Manhunt under way after 3 shootings in Washington

2016-05-06 22:32
A police officer marks evidence after a shooting outside Westfield Montgomery Mall parking lot in Bethesda. (Jose Luis Magana, AP)

A police officer marks evidence after a shooting outside Westfield Montgomery Mall parking lot in Bethesda. (Jose Luis Magana, AP)

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Bethesda - A manhunt was underway on Friday after authorities said they were looking into whether three fatal shootings in the Washington area were connected.

The first shooting occurred on Thursday at a high school. The second occurred in a mall parking lot on Friday morning and the third happened 30 minutes later at a nearby shopping centre.

Police identified the school shooting suspect as 62-year-old Eulalio Tordil, an employee of the Federal Protective Service, which provides security at federal properties. Tordil was put on administrative duties in March after a protective order was issued against him.

Police say he followed 44-year-old Gladys Tordil to their children's Beltsville's High Point High School and shot her. He also shot and wounded a man who tried to intervene.

Authorities have not said that Tordil was responsible for the mall or shopping centre shooting, only that they are looking into the possibility that all three are related.

On Friday morning, officers responding to the parking lot of Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda found three people shot, Montgomery County Police Assistant Chief Darryl McSwain said. One person was shot and two others may have been shot coming to that person's aid, he said. There's no reason to believe the victims knew the shooter, he said.

A man who was shot died and another man is in critical condition, Montgomery County police spokesperson Captain Paul Starks said. A woman has injuries that are not life-threatening.

About a half an hour later, police were called to a shooting at a Giant Food store in Aspen Hill, about 8km away. Police later tweeted that a woman died after that shooting.

The upscale mall is located in Bethesda, about 16km northwest of downtown Washington.

For a time, all Montgomery County schools were sheltering in place at the request of police, but schools officials later tweeted that all but five schools would dismiss on time.

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