By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/27/10
Former Villanova men’s lacrosse captain Eddie DiDonato continues to recover from his seventh surgery since being shot six times in Old City on Jan. 17 and remains in fair condition today at Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, a spokesperson said.
DiDonato, 23, of Blue Bell, is recovering from gunshots to the chest, abdomen, colon, lungs and hand. He was downgraded to critical condition late Sunday after suffering an infection but was stabilized by doctors late Monday, according to his best friend, Rob Forster.
Forster, who visited DiDonato this afternoon, said the doctors were optimistic that his recovery was back on track. DiDonato remains in Intensive Care with a breathing tube, but was mouthing words to Forster – who said doctors planned to perform another surgery Friday to complete previous surgery in his stomach.
The suspect in the shooting, Gerald Ung, 28, a third-year Temple law student, had his preliminary hearing continued Monday and rescheduled for April 16. He is charged with attempted murder and is out on 10 percent of $200,000 bail.
Police continue to investigate the shooting, but have provided few details on the motive or what led to the altercation in the 300 block of Market Street at 2:45 a.m. Because the shootings were caught on Fox 29 surveillance tapes, public opinion on the case has run rampant on the Internet.
There are several Facebook sites and other blog sites addressing the incident and questioning whether Ung is guilty or innocent due to self-defense.
Forster – who played lacrosse with DiDonato at La Salle – started the “Support Eddie DiDionato in his road to recovery!!!” That page had more than 2,500 fans this afternoon, including many words of encouragement on the Wall. DiDonato’s sister, Kristin, is blogging at http://www.hopinandprayin-girl123.blogspot.com.
Ung also is the focus of a Facebook page: “Gerald Ung is Innocent.” That page is accompanied by a “Just fans” section with support mostly for Ung. There are more sites online commenting on the case at AbovetheLaw.com and at PhiladelphiaSpeaks.com.
DiDonato, the nephew of city Republican leader Michael Meehan, was a two-time captain and a four-year starter (defense) at Villanova. He graduated last May with a degree in criminal justice.
DiDonato was an All-American for La Salle in 2005 and helped the Explorers win the 2004 state championship. He was a four-year starter at Villanova, and led the Wildcats to the Colonial Athletic Association championship last year and into the NCAA Division I tournament for the first time in school history. He also earned Second Team All-CAA honors.
DiDonato helped lead La Salle to the Keystone Cup championship as a junior when the Explorers went 28-2 and whipped Shady Side Academy, 13-5, for the state crown. As a senior he led La Salle to the finals of the Eastern Pennsylvania Scholastic Athletic Association tournament where his Explorers (29-3) fell to Haverford School.