- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 21, 2000

DUNDALK, Md. One shot was fired yesterday inside the house where a suspected killer has been holding three persons hostage since Friday.
Shortly after the shot was fired at 2:50 p.m., police could be heard on a loudspeaker urging Joseph Palczynski to let them bring in an ambulance.
However, a police spokesman said later police did not believe anyone inside the house was seriously hurt.
"We are reasonably secure that no one needs medical help," spokesman Bill Toohey said. "We're not rushing in there.
"His conversations with us have led us to believe we don't have to go in."
Palczynski had been negotiating with police fairly regularly since the hostage standoff began Friday evening, but stopped talking on the phone about 9:30 a.m. yesterday. He resumed conversations later in the afternoon.
Palczynski, who is armed with two handguns and two long guns, fired several shots from the apartment window in the early afternoon. About 3:30 p.m., he shot at police in an armored police vehicle who were urging him over a loudspeaker to pick up the phone.
He had done the same thing Sunday, after what had been 36 hours of tense calm.
As the standoff entered its third day yesterday, resentment, anger and frustration mounted among residents of the Berkshire neighborhood.
"We've been a prisoner of this man for two weeks," said Kelly Rye, who was separated from her husband and two daughters until Sunday. Mrs. Rye's 7-year-old daughter has missed two weeks of school because no one in the neighborhood would let their children outside.
Residents evacuated by police have filled the Red Cross shelter at Berkshire Elementary School nearby.
Everyone just wants it over.
"Give up, Wacko," one man yelled as he walked back and forth behind police tape.
Nancy Piechocki, held a sign out a pickup truck window saying, "Give us back our family."
Her boyfriend Wayne Kucz said his mother, sister, niece and great-niece are stuck in an apartment.
Mr. Kucz sneaked food to them over a fence Sunday night.
Melissa Locklear, 21, has been washing her clothes for her waitressing job every night since Friday. She was late for work on Sunday because she was afraid to leave the shelter when Palczynski was firing shots.
"It's been stressful. A lot of people are fed up and want the police to go in [to the house]."
Mrs. Rye seemed upbeat yesterday afternoon. She's remaining positive for the sake of her children, she said.
"I never thought in my wildest dreams that it would go on this long."
People at the shelter reason that Palczynski has killed four persons so why waste all this time and money on him? Mrs. Rye said.
"A lot of people don't want to talk about it, but deep down, a lot of us feel that way," she said.
Nevertheless Mrs. Rye has grown close with her neighbors who also have been separated from their children for several days. They've exchanged phone numbers and addresses and planned a barbecue reunion for this summer.
Palczynski, who has a history of mental illness and violent behavior, is accused of killing four persons and briefly kidnapping his ex-girlfriend Tracy Whitehead. After being on the run since March 7, Palczynski on Friday shot his way into the home of Miss Whitehead's mother, Lynn Whitehead, and took her and two others hostage.
At one point yesterday, a man and a woman, believed to be the hostages, were heard yelling out the window to police to put Miss Whitehead on the phone or he would do something drastic.
The conversations were being monitored by neighbors trapped in their homes who are communicating with each other and those outside the hostage scene perimeter through walkie-talkies.
Newspaper and broadcast reports have said Palczynski's main demand has been to speak to Miss Whitehead. Police have said they will not discuss the negotiations.
He has asked for food, which police have delivered using a robot.
Police said last night they were willing to wait indefinitely to resolve the standoff peacefully.
There have been lulls in the conversation that would have allowed Palczynski to get some rest, police said.
Palczynski had threatened Miss Whitehead's family before the standoff began, a family member said.
Susan Milliner, a cousin, told the Baltimore Sun that when Palczynski held Miss Whitehead captive for 30 hours, he told her he was going to "get her family."
Laura Whitehead, Tracy's sister, told the Sun she asked for police protection on Thursday. "We felt we would be safe. We felt there would be police protection," she said.
Laura Whitehead said she left the apartment 10 minutes before Palczynski burst in about 8:30 p.m. Friday taking her mother, her mother's boyfriend and their 12-year-old son hostage.
Breaking police silence on the issue, Mr. Toohey said yesterday that the Whitehead family turned down police offers to place officers inside and outside the house and ignored advice not to go home.
Asked why police hadn't posted a guard outside the house, over the family's objections, Mr. Toohey said, "It would have been possible to do that. Whether it would have been an effective safeguard is another thing. That might have only created a false sense of security."
"We had some information that he had some high-priority targets, and this was not one of them," Mr. Toohey said.
About a dozen or so people were still stuck in the working-class neighborhood that has been under siege since Friday. About 30 residents were ferried out two at a time in an armored police vehicle Sunday night.
"No one has the option of leaving now," Mr. Toohey said yesterday. "I think we've done all we can do."
Staff writer John Drake contributed to this article.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide