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Shooting victim DiDonato is upgraded to fair condition; few details known about incident as police continue investigation

Wednesday, 20th January 2010

Categories Boy's/Men's, Features  

By Chris Goldberg, Posted 1/20/10

Eddie DiDonato – the former Villanova lacrosse captain and All-American at La Salle College High – has been upgraded to fair condition at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital as he attempts to recover from six gunshots during an altercation in the Old City section of Philadelphia Sunday morning, a hospital spokesperson said.

DiDonato, 23, of Blue Bell, has faced three surgeries and still has five bullets lodged in his shoulders and abdomen, has been told. The shootings occurred at 2:45 a.m. in the 300 block of Market Street in front of the Fox 29 TV studio where surveillance videos captured much of the bizarre incident.

DiDonato has had successful procedures done to his lungs and small intestines as well as his shoulders and hand, according to exclusive interviews with his best friend, Rob Forster. More surgery was planned for Thursday, Forster said today, but doctors are optimistic about his recovery and all of the life-threatening problems have been solved.

The suspect, Gerald Ung, 28, is a law student at Temple University. He was apprehended at the scene, and arraigned an attempted murder and other charges. He was released Monday on 10 percent of $200,000 bail. The gun used in the shootings was recovered.

According to a report in The Philadelphia Inquirer, DiDonato is the nephew of city Republican leader Michael Meehan and part of the family that’s run Philadelphia’s Republican party for three generations.

The Inquirer reported that DiDonato’s father, Edward DiDonato Sr., is an attorney at the Center City law firm of Fox Rothschild, and his mother, Marianne, is Meehan’s sister.

The details of the shootings remain sketchy despite the fact videos of the incident have circulated all over the city. What led to the altercation, which involved more than 10 people, and the motive for the shootings remain under investigation.

The video, aired by Fox 29 the evening of the incident, shows two groups of men engaging in an altercation and shows DiDonato moving toward the alleged shooter, and even continuing to engage in the altercation while being shot.

On Facebook, a group titled “Gerald Ung is Innocent” was created and now has swelled to 149 fans. Meanwhile, Forster created a facebook page called :Support Eddie DiDonato on his Road to Recovery.” That page has nearly 200 fans.

DiDonato was an All-American (defenseman) for La Salle in 2005 that 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, earning Second Team All-CAA honors.

DiDonato, who graduated from Villanova in May with a degree in Criminal Justice, had just begun a full-time job last Monday for Nationwide in Plymouth Meeting.

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 when his Explorers (29-3) fell to Haverford School. DiDonato was a two-time all-EPSLA (All-State) pick and played club lacrosse for the Duke’s Lacrosse Club.

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