WASHINGTON Police arrested a man on Friday suspected in three shootings over two days in the Washington, D.C. suburbs that killed three, wounded three and revived memories of the "Beltway sniper" attacks of 2002.
Eulalio Sevilla Tordil, 62, a police officer with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, was arrested near the shopping centre where the second of Friday's two shootings took place, police said.
He had been suspected of killing his wife and shooting a bystander on Thursday in Prince George's County, Maryland.
When a pair of shootings broke out in neighbouring Montgomery County on Friday, investigators turned their attention to Tordil, who had threatened to commit "suicide by cop," police said.
The first of Friday's incidents began with a confrontation in a parking lot at Westfield Montgomery Mall in affluent Bethesda, Maryland, where two men and a woman were shot, police said.
One of the men died, the other was in critical condition, and the woman's life was not considered in danger, said Assistant Chief Darryl McSwain of Montgomery County police.
The second shooting took place about half an hour later, killing a woman at the Aspen Hill Shopping Center in Silver Spring, some 8 miles (13 km) away.
Bethesda and Silver Spring are suburbs of Washington in Montgomery County, which neighbours Prince George's County.Tordil was an officer with Federal Protective Service and was known to carry a handgun, police said.
The victim of Thursday's shooting at High Point High School was Tordil's estranged wife, Gladys, who taught chemistry at another school nearby. Her daughters, Grace and Nikki, were students at High Point and their mother was picking them up when she was shot.
"We do have reason to believe that this incident, the one in Aspen Hill, potentially the one also in Prince George's County, in High Point, was in fact related," McSwain said.
Authorities had temporarily locked down 14 schools near Friday's shooting sites and all of the county's recreational facilities as a precaution.
Tordil was on leave, having surrendered his gun and badge, after his wife obtained a protective order to keep him away, an official with the service said.
The three-week Beltway sniper ordeal rattled Washington and its suburbs until John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, who was 17 at the time, were captured. Malvo was sentenced to life and Muhammad, a Gulf War veteran, was executed in 2009.
(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales, Ian Simpson, Barbara Goldberg, Joseph Axe and Gina Cherelus; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Bill Trott)
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Updated Date: May 07, 2016 01:46 AM