Shot at work, clerk asks to return to job

October 09, 1992|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer

Charles R. Fox nearly died in April when he was shot during a holdup at the Linthicum service station where he worked. Now that he's healed, he can't get his job back.

Mr. Fox, who was in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court yesterday to watch two of his assailants admit to the shooting, said he's been looking for work since July 20, the day his doctors said he was fit.

But the owner of Frank's Exxon, just outside the Beltway in the 700 block of Nursery Road, has repeatedly turned down his requests for his old job, he said.

"I just can't believe it, I'm getting a complete run-around," said Mr. Fox, who earned $5 an hour working nights at the station for about a year before he was shot.

Frank Figueroa, the station owner, said the robbery forced him to cut back his hours.

The station now closes at 10 p.m. rather than staying open all night.

Mr. Figueroa said that he plans to install a kiosk near the pumps to discourage robbers and that he will rehire Mr. Fox once it is installed.

But he couldn't say yesterday when that might be.

"I'm not going to put him back at night because I don't want him to get shot again," said Mr. Figueroa, who has owned the station since 1973.

Mr. Fox is skeptical. He said that all his old boss ever told him was that he should look for work elsewhere.

"I've been putting applications all over the place. There's no work anywhere," said Mr. Fox, who graduated from Southern High School and also has worked in a warehouse.

Richard W. Channell, 18, and Joseph L. Burr, 19, both of Baltimore, pleaded guilty before Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. to assault with intent to murder and armed robbery.

A third defendant, Christopher Budde, 19, also of Baltimore, has been charged with assault with intent to murder and will be tried later, said John Robinson, assistant state's attorney.

Mr. Budde is being held in the Howard County Detention Center on auto theft charges, police said.

In court yesterday, Mr. Robinson called the shooting a "cold, cold, cold-blooded act."

According to the statement, three men drove up to the station in a stolen car at about 1 a.m. April 6 and parked at the pumps.

Mr. Burr got out of the car, entered the station office and told Mr. Fox he wanted to buy a pack of cigarettes.

As Mr. Fox turned to hand him the cigarettes, Mr. Burr pulled out a .410-gauge shotgun and demanded cash.

Mr. Channell shouted from the car, "Shoot him, shoot him," according to the statement.

Mr. Burr took about $70, then fired one shot.

Mr. Fox turned away from the gun and was struck on the lower left buttocks and upper left leg, then dropped to his knees, according to the statement.

"At that point, I did think I was going to be killed," Mr. Fox said.

As the car sped off, Mr. Fox dialed 911. He spent the next six days at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Mr. Fox identified Mr. Burr from police mug shots, and Mr. Burr implicated the others when he was arrested, Mr. Robinson said.

After his arrest, Mr. Burr took police to Patapsco State Park in Howard County, where he told officers they tried to get rid of the stolen car by dumping it into the Patapsco River, according to police.

Police photographs showed a dark-colored sports car toppled over the edge of the park dam, alongside the river.

Mr. Robinson also told Judge Thieme that a Shock Trauma physician was ready to testify that if Mr. Fox hadn't turned his body away from the blast at the last moment, the shot would have killed him.

Judge Thieme has set sentencing for Nov. 17.

Mr. Robinson said he will seek the maximum penalties -- 30 years on the charge of assault with intent to murder and 20 years on the armed robbery charge.

Mr. Fox, who said he still gets nervous in crowds, said he intends to watch the case closely.

"Sure, I think about it," he said. "Those guys almost killed me."

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