Judge dismisses suit against Montgomery Co. Mall over shooting

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit that argued a Montgomery County, Maryland, mall and its security company were liable for the death of one man and the injury of another during a shooting spree in 2016. 

On May 5, 2016, Eulalio Tordil killed his estranged wife Gladys Tordil outside of a Prince George’s County school. One day later, he shot two men who attempted to stop him from carjacking a woman in the parking lot of Westfield Montgomery Mall.

Malcolm Winffel was shot twice in the chest and died; Carl Unger was shot four times but survived. 

Winffel’s family and Unger filed a lawsuit in 2019 against the Westfield Montgomery Mall and the security company that it hired, Professional Security Consultants and Professional Security Concepts. The lawsuit was for a wrongful death and negligence, and claimed they had a duty to protect the two men.

They argued that the mall and security should have known Tordil was a danger to visitors while he was at large after killing his wife. 

Lawyers for Westfield Montgomery Mall and the security company filed for the suit to be dismissed last July. The mall had no legal responsibility for protecting the two, they argued, and even if they did have that responsibility, they contended, they could not have foreseen the attack from Tordil. 

They had working cameras and a fully staffed security team, and a Montgomery County police officer was parked 50 yards away from where the shooting occurred. 

U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby ruled to dismiss the lawsuit in a summary judgement. 

The mall and security “did not know of any dangerous conditions on the Mall’s premises that could have contributed to criminal activity and that the Mall Defendants could not have reasonably anticipated that Mr. Tordil would pose a danger to the Mall or its patrons on May 6, 2016,” she wrote in her opinion.

The plaintiffs were seeking $11 million in damages.

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow WTOP on Twitter and Instagram to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2022 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up