This story was originally published in Newsday on Dec. 9, 1993.
After nearly two decades of making the daily commute by himself, Dennis McCarthy was overjoyed in September when his son, Kevin, landed a job in Manhattan. Now he'd have some company for the train ride to the city and back home again to Mineola.
On Tuesday afternoon, Dennis McCarthy finished up a few minutes early at his job at the Prudential Securities office in Midtown, said his wife, Carolyn. Kevin, who worked in Prudential's Gold Street office, was running a little late.
The father didn't mind, though. He looked at the 42-minute train ride home with his only child as real quality time.
"When they actually started taking the train together, you could really see the bond developing between them," Carolyn McCarthy said.
On the 5:33 out of Penn Station, their fate was tied together. Seated alongside each other in car three as the train swept east toward home, Dennis McCarthy, 52, was killed when Colin Ferguson opened fire for less than three minutes with a 9-mm pistol, police said. Kevin, 26, was struck in the forehead, collapsing on the floor. Yesterday, he remained in intensive care, his mother by his side. His doctor said he probablywill be paralyzed on the left side of his body.
In bloody car three, four people who apparently did not know each other, who may never have spoken to each other, who were brought together by a common interest in getting home, died together in an explosion of gunfire on the Long Island Rail Road. James Gorycki, 51, was riding home to Mineola; Marita Theresa Magtoto, 30, was going home to Westbury; Richard Nettleton, 24, was heading home to Roslyn Heights. A fifth victim, Mi Kyung Kim, 27, who was going home to New Hyde Park, died late yesterday afternoon at Nassau County Medical Center in East Meadow.
Yesterday afternoon, Carolyn McCarthy stood outside North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. She had been by her son's side all night; now she wanted to go home "to say goodbye to my husband" in the two-story house they lived in for 27 years, she said.
"It's just so senseless," she said. "My husband is dead and now Kevin is going to be paralyzed . . . if he survives. . . . Kevin is my only child. And if he goes, I'm going to be all alone."
Then she broke down. "How could this happen to my family?"
For the Gorycki family, the same question was asked over and over. James Gorycki lived in Mineola for 15 years. Earlier this year, he transferred from the Long Island offices of Moore Business Forms and Systems to the company's Manhattan office. On Long Island, he drove to work, but after his transfer, he took the train. His wife, Joyce, said he took the 5:33 home almost every day.
"This was a horrible thing to happen to such a gentle, hard-working man," Joyce Gorycki said. "The family is now grieving the terrible loss of a loving father and a wonderful husband." She said her husband had four children, three by a previous marriage.
"He was a great person, easygoing, never hurt anybody, didn't deserve to die that way," said his son Kevin of Shirley.
A second son, Bryan, who also lives in Shirley, said that after the divorce, his father made sure his children didn't feel left out, taking them on trips to places like Montauk.
He said his father gave his children lessons to live by, telling them, " 'You should do everything by the law, follow religion, never do something that's not right.' He did everything by the book."
Gorycki's death drew family members from across Long Island and out of state yesterday to gather at Kevin Gorycki's home.
"He just got transferred about two or three months ago" to an office at Penn Plaza, just above the train station, Kevin Gorycki said. "He just started commuting. He didn't care for the trains too much."
Other survivors include two daughters, Kara and Karen; his mother, Helen; and brother Richard.
At Gorycki's Manhattan office, a vase of carnations sat on his desk, placed near photos of his wife and family by co-workers. "James had a heart of gold, always had a smile on his face," said his friend and co-worker Ed McNulty, the firm's regional manager.
Gorycki made his mark in the few months he worked at the Manhattan office, and yesterday, his co-workers told stories about how he had helped them. One of them who worked in another Moore office and knew Gorycki for 15 years - only through chats and business talk over the phone - said, "James was only a voice on the telephone, but he could have been my next-door neighbor."
He excelled in handling emergencies, perfecting deals and wrapping up even minuscule details.? ?McNulty said Gorycki won numerous "Salesman of the Month" awards. He also made the company's Achievement Club; to get in, employees had to increase their gross sales by a certain percentage each year. Gorycki succeeded in making the club six years.
Last year, Gorycki became a grandfather and brought photographs of his grandson, Kyle, to work. "He was elated," remembers salesman Joe Conwell. "Jim wanted to share that with everyone, all the joy of showing the pictures."
At Gorycki's old office in Woodbury, his friends wept when they heard he had been killed. "There were girls crying, totally devastated," Conwell said.
