Bands staging concert to aid man mistakenly shot by FBI

Musicians hope to raise about $10,000 tonight to help with medical bills

May 24, 2002|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

If it were not for the scar left on his cheek by an FBI agent's bullet, Joe Schultz might go unnoticed in the crowd of 20-some- things on the local music scene. His friends say he probably would have preferred it that way.

But tonight in Brooklyn Park, every song will be dedicated to him.

Six area bands will perform to raise money to help cover Schultz's medical bills, which have been mounting since March 1, when an FBI agent mistook him for a wanted bank robber and shot him in the face with an M-4 rifle.

The name of the benefit concert: "Mistaken Identity."

And Schultz, who sometimes spins the turntable for his buddies in a local band, may even take the stage himself. He is expected to perform with the band Endenial.

Schultz was initially a reluctant guest of honor. He even considered taking the bus to the benefit being held in his honor.

"That's just how he is," said Michelle Bancroft, a fund-raiser organizer whose son grew up with Schultz in Pasadena.

Told about the benefit being planned, friends say Schultz wondered why anyone would want to do this for him, especially people he has never met.

"We don't know him personally. But when we heard the story about what happened to him, we immediately wanted to help," said Jeff Caudle, bass guitarist and singer for Cypher, a Baltimore band.

When they heard Schultz was a musician, the band members were even more convinced they should plan a benefit concert, Caudle said. "It's important as artists that we support each other."

A lot of people said they felt the same way.

"It feels good to do something about the situation, instead of just talking about how awful it is," said Joe Reed, a longtime friend and former band mate of Schultz's.

Schultz has declined interviews through his lawyers. But investigators have said that the Pasadena man and his girlfriend had just left a Glen Burnie 7-Eleven when FBI agents starting following them, suspecting Schultz was a bank robber they had been tracking for days. Agents pulled over the young couple on Fort Smallwood Road, where they ordered Schultz out of the car. Schultz's lawyers say he was reaching to open the door when an agent shot him through the window.

Jason "MC Dead" Gonet, singer and bass guitarist for Endenial, said he expects tonight's concert at Brooklyn Park's Thunder Dome to sell out. Tickets are $10. Doors open at 7 p.m.

At Northeast High, from which Schultz graduated in 2000, many students have been talking about the benefit, Gonet said. Schultz's girlfriend, who is a junior at the school, also spread the word.

"I went to hand out fliers, but everyone already seemed to have one," Gonet said. "It's great."

Initially, organizers hoped to raise $4,000 for Schultz. But now, their goal is to sell all 900 seats at Thunder Dome, which will mean they'll be able to give Schultz about $10,000, Caudle said.

Schultz, who spent 10 days in Shock Trauma after the shooting, faces more reconstructive surgery to his jaw and sinus areas, according to one of his lawyers, Robert J. Weltchek.

Although the case appears to be headed toward a civil lawsuit, Bancroft said friends wanted to help him when he needs it most - right now.

"He's just starting out. He's 20 years old and responsible for all these bills," she said. "Until the FBI takes responsibility, he needs some help. A settlement could take forever. In the meantime, he knows we care."

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