DALLAS — Major league umpire Steve Palermo and former NFL defensive lineman Terence Mann were shot early Sunday while trying to help two waitresses being robbed in a restaurant parking lot.
Palermo, an American League umpire since 1977, was in serious condition after surgery, said Parkland Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Esther Bauer. He was shot once in the back, she said.
His wounds were not considered life-threatening, AL spokeswoman Phyllis Merhige said.
Rich Garcia, Palermo's crew chief who spoke with him after the two-hour surgery, said, "There's a possibility of some paralysis, and that's our biggest concern. We've got a couple of days to wait. Hopefully, he'll come out of it. There's a lot of optimism."
But Bauer said Palermo did not exhibit any signs of paralysis.
"He has no paralysis at this point," she said late Sunday.
Mann, who played for the Miami Dolphins in 1987-88 and college football at Southern Methodist University from 1983-86, sustained a gunshot wound to the neck and was listed in good condition.
Police gave this account of the incident:
Palermo was at Campisi's Egyptian Restaurant, a popular nightspot for sports figures, for dinner after working third base in Saturday night's game between the Angels and the Texas Rangers. Shortly before 1 a.m., a bartender noticed four men robbing the women at gunpoint in the restaurant's parking lot. Palermo, Mann and an employee rushed to help.
The robbers made off with the purse of a woman who had been knocked down and punched in the face. Three of the suspects drove off, and the rescuers chased the fourth across a highway overpass.
While they tried to make a citizen's arrest without a weapon, the suspects returned in the car and one fired two shots, wounding Palermo and Mann.
The four suspects, three adults and a juvenile, were later apprehended. Kevin Bivens, 21, was charged with two counts of attempted murder and one count of robbery. Gerry Fuller, 26, and Vernon Myers, 20, were charged with robbery. The juvenile remained in the custody of juvenile authorities.
Palermo, 41, joined the American League umpiring staff in 1977.
Other members of Saturday night's umpiring crew were Mike Reilly and Durwood Merrill. They were not with Palermo when he was shot, police said.
Terry Craft flew in from Kansas City to replace Palermo and umpired at second base Sunday. A moment of "prayerful thought" was accorded Palermo by the Arlington Stadium crowd before the game.