Teller slain outside bank Woman killed, man wounded in incidents today.

July 11, 1991|By William B. Talbott and Joe Nawrozki | William B. Talbott and Joe Nawrozki,Evening Sun Staff Robert Hilson Jr., Edward L. Heard and Meredith Schlow contributed to this article.

The chief teller of a bank branch in West Baltimore was shot dead today while sitting in her van on the parking lot of the bank in the 500 block of N. Franklintown Road.

The teller, identified by police as Phyllis Hornfeck, 60, an employee of Maryland National Bank, was sitting in her Plymouth minivan about 8 a.m. when a Mazda drove up and an occupant got out and fired two shots from a large-caliber handgun through the woman's right front window.

Police said the victim was wounded in the right side of her head and the right side of her torso. When found, Hornfeck's left leg was out of the van's open door.

Her purse and keys, including one to the bank, were found in the victim's vehicle.

The shooting at the bank was the second of the morning in the city. Police were investigating an unrelated incident that occurred about 6:30 a.m. in which a man was chased for several blocks by five gunmen who fired a volley of at least 17 shots at him before critically wounding him in the face and neck.

In the killing of the teller, Police were investigating the possibility either a bystander or accomplice also was hit by the gunfire. A man wearing a multi-colored beanie with a propeller was seen bending over and clutching his abdomen seconds after the shooting. He fled the scene, police said.

The Mazda, which police believe was stolen, was seen leaving the parking lot of the bank followed by a blue van. The Mazda was recovered several blocks away on Lauretta Avenue near Evergreen Street

The victim's vehicle and the Mazda were towed to police headquarters where they were checked for fingerprints.

The FBI was also brought into the investigation since investigators believe the killing might have been related to a bank robbery attempt, a federal crime.

Bank officials told police it was Hornfeck's habit to arrive every day at the bank branch about 8 a.m. and wait in her van on the bank parking lot for another employee. Hornfeck and the other unidentified worker would then unlock the doors. The bank opens for business at 9 a.m.

Officials from the bank would not comment on the shooting.

Hornfeck's death shocked her neighbors, in the 400 block of Bathurst Road, who read or heard about the killing.

One neighbor, who asked not to be identified, recalled she had at least one son "and lots of grandchildren. She was real friendly, always talked to people."

Another neighbor described the Hornfecks as "a lovely, tight-knit family. They constantly seemed to have their grandchildren there at their house."

Another resident of Bathurst Road, a retiree, said she only talked occasionally with Hornfeck. "But oh what a shock, what a terrible shock."

Today's other shooting victim, Eugene Williams, 29, was in critical condition at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.

According to Teresa Schaefer, owner of the Right Place Bar in the 1800 block of W. Pratt St., Williams staggered into her bar about 6:30 a.m.

Schaefer said Williams was bleeding profusely from the mouth and had also been shot in the nose.

She said the wounded man wandered back and forth in her bar in a daze while she called the 911 emergency number for an ambulance.

Suddenly, she said, Williams, sitting at the front door, looked outside and muttered "Aw, here they come after me come again."

Schaefer said she saw five men coming down the street toward Williams but they broke and ran when police cars arrived.

"This is nothing but a drug neighborhood, point blank," Schaefer said. "They don't care up here."

A woman believed to be the girlfriend or sister was also shot at by one of the gunmen. She was not injured.

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