At about 11 a.m. on Friday, May 6, three people were shot in the Macy’s parking lot outside Montgomery Mall, leading to one fatality. Shortly thereafter, one person was fatally shot outside a Giant grocery store in Aspen Hill, prompting all MCPS schools to shelter in place per police recommendation.
62-year-old Eulalio Tordil, a Federal Protective Service employee, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder for his rampage on Friday, in addition to a first-degree murder charge for shooting his estranged wife at a Prince George’s County high school on Thursday, May 5.
WJ, located just one mile from Montgomery Mall, was put in a shelter in place around 11:15 a.m., just after many seniors left school to prepare for prom, which was held at the Bolger Center in Potomac that evening.
Senior Surya Radhakrishnan left school early to shop for last minute prom appointments at Montgomery Mall.
“I was at Macy’s and my friends texted me that they heard there was a shooting in the mall parking lot, but everyone at Macy’s was just acting normal,” Radhakrishnan said. “No one in the mall had any knowledge that there was a shooting going on.”
The employees at Macy’s did not appear concerned, which Radhakrishnan attributed to misinformation – including the rumor that the suspect had been arrested when, in fact, he had not yet been caught.
Radhakrishnan’s friend, senior Lynda Hu, was driving to the mall when she got word of the shooting.
“We were driving past the mall parking lot when we saw all these police cars,” Hu said.
Hu was planning to park in the Macy’s parking lot and missed the shooting by only a couple minutes because her friends took a long time to sign out of the building.
“The only reason I wasn’t there when it happened was because I had to wait for [my friends] to get into my car,” Hu said.
Hu immediately called Radhakrishnan, warning her about the news. Both Hu and Radhakrishnan arrived late to prom due to subsequent delays.
At WJ, sophomore Connor Phelps was finishing his AP U.S. History exam when Principal Jennifer Baker announced over the speakers that WJ was sheltering in place. While students are typically instructed to leave the building after taking an AP test, Phelps was unable to leave.
“They kept us in the cafeteria where all we could do was sit and wait until the shelter in place was lifted,” Phelps said. “The office ordered us pizza since most of us had not eaten lunch [yet].”
WJ’s shelter in place was lifted before the school day ended at 2:30 p.m., allowing most students to go home on time. Around the same time, Tordil was taken into custody.