Maryland Hostage Drama Ends

Gunman Shot And Killed By Police

A tense four-day hostage standoff has come to an end in Dundalk, Maryland. All three hostages are uninjured, but gunman Joseph Palczynski was shot and killed at the scene.

Ever since the hostage standoff began last Friday, police had been using the word "patience." But apparently, late Tuesday night, the hostages had run out of it, reports CBS News Correspondent Diana Olick.

With the gunman asleep, the female hostage managed to make her way out a window and, later, her boyfriend followed. The two left their 12-year-old son asleep on the floor. At that point, the police went in. A neighbor videotaped the police as they stormed the house and brought the boy to safety.

Palczynski was accused of killing four people as he tried to kidnap his ex-girlfriend nearly two weeks ago. He then took the three others hostage on Friday. The last anyone heard was a message he left on the voice mail of CBS News Baltimore affiliate WJZ.

The 31-year-old gunman had been accused of kidnapping his ex-girlfriend, Tracy Whitehead, on March 7. Whitehead said Palczynski beat her four days earlier when she moved out of their apartment and moved in with a co-worker, police said.

Authorities say Palczynski abducted Whitehead at gunpoint while fatally shooting George and Gloria Shenk, the couple which had sheltered her. Outside the Shenk home, he allegedly shot and killed David Meyers, 42, a neighbor who tried to help Whitehead during the struggle.

Whitehead escaped the next day by running to a police officer who happened to be at a motel where Palczynski took her.

Also that day, police said, Jennifer McDonel was fatally shot and a 2-year-old boy was wounded when they drove by as Palczynski fired shots during an attempted carjacking.

Palczynski then led police on a manhunt for more than a week, surfacing Friday in Dundalk, a suburb of Baltimore.

That day, police say, he broke into a home and stole guns, then shot his way into the home of Whitehead's relatives and held them hostage.


  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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