Like Gorycki, Marita Theresa Magtoto had just gotten a job in Manhattan, and her friends could tell that her life was going well, they said. A smile always seemed to grace the face of the Philippines native, her friends said.
"She was the sweetest person you ever wanted to know," said Dell Valenti, 42, who lived in the same house with Magtoto and her husband, Myto.
But Marita Magtoto had even more reason to be happy lately. A graduate of the University of the Philippines Law School who had moved to the United States with her husband more than a year ago, she had recently passed the New York State bar exam. Last week, she landed a legal job in Manhattan, Valenti said.
The new job meant that Magtoto's husband, an immigrations inspector at Kennedy Airport, would be able to afford to accompany her to the Philippines on Monday to visit her mother for the holidays.
"She was so excited. She told me a few days ago," Valenti said, pausing every few moments to hold back tears. "The poor thing. She was a sweet thing, and I don't say that about a lot of people."
On Tuesday, Magtoto had gone into Manhattan to meet with her new boss, Valenti said. Her husband drove her in, but she took the 5:33 back that night. Magtoto's husband learned of his wife's death while he was working at the airport Tuesday night, and returned home with his sister briefly yesterday before heading to her house in New Jersey, Valenti said.
Yesterday morning, neighbors of the couple gathered in front of the Westbury house where they'd lived for six months and cried.
"To know her was to love her," said one neighbor, who did not want her name used. The neighbor said Magtoto would always ask her if she needed any errands done when she walked nearly daily to shop on Carman Avenue. Magtoto often took Valenti's two small dogs, Remsen and Biscuit, for walks.
"She would take those dogs and run with them," the neighbor said. "She wouldn't walk. She floated up the street."
Valenti said Magtoto looked forward to walking with the dogs. Magtoto didn't drive, and when Valenti offered to let Magtoto borrow her bicycle to go shopping recently, Magtoto confided to her that she didn't know how to ride one.
"Her mother was very protective and never allowed her to ride a bike," said Valenti, who planned to teach her how to ride.
One of the places Magtoto always went was the Pearl of the Orient, a Filipino store on Carman Avenue.
"She was always here," said Mercy Martin, who runs the store filled with Filipino foods and spices. Magtoto always bought small rolls called pan de sal baliwag in Tagalog, and had asked Martin to teach her to make karekare, a Filipino oxtail stew.
"She wanted me to teach her because she loved it," Martin said.
Martin said Magtoto's husband was planning to bring her body back to Manila.
Yesterday evening, as darkness fell, the shades were drawn at the home of Richard Nettleton in Roslyn Heights.
A man who answered the door said, "We're trying to pull ourselves together and figure out what to do."
Residents on the quiet street were reluctant to talk about their neighbors of 12 years. Those who spoke said only good things of the 24-year-old and his parents, brother and sister.
"He was a hard-working kid, that Richard," said one neighbor. "Over the years he worked at Waldbaum's, a deli in Roslyn and a local video store."
The family built their home themselves, living in another house while the construction went on, and Richard was frequently seen working on the project.
Kenny Freedman, who grew up with Nettleton, said, "Richard was a writer, a musician, a man who loved the drums. He wrote short stories; he wrote lyrics to his music. Lurking on the horizon was a novel waiting to be born. I always admired Rich. He has the most amazing, loving and supportive family . . . For him to be killed like this is just devastating."
The fifth victim, Mi Kyung Kim, was pronounced dead late yesterday afternoon at Nassau County Medical Center. Yesterday afternoon, Kim's mother, speaking in Korean, said her daughter had been coming home from her job at Columbia University in Manhattan. Kim was a full-time assistant in the university's mathematics library, according to Columbia spokeswoman Judith Leynse. Kim's father, Suk Sik Kim, is a psychiatrist, according to a state medical society directory.
Mi Kyung Kim was born in the United States and was the eldest of three children, her mother said. She said she had watched her daughter being disconnected from life-support machines in the hospital.
"My heart is about to burst from grief," she said in Korean.
After returning to North Shore University Hospital from her Mineola home, Carolyn McCarthy spoke about her husband. "He started on the stock exchange when he was 14 as a runner," she said. "He worked his way up."
She said she and her husband spent Thanksgiving at the Killington ski resort in Vermont. "He was determined to win the Mogul Challenge at Killington this year for age 50 and over," she said.
The couple had rented a house in Killington for years. Skiing was a big part of their lives, she said, adding that they also were avid golfers. In February, the McCarthