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Shooting Spree Leaves 4 Dead

A man suspected of killing three people while kidnapping his estranged girlfriend was at large Thursday morning after a shooting rampage in which he shot three other people, one of whom later died.

The girlfriend was found safe at the Elridge Hotel, where her alleged abductor, Joseph Palczynski, 31, became engaged in a standoff with police late Wednesday.

Early Thursday, a room-by-room search of the small hotel didn't turn up the suspect. Police said they found an automatic rifle and a pistol-grip shotgun believed to have been used in the slayings.

George and Gloria Shenk were sheltering Palczynski's girlfriend, Tracy Whitehead, when a gunman walked into their apartment in Bowleys Quarters, about 10 miles east of Baltimore, on Tuesday night.

The gunman told Whitehead: "Tracy, get up, you're going," according to police reports. The Shenks were fatally shot, as was David Meyers, 42, a neighbor who tried to help Whitehead, police said.

The gunman and Whitehead were seen leaving in a van, police said.

By Wednesday night, police say, Palczynski had gone on a shooting rampage east of Baltimore. Major Jeff Caslin said the spree began about 7:45 p.m. when the suspect shot at and injured a woman traveling in her car with her husband.

About 15 minutes later, the man shot at a Chrysler LeBaron he was trying to steal, hitting a woman and her 2-year-old daughter who were driving by. The suspect took the LeBaron, but the driver was unharmed, Caslin said. A short time later, the man stole another car from an elderly woman, police said.

The woman injured in the first attack Wednesday later died at Franklin Square Hospital Center in Baltimore, hospital officials said. Conditions of the others injured in Wednesday's attacks were not immediately known.

Whitehead has told police that Palczynski beat her when she tried to move out of their apartment on Friday. He was arrested but was later released, according to police documents. The circumstances of the release weren't immediately explained.

The (Baltimore) Sun, citing court documents, reported Thusday that Palczynski had a history of mental illness and domestic violence, dating back to 1988.

Written By KATHY GAMBRELL
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