Man kills estranged wife's boyfriend, tries to kill self

LAUREL, Md. (WUSA9) -- Police in Anne Arundel County are investigating a murder and attempted suicide in Laurel.

It happened Wednesday night just after 10:30 on the 3300 block of Sudlersville South. Police say a man was shot to death outside a home, allegedly by Robert Mendiola.

Mendiola then fled the scene, back to his home just down the street on Old Line, where he barricaded himself inside his shed and shot himself. Police and SWAT eventually got inside the shed, and found Mendiola still alive. He was rushed to the hospital where he has life-threatening injuries.

Mendiola is charged with first- and second-degree murder as well as other charges.

Cathy Mendiola says she and her boyfriend, Howard Popp, walked outside her home on their way to the harbor, when she saw her ex-husband, Robert Mendiola, with a gun.

"I got in between them to stop it and my ex-husband took a step back, pulled out a gun and shot Howard," she remembers. "I grabbed Howard. I had him in my arms, that's why I'm covered in his blood."

Cathy held Howard in her arms, and watched him die, while she says her ex-husband ran away.

"That suspect who shot this man then fled the scene and went a few blocks away from here, went into a shed where he shot himself in the head," Anne Arundel County Police spokesperson T.J. Smith said.

"I want him to suffer every second of every minute of his whole-hearted life, to suffer for what he did," says Cathy.

Cathy had taken out a protective order against Robert in July. She says he beat her while they were married, and then stalked her. Although the restraining order has been in place for a little over a month now, Robert still violated it repeatedly, showing up at her work and taking pictures of her.

Police say it's not clear what the parameters of the restraining order were - but it will be part of their investigation.

"When people take the proper steps to protect themselves we need them to continue to protect themselves and not have that contact," says Smith.

This is the third domestic related murder suicide in Anne Arundel County this year alone.

"I had been with him for 20 years. I would never think he would do such thing like this," Cathy said.

Robert Mendiola remains in serious condition.


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