An off-duty Prince George's County police officer was killed Wednesday morning after a neighbor being threatened by her estranged husband asked for the officer's help and the man shot him, police say.
The alleged attacker, 37-year-old Glenn Tyndell, also was killed.
Cpl. Mujahid Ramzziddin lost his life helping the woman as he was off duty in his own neighborhood, Chief Hank Stawinski said at a news conference.
"He saved her life by giving his own," Stawinski said.
"A gutless coward took the life of a very important member of our community," Prince George's County State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said, her voice raised in anger.
"Officer Ramzziddin gave his life trying to save the life of another," she continued.
Ramzziddin was a Marine Corps veteran, a father of four and his mother's only son, officials said. He served on the Prince George's County police force for 14 years. He was 51.
Tyndell, of Largo, had a protective order against him and was due in court for an emergency hearing on Wednesday, sources tell News4 and court records show. His ex-wife and his estranged wife both sought protective orders against him.
Tyndell had a history of domestic violence, Stawinski said.
"There does appear to be a history of domestic incidents, and they span multiple jurisdictions," the police chief said.
Tyndell had three open warrants for assault. Court records show he was arrested for violating a protective order in March 2013 and arrested for assault in September 2010.
He worked for Metro as a mechanic, police said.
A neighbor went to Ramzziddin for help after her estranged husband threatened her outside her home on Chadsey Lane about 10:20 a.m., police said. Ramzziddin and the woman didn't know each other, police said; she had seen his squad car parked nearby.
Ramzziddin immediately responded to the woman's plea.
"Shortly thereafter, he found himself in a confrontation with a man armed with a shotgun," Stawinski said.
The man, later identifiend as Tyndell, shot Ramzziddin five times, killing him, Stawinski said at a news conference Wednesday night. After the shooting, he took Ramzziddin's handgun, Stawinski said.
A witness driving past said he heard more than 10 shots.
"It was a scary, scary situation," he said.
Tyndell left the scene in a black SUV. A short time later, Charles County sheriff's deputies saw him on Berry Road and began to pursue him. The chase led back into Prince George's County, where additional officers assisted.
On Indian Head Highway at Old Fort Road in Fort Washington, about 10 miles from where Ramzziddin was shot, Tyndell jumped out of the SUV and shot at the officers.
Police believe Tyndell used Ramzziddin's handgun to fire at the officers.
The officers shot back, and Tyndell was fatally wounded.
No other officers were hurt. Tyndell's estranged wife also was not hurt.
Tyndell had children of his own, his father, James Tyndell told News4. They are 11, 8 and 6, their grandfather said.
James Tyndell argued that people in his son's life had provided false information about him to police.
Officials said they were heartbroken by Ramzziddin's death.
"With broken hearts, we are announcing that one of our officers was shot and killed today. The brave officer was shot while stepping in to protect a woman threatened in a domestic situation. Please keep his family and our department in your prayers," the department said on Twitter earlier Wednesday.
Neighbors also said they were shaken by the crime.
“I’m a retired officer myself who has also been in the line of fire," one woman said, near tears. "This hits pretty hard for me to know that one of my fellow brothers have been killed."
Ramzziddin was a devout Muslim and went to Masjid Muhammad in Northwest D.C.
"It’s understandable that he was doing something that he always does and that is try to be useful, try to be helpful," Imam Talib Shareef said.
"He was a good brother. Good father. Good Muslim," said Sabir Saleem, a retired D.C. officer and Ramzziddin's friend.
Many officers on foot, in squad cars and on motorcycles responded to the shooting scene, Chopper4 footage showed. Several roads in the area were shut down.
As Ramzziddin's body was taken via ambulance to the state medical examiner's office in Baltimore, first responders lined highways to salute and honor him.
Less than two years have passed since the last time a Prince George's County police officer was killed.
Officer Jacai Colson was killed outside the District III police station in Palmer Park on March 13, 2016. A fellow officer accidentally shot him during a chaotic shootout.
Michael Ford opened fire on officers as his brothers used their cellphones to record video of the gunfight. Ford told his brothers to send video of the attack on the police station to the entertainment website WorldStarHipHop.com, prosecutors said. Ford's brothers pleaded guilty for their roles in the shooting. His trial is pending.
More officers were shot and killed in 2017 after they responded to domestic disturbances than were shot in the line of duty in any other circumstance, according to data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Seven of the 128 officers who died on the job last year were shot as they responded to domestic disturbance reports.
"As most law enforcement officers have been informed during their training or know intuitively from working the streets ... domestic dispute calls or intra-family offenses were the most dangerous type of call for the responding officers," a report from the organization says.
In the D.C. area, Prince William County Officer Ashley Guindon was shot and killed on Feb. 17, 2016, her first day on the job, as she responded to a domestic violence call. Two other officers were hurt.
"Any officer realizes your next call could be your last," Guindon's uncle Mark Guindon previously told News4.
Over the course of Ramzziddin's career, he was assigned to District III, District IV, the Washington Area Vehicle Enforcement Unit and the Gang Unit. He was part of the Harbor Unit when he was killed.
Ramzziddin's funeral is set to be held Friday at the Diyanet Center of America in Lanham.