A federal security officer charged in three fatal shootings in Maryland lost his eyeglasses while struggling with his last victim and may not have been able to see well enough to drive away from the scene, authorities said during his first court appearance Monday.
Eulalio Tordil, 62, of Adelphi was silent during his court hearing, only saying his name when asked. He faces charges including first-degree murder.
A judge ordered that he be held without bond.
The shootings began Thursday when Tordil fatally shot his estranged wife Gladys, a chemistry teacher, in a high school parking lot, police said. A bystander was wounded.
After the shooting, Tordil turned off his cellphone and drove his rental car through Maryland and Virginia, Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy said Monday.
The shootings continued Friday at two other parking lots, one outside Montgomery Mall and the other at a shopping center. Police said those shootings were likely botched carjackings.
Prosecutors say Tordil struggled with the victim at the shopping center and lost his eyeglasses in the process. Police believe he couldn't see well enough to drive after that.
A friend of the Tordils said in an interview Sunday evening 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.''
The victims who died in Friday's shootings have been identified as Malcom Winffel, 45, of Boyds, and Claudina Molina, 65, of Silver Spring. Winffel was shot at the mall while coming to the aid of a woman, and Molina was shot outside a shopping center in Aspen Hill.
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. Police believe it also was used in Thursday's shooting of Gladys Tordil but more testing is needed to confirm, according to Hamill.
Investigators also found suicide notes in which Tordil predicted he would die in a shoot out with police, authorities said during Monday's court hearing.
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 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. The weapon Tordil used in Friday's shootings should have been surrendered when he became the subject of a protective order involving his estranged wife, McCarthy said.
Tordil's next court appearance is set for June 3.
The charges against Tordil carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. Maryland abolished the death penalty in 2013.