Palczynski shooting probe report given to state's attorney's office

Charges against officers not expected, official says

June 07, 2000|By Nancy A. Youssef | Nancy A. Youssef,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County homicide detectives have completed their investigation into the fatal police shooting of Joseph C. Palczynski, killed March 21 when officers broke into the Dundalk apartment where he had been holding hostages for four days.

The 3-inch-thick report was submitted Monday to Deputy State's Attorney Sue Schenning.

Schenning will review it over the next several weeks to determine whether criminal charges should be filed against Frank D. Barile, 36, and Robert O. Jones, 37, the tactical officers who shot Palczynski 27 times.

Schenning said yesterday that she does not expect either police officer to be charged in the incident.

"I don't see any of this as anything but routine at this point," she said of the investigation.

Schenning said that the report, the result of an investigation led by Sgt. James Painowski, includes a written narrative by the officers, exhibits and photos.

It is considered part of an internal investigation and will not be released to the public, she added.

Michael Marshall, attorney for the two tactical officers, said he was surprised the investigation had not ended before.

"I fully anticipate they will be officially cleared," he said.

County police spokesman Bill Toohey declined to comment about the contents of the report, except to say the shooting appeared to be justified.

Palczynski was accused of killing four people and kidnapping two others between March 7 and March 17, leading police on what County Executive C.A. Dutch Rup persberger called the most extensive search in county history.

Police found Palczynski on March 17, when he broke into the Dundalk apartment and took three hostages - his estranged girlfriend's mother, Lynn Whitehead; Whitehead's boyfriend, Andy McCord; and the couple's 12-year-old son Bradley McCord.

Police said that on the night of March 21, Whitehead spiked Palczynski's iced tea with Xanax - a sleeping pill - and slipped out a bedroom window as he slept.

She was followed a few minutes later by Andy McCord.Bradley remained in the apartment.

A team of police officers, including tactical officers, rushed into the apartment, shot Palczynski and rescued the boy.

County police said Palczynski was rising from a couch and had a .357-caliber Magnum pistol resting on his stomach and other weapons nearby, prompting the officers to shoot him.

If Schenning determines the officers will not face criminal charges, the Police Department's internal affairs division will conduct its own investigation to determine whether the officials violated police procedure.

Members of the Police Department's leadership are also in the midst of a self-critique of how they handled the search for and standoff with Palczynski.

They held a closed meeting last week to discuss the department's performance.

Sun staff writer Dennis O'Brien contributed to this article.

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