Decomposing body of pregnant woman found during fatal shooting arrest: Police
The suspect now faces three murder charges, prosecutors said.
Officers seeking a suspect in a fatal shooting at a Maryland gas station made a "surprising discovery" when they found the decomposing body of a pregnant woman at the man's apartment, police said.
The victim, who was determined to be 8 months pregnant, had been shot multiple times, according to Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy, who said the suspect now faces three murder charges between the two shootings.
The suspect -- Torrey Moore, 31, of Silver Spring -- was arrested and charged with first-degree murder on Friday for allegedly killing an employee at the Dash In Convenience Store in Silver Spring during an altercation the previous day, Montgomery County police said.
The investigation of the gas station shooting led detectives to an apartment complex across the street, where they executed a search warrant in Moore's apartment, police said.
"When SWAT made entry, and after arresting Moore, they discovered a deceased female, believed to be an adult, on the floor in the apartment in an advanced stage of decomposition," Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones told reporters during a press briefing Friday.
Moore allegedly told police that he was in a relationship with the woman and that she was eight months pregnant at the time of her death. He also allegedly said that "there had been some type of fight between the two about one month prior that led to the victim becoming deceased prior to today," Jones said.
McCarthy said Monday that an autopsy confirmed the woman was eight months pregnant with a boy and had been shot "many, many times." A forensic pathologist examined the fetus and determined "it was in fact viable at the time of his mother's death," McCarthy said.
McCarthy did not release the name of the victim, pending confirmation via DNA testing, though said she is believed to have been 26 years old. The medical examiner determined the fetus to be at 38 weeks gestation, his office said.
DNA testing is also pending to confirm whether the suspect was the father, though McCarthy said that they are "operating under that theory." He did not comment on a possible motive.
McCarthy said Moore is being charged with two counts of murder for the death of the pregnant woman and the viable fetus. Moore has not yet been served the new charges, and he has yet to have a bond hearing on them, a spokesperson for the state's attorney's office said Tuesday.
Police were not aware of anything amiss at that apartment, or of any missing persons from that location, the chief said.
"This is very new to us, again a surprising discovery upon our entry this morning. So we've got a lot of work to do," Jones said Friday. "We're a little bit amazed that we did not receive any calls, none that we have seen, thus far, that would have given us any indication that something was occurring within that apartment."
"We're very concerned about what has been occurring between these two," he said.
McCarthy also said his office was not aware of reports of a shooting inside the apartment or any foul smells, which "apparently are pretty evident."
"One of the things that has concerned me as state's attorney for the last couple of years is the fact that we as a community don't necessarily always work as closely as we can to ensure that we're safe as a community," he said. "So whether it's the sound of gunshots, which sometimes don't get reported anymore, or whether it's a smell -- I think if you want to have a safe community, we've got to work together."
Jones said Moore was captured on footage leaving the gas station following the shooting Thursday afternoon and heading toward the apartment complex across the street. Detectives were able to positively identify him from several witnesses, he said, and store employees said Moore was a "problem customer" at that location.
Moore is alleged to have shot gas station employee Ayalew Wondimu, 61, of Silver Spring, following a dispute at the business. The footage captured Moore grab a bottle of iced tea and bring it to the counter, where the altercation occurred, according to Jones.
"We did observe Moore pick up items from in front of the counter and began throwing them at the clerk," Jones said.
Wondimu then picked up a metal pole behind the counter and attempted to strike Moore, who was on the other side of the counter, Jones said.
"Moore stepped back and for reasons unknown he retrieved a silver handgun from his vest pocket and he shot Wondimu at a point-blank range," Jones said.
Moore allegedly then reached over the counter and fired again multiple times, before grabbing the iced tea bottle and leaving the store, said Jones, who called the incident "very troubling."
Wondimu suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and was pronounced dead at the scene, Jones said.
Moore was charged with first-degree murder and possession of a firearm while committing a felony and is being held on no bail. During a bond hearing on Monday, the judge ordered an evaluation to determine Moore's competency to stand trial. The next hearing in that case has been scheduled for Dec. 19.
Moore is being represented by the Montgomery County public defender’s office. His attorney declined to comment at this time.