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Man guilty of discharging gun in store

September 18, 2000

Man guilty of discharging gun in store



By JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer


A Hancock man received probation before judgment Monday after pleading guilty to discharging a firearm in a liquor store in Hancock, officials said.

Douglas Burnett, 33, of Main Street, has paid almost $800 in restitution to the owners of two vehicles damaged by the bullet after it went through a wall of the store, his attorney, Wiley Rutledge, told Washington County Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley.

Burnett was working at Potomac Discount Liquors next to the Park-N-Dine Restaurant on East Main Street on March 18 when the handgun went off while Burnett was handling it, said Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Arthur Rozes.

Rutledge said Burnett had the firearm because he feared for his safety after hearing Joseph Palczynski might be in Western Maryland.

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Palczynski fatally shot four people in Baltimore County, Md., over a two-day period in early March. He was shot to death on March 21 by police after a 98-hour hostage standoff in Baltimore County.

Burnett, who said he has taken a hunter's safety course, was inspecting the slide on the handgun when it went off. He said he later learned the gun's safety was broken.

"It was a shock to me," Burnett said.

Beachley sentenced Burnett to 18 months of unsupervised probation and ordered him to pay $325 in court costs.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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