200 attend fund-raiser for Palczynski victims

Money to aid wounded or surviving children

July 20, 2000|By Nancy Youssef | Nancy Youssef,SUN STAFF

All of the 200 people who gathered at a fund-raiser last night at Decoy's Seafood Restaurant in Middle River had some connection to Joseph Palczynski.

There was the woman who registered Jennifer McDonel, 37, one of Palczynski's victims, at Franklin Square Hospital Center on March 8.

There was a man who worked with the father of David Meyers, who was shot by Palczynski March 7.

Linked to tragedy

And there was the extended family of George and Gloria Shenk, the Essex couple who were shot to death by Palczynski while attempting to shelter the gunman's estranged girlfriend.

The fund-raiser at Decoy's last night benefited the eight children who lost family members or were wounded by Palczynski during the 10-day manhunt for the gunman that shook eastern Baltimore County.

On March 7, Palczynski shot and killed the Shenks and Meyers while kidnapping his ex-girlfriend, Tracy Whitehead.

The following day, he fatally shot McDonel and wounded Gregory Sims, 2, as he rode in a car with his mother.

Gifts donated

On March 17, he held Doug and Marie Wilkinson and their 4-year-old son, Doug Jr., hostage for six hours before taking over the Dundalk home of Whitehead's mother and boyfriend.

Several dozen businesses donated food and gifts to raffle at yesterday's fund-raiser.

Officials estimate they raised $1,000 last night at the barbecue, which featured raffles and music.

The money is intended to be turned over to the youngsters when they turn age 18.

Sandy Thomas of Rosedale helped organize the event.

"I hope they put it to good use," said Thomas. "Every time I see Lydia [McDonel's 17-month-old daughter], I cry my eyes out."

Lingering fear

The Wilkinsons said their son continues to be haunted by his encounter with Palczynski.

They say the child had a nightmare about the incident as recently as Sunday night.

"He talks about whether [Palczynski] is coming back," said Doug Wilkinson Sr.

Palczynski was killed by Baltimore County police on March 21 after they stormed the Dundalk home of his hostages - after two of the three captives escaped.

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