Towson missionary injured by grenade in the Philippines

August 14, 1991|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Baltimore County Bureau of The Sun

A 39-year-old Towson man was among 32 people injured during a weekend grenade attack on a Christian missionary group that was touring in the Philippines.

Joseph Parker, who ran a Towson delicatessen before signing on with the missionaries in 1988, was wounded in his arm and shoulder Saturday when he was hit by shrapnel from a grenade '' that exploded in Zamboanga, Philippines, according to his family.

Mr. Parker was visiting the country as one of 250 church-sponsored crew members aboard a ship on a world tour sponsored by Operation Mobilization, an evangelical Christian group, said Michael Stachura,director of the group's U.S. headquarters in Peachtree City, Ga.

Mr. Parker was taking part in an international cultural fTC performance in a port terminal building in Zamboanga and was one of dozens of people backstage when two grenades were hurled into the dressing area, Mr. Stachura said.

One grenade hit the ship's captain and failed to explode. The other exploded, killing a woman from New Zealand and another from Sweden and injuring 32 other people, including Mr. Parker and three other Americans, Mr. Stachura said.

Mr. Parker was traveling with his wife, Badeen, and their two children, Joshua, 7, and Aileen, 4. Badeen Parker telephoned her father-in-law, Dr. Robert Parker, in Towson Sunday from the Philippines to let relatives know that Joseph was not seriously hurt, according to the victim's brothers, Craig Parker.

"She said, 'He saw the bomb as it was coming and he just hit the floor,' " Mr. Parker recounted.

Joseph Parker operated the family-owned Parker deli on

Allegheny Avenue in Towson before joining the ship's crew in January 1988, his brother said.

He is a graduate of the Phelps Academy in Malvern, Pa., and Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pa., Craig Parker said.

The other Americans injured were identified as Brian Marroquin of Cape May, N.J., and Cynthia Smith of Bowling Green, Ohio, who both suffered minor shrapnel injuries, and Nathaniel Fawcett, who suffered serious shrapnel injuries to the legs.

Mr. Fawcett remained in Manila's Makati Medical Center, while the other three Americans boarded their 435-foot-long cruise ship Monday to continue the two-year tour by sailing for the eastern coast of Borneo, Malaysia.

The Philippine port, which is largely Christian, is surrounded by Muslim hinterlands. Authorities said that they believed a slur against Islam may have sparked the attack.

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