Baltimore County police continued negotiating early this morning with fugitive Joseph C. Palczynski -- a suspect in four murders -- who barricaded himself inside a Dundalk home for a second day with at least three hostages and several high-powered weapons.
Throughout yesterday, a county police negotiator kept steady telephone
contact with Palczynski, who made repeated requests for food and to speak to
his former girlfriend, Tracy Whitehead. Police sent a robot to the house on
Lange Street last night with food and a cell phone while maintaining their
Police said they were aiming for a peaceful end to the standoff. Family and
friends also made several public pleas for Palczyn-ski -- a 31-year-old
Bowleys Quarters man who has a history of incarceration, domestic violence and
mental illness -- to give himself up.
"We will talk and talk and talk," police spokesman Bill Toohey said. "We're
not in any hurry. We're prepared to wait a long time -- hours, days if
Palczynski's father, Joseph Palczynski Sr., called a television station to
urge his son to release the hostages and surrender.
"We all love you and hope that you make the right decision so you can get
help," his father said in a tape of the call that WBFF-TV aired last night.
"That's what we all want. Please give yourself up and don't hurt anyone else."
Palczynski surfaced in Dundalk on Friday afternoon, less than a day after
the police department announced that it would reduce the number of officers
actively patrolling the area. After breaking into an Essex house, police said,
he entered the Whitehead family home on Lange Street and took hostage
Whitehead's mother, Lynn; her stepfather, Andy McCord; and her 12-year old
brother, Bradley McCord.
County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and the police department
defended their actions against criticism from residents who had watched
Palczynski terrorize their community, beginning with the first of a series of
alleged kidnappings. Residents also questioned why police had not watched the
Whitehead residence more closely.
"We'll explain it when it is all over, and it will all make sense," Toohey
Palczynski has been on the run, police said, since March 7, when he
allegedly abducted Tracy Whitehead. Friends said the two had a stormy
relationship over the years. Whitehead was staying with 50-year-old Gloria
Jean Shenk and her 49-year-old husband, George Shenk, after a recent breakup.
Police said that as Palczynski dragged Whitehead from the Town & Country
Bowleys Quarters Apartments, he shot to death the Shenks and David M. Meyers,
a neighbor who tried to help. Whitehead subsequently escaped.
Police also accuse Palczynski of shooting and killing Jennifer McDonel, 37,
a passing motorist, during an attempted carjacking the next night.
Police believe that Palczynski then traveled to Virginia and stole two guns
and cash from a house and forced a man at another house to drive him to
eastern Baltimore County.
After Palczynski's return, the search for him intensified, as police canine
units, helicopters, a robot and patrol officers combed the woods and
neighborhoods of Middle River, Essex, Bowleys Quarters and Chase.
Describing Palczynski as "skilled and resourceful," police said they
believe that he had been in the Essex area the entire time after his return
from Virginia. But they said they were mystified as to how he managed to elude
the search teams.
"It's almost hard to believe that he's outslicked the police for this
long," said Curt Skouron, 35, a Middle River resident.
But, on Friday afternoon, after police scaled back the search, Palczynski
broke into a house in the 10200 block of Bevans Lane near Holly Hill Memorial
Gardens Cemetery. He tied up Douglas Wilkinson, his wife and his son after
they found him there, police said.
After subduing them, Palczynski seemed to become friendlier, homeowner
Douglas Wilkinson said yesterday. For the next five hours, Palczynski told the
family about the slayings, his feelings about what happened and his intention
to continue eluding the police, Wilkinson said.
"I tried to tell him to give himself in," Wilkinson said. "I was just
trying to calm him down, and then my family. I just thank God that he did not