, authorities say, killing three people and wounding three others. Police say the spree began with a domestic motivation, with Tordil fatally shooting his estranged wife, Gladys Tordil, who had recently obtained a protective order against him. A bystander who tried to intervene was wounded.
They say it concluded with two more shooting scenes that were likely the result of botched carjackings.
On Saturday, police identified the two victims who died in the apparent botched carjackings. Police say Winffel was shot and killed — and his friend was wounded — as they sought to help a woman Tordil was attempting to carjack at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. Tordil later drove to a strip mall in Aspen Hill, where police say he fatally shot Claudina Molina, 65, of Silver Spring.
At a news conference Saturday night, Montgomery County Assistant Police Chief Russ Hamill said Winffel and his friend, who wasn’t identified, were coming to the carjacking victim’s aid when they were shot.
“Those two men acted selflessly and heroically, most likely saving her life,” Hamill said.
Hamill said Winffel’s friend, who was described Friday as being in grave condition, is “making progress. We remain hopeful he’ll survive.”
Hundreds of people attended a vigil remembering Winffel Saturday evening at Clarksburg High School, where his two children are enrolled. A gofundme page set up to help the family with funeral expenses and the kids’ college expenses had received nearly $30,000 in donations as of Saturday evening.
In an interview Saturday evening, Pilar Winffel said her brother had gone to the mall for lunch with a friend. Witnesses told her that her brother was shot as the woman under attack by Tordil spotted Winffel in the parking lot and ran toward him for help. Winffel was shot with his arms extended, reaching out to help the woman, Pilar said. She was told Tordil was smiling as he fired the shots.
At Saturday’s news conference, 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 that more testing is needed to confirm.
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, The Washington Post reported (http://wapo.st/1WOrwyg). Tordil subjected their children to “intense-military-like discipline,” like push-ups 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.
Tordil also got into trouble in 2008 — a report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s inspector general says that Tordil entered into a civil settlement and paid HUD nearly $16,000 after he obtained a $27,000 discount on a property through a federal program but failed to live up to the program rules, which required him to live in the property where he received the discount.
Hamill said Saturday that Tordil appeared to have purchased the Glock after being subject to the protective order.
Tordil is scheduled to make an initial court appearance Monday. The charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. Maryland abolished the death penalty in 2013.
All three shooting scenes occurred in public parking lots and in daylight hours, and comparisons to the 2002 D.C. sniper shootings leapt immediately to the minds of area residents. Tordil’s arrest took place just steps away from a Michaels craft store that was the first target of snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, who left 10 people dead during a three-week killing spree that paralyzed the region with fear.
Hamill said Saturday that he also thought immediately of the sniper shootings when he learned the location of the Aspen Hill shooting, but he believes it’s just a coincidence.
Associated Press contributors include Ben Nuckols, Jessica Gresko, Sarah Brumfield and Alex Brandon.