MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — The investigation into a deadly gas station shooting in Montgomery County led police to discover the decomposing body of a possibly pregnant woman inside an apartment Friday.
In a press conference with Montgomery County Police officials and Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy, new details were released regarding the violent shooting that allegedly began over a bottle of iced tea and the investigation that led to the disturbing discovery a day later.
According to Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones, 31-year-old Torrey Moore first walked into the Shell Station and Dash In Convenience Store on New Hampshire Avenue just before 3 p.m. Thursday.
Investigators believe Moore grabbed a bottle of iced tea before walking up to the counter where 61-year-old Ayalew Wondimu was working the register.
Citing video surveillance, detectives say the two men got into an argument that led Moore to grab items from around the counter and throw them at Wondimu. The register clerk then grabbed a metal pole from behind the counter and attempted to hit Moore.
That is when police say Moore stepped back, pulled a handgun from his vest pocket and opened fire on Wondimu, hitting him in the chest at point-blank range. Wondimu fell to the ground after he was hit and police say Moore reached around the counter to continue shooting the man before leaving the store with the bottle of iced tea and running to the Enclave Apartment across the street.
When officers arrived just after 3 p.m. they found Wondimu behind the counter with multiple gunshot wounds to the chest. First responders attempted to save him but the clerk died at the gas station.
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“To literally have a dispute over a container of iced tea at a convenience store and to have it rise to the level of a dispute that an individual then pulled out a handgun and brutally murdered someone in broad daylight is very troubling to me,” Jones said. “I think in this community, anyone would say the same thing.”
This was not the first issue Moore has had at the gas station, according to Jones.
"There was a past, a troubled past probably, of confrontation between Mr. Moore and employees at the Dash In," Jones said.
Thanks to several witness IDs, investigators were able to identify Moore as a suspect and filed an arrest warrant on charges of first-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a violent crime.
Investigators learned Moore lived at the Enclave apartments and SWAT conducted a no-knock search warrant Friday. However, officials did not expect to find the badly decomposed body of a woman on the floor of the apartment.
Jones said Moore waived his rights when he was taken into custody and made statements implicating himself in Wondimu's death as well as tying himself to the dead woman found in the apartment where he was living.
Moore reportedly told investigators that he had been in a relationship with the woman who was pregnant. The two allegedly got into an argument a month ago that led to the woman's death. While police are awaiting the autopsy for confirmation over who the woman was, and if or how far along she was in her pregnancy, officials believe the woman may have been as far as eight months along.
Jones said there have been no reports of missing people that match the woman's description in the area and investigators are canvassing the neighborhood for more information.
"We've got a lot of work to do," Jones said. "We're a little bit amazed that we didn't receive any calls. None that we've seen thus far that would have given us any indication that something was occurring in that apartment."
When asked if there is any idea on how the woman was killed, Jones said the body was in such an "advanced state" decomposition that it is unclear how she was killed. The woman's body has been taken to the medical examiner's office for an autopsy and identification.
Chief Jones said it appeared Moore and the woman lived together at the apartment.
Friday night, neighbors of Moore told WUSA9 they were shocked to not only hear about the shooting across the street, but also by the fact that a woman's body was decomposing for the past month, just steps from where they also called home.
"I'm speechless," said Medina who lives in the complex. "I'm gonna pray it's overwhelming very overwhelming" she said.
"It's scary, you never know who your neighbors are" said another person who lived in the building but didn't want their name given.
This is an ongoing investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact Major Crimes at 240-773-5070 or contact Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477). Callers can remain anonymous.
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