Man shot Sept. 18 at automated teller dies of his injuries

October 08, 1990|By Lynda Robinson

A 43-year-old Middle River man who was shot three times while trying to withdraw money from an automatic bank teller on Sept. 18 died last night at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Jerry Lee Mathis, of the first block of Pinyon Court, died at 8:45 p.m. -- 20 days after he was shot in the head, chest and abdomen outside a Maryland National Bank automated teller machine in the 7900 block of Pulaski Highway in Rosedale.

Police have made no arrest in the shooting.

"He fought up until the end," said his wife, Patricia Mathis, 34. "He held on as long as he could. I was holding his hand when he died."

Mrs. Mathis, who was separated from her husband, said she sat in the hospital room for about 45 minutes and then went to tell their 7-year-old son, Jason, that his father was dead.

"I told him his daddy went to be with Pop Pop Stan in heaven, and he'd be his guardian angel for the rest of his life," Mrs. Mathis said. "Jason understood. He was a little angry at first. But I think he's going to be OK."

Mr. Mathis, a Baltimore County school bus driver, was on his way to his wife's house when he stopped at the 24-hour teller machine about 2 a.m. The assailant, a man in his 30s, confronted Mr. Mathis as he walked toward the machine and shot him three times -- once outside his car and twice as Mr. Mathis got back into his car, police said.

Bleeding and dazed, Mr. Mathis managed to drive a quarter-mile along Pulaski Highway before crashing into a concrete median strip. He was flown by helicopter to the shock trauma center, where Mrs. Mathis said he survived two days of extensive surgery.

"After the third day, he was alert," she said. "He was spelling 'I love you' into my hand."

But his condition deteriorated as infection wracked his body. His lungs and kidneys functioned only with constant help from machines. By the second week, he was no longer aware of what was happening, Mrs. Mathis said.

She described him as a down-to-earth man who loved to tell jokes and stories, entertaining his son with tales of his own childhood.

"He was a good father," she said. "He'd take [Jason] to the movies and the arcade and to ballgames sometimes."

Mrs. Mathis, a mail carrier, said she thinks twice now before stopping at an automatic teller machine.

"It makes me angry," she said. "This is such a tragedy. They aren't really telling people they're at risk."

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