2016 | Police & Fire

Gun Linked to Shopping Center Slayings Was Not Surrendered by Suspect after Protective Order Was Issued

Sherriff, gun policy expert say it would have been difficult to know suspect Eulalio Tordil possessed the gun that prosecutors say was purchased legally in Las Vegas

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Shooting suspect Eulalio Tordil

Prince George's County police

A Prince George’s County sheriff’s spokeswoman said Tuesday the department did not know shopping center shooting suspect Eulalio Tordil had other firearms that he didn’t turn over to sheriffs after being ordered to do so by a Prince George’s County judge in March.

Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Sharon Taylor said in an interview with Bethesda Beat that Tordil surrendered seven weapons after the protective order was issued to his estranged wife, Gladys Tordil, on March 17.

However, Tordil did not turn over a Glock .40 caliber hand gun that Montgomery County investigators believe was used in the shootings Friday that killed Malcom Winffel of Boyds and Claudina Molina of Silver Spring, and injured two others. Police said the shootings occurred as Tordil was attempting carjackings in parking lots at Westfield Montgomery mall and a Giant grocery store in Aspen Hill.

Tordil is also accused of gunning down Gladys Tordil in the parking lot of High Point High School in Beltsville on Thursday. The civil protective order was issued after Gladys Tordil detailed a decade of abuse by her husband that included subjecting her children to “intense military-like discipline,” physical abuse of her and child sexual abuse.

Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said Monday that Tordil, a federal police officer, purchased the Glock linked to the Montgomery County slayings legally in Las Vegas in 2014.

Taylor said that weapon was one of two that police later determined Tordil purchased outside of Maryland and did not surrender to authorities when the protective order was issued. She said he did turn over the two weapons registered to him in Maryland as well as five others, which were more than Gladys Tordil described in the protective order.

Normally when a protective order is issued the sheriff’s office checks the firearms surrendered to them against what the defendant claims the person has, Taylor said. In this case, Gladys Tordil reported that her husband possessed “revolvers, caliber 40, M4, caliber 45, etc.,” according to the protective order provided to Bethesda Beat by the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s office.

Line written by Gladys Tordil in the protective order listing the guns owned by Eulalio Tordil. 

Taylor said sheriffs could request a search warrant from a judge if they believe an individual had not turned over all their firearms after a protective order was issued. However, that was not done in this case because Tordil turned over weapons that matched his estranged wife’s description, the two registered to him in Maryland and additional firearms, according to Taylor.

“People turn in weapons all the time,” Taylor said. “Quite frankly, it’s unusual for people to turn in seven.”

Daniel Webster, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, said in an interview Tuesday that there’s no national registry of firearms for law officials to check—in fact, Congress has written into law that it can’t create a national registry of firearms or firearm owners. Because Tordil did not purchase the handgun in Maryland it wouldn’t have been listed in the state’s registry.

“I’m very impressed with Prince George’s County in that they recovered firearms he was prohibited from having,” Webster said. “They could only know about guns registered in his name in Maryland as well as his service weapon.”

McCarthy said Tordil did turn over his federally-issued service weapon after the protective order was issued.

Capt. Rodney Brown, of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, said sheriffs depend on victims to provide as much information as they can about the types of firearms a defendant owns when a protective order is issued.

“We can follow up with a jurisdiction, such as Virginia, if we know [a defendant] may have purchased firearms there,” Brown said. “But the only way we would know is if the petitioner or victim is aware of it. It is a difficult task.”