Richard Mioduszewski Sr., 56, city officer who helped end 1971 shooting spree

March 21, 2002|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Richard B. Mioduszewski Sr., a highly decorated Baltimore police officer who earned the department's highest honor for helping end a 1971 shooting spree that killed five, died Saturday of liver failure at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was 56.

The former longtime Millersville resident had lived in New Freedom, Pa., since 1996.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Brooklyn, Mr. Mioduszewski was a 1964 graduate of Southern High School, where he played tackle on the football team and wrestled.

After graduating from the Baltimore Police Academy in 1966, he was assigned as a patrolman to the Southwestern District.

On Nov. 22, 1971, on his way to begin his shift, he arrived at a shooting.

Raymond D. Ferrel-el, 29, an Army veteran dressed in camouflage clothing, had carried a carbine and a .30-caliber hunting rifle into the PPG Industries brush manufacturing plant in the 3200 block of Frederick Ave., where he was employed dipping brush handles in vats of lacquer.

Mr. Ferrel-el, a former teacher's aide in Baltimore public schools, began shooting, killing five co-workers and wounding another.

"The killer was `yelling as he shot, laughing wild hysterical laughter,' an officer said," The Sun reported. "But the gunman calmly asked one witness to help him get out of the plant with his rifles."

After leaving the building, he crossed Frederick Avenue and was standing near a fire station reloading one of his weapons when police arrived. Patrolman Kenneth Hayden approached, and Mr. Ferrel-el opened fire, wounding him in the left knee.

Mr. Mioduszewski "was late for work and was zipping down an alley when he arrived at the crime scene," said his wife of 25 years, the former Margaret L. Keeney. "He quickly realized it was a bad situation. He saw the wounded officer and was afraid that Ferrel-el was going to shoot him again, so he shot him. It was the only time in his career that he ever drew his weapon."

The gunman was wounded in the stomach and fell to the ground. After recovering, he was found innocent by reason of insanity and committed to the state's Clifton T. Perkins mental hospital.

In 1972, Mr. Mioduszewski was awarded the Police Medal of Honor, the department's highest decoration, for his role in responding to the shooting.

"He seldom talked about the incident and was a very quiet and modest man who took the job of protecting people's lives and property very seriously," said Mrs. Mioduszewski.

After resigning from the Police Department in 1978, he joined the University of Maryland campus police and was a patrol officer on the school's Baltimore campus until retiring in 1996.

He was a member of the National Rifle Association and collected antique weapons. He also collected domestic and foreign money.

A memorial service will be held at 8 p.m. today at the J.J. Hartenstein Mortuary in New Freedom, Pa.

Other survivors include a son, Richard B. Mioduszewski Jr. of Annapolis; a brother, Arthur Mioduszewski of Ferndale; and two grandchildren.

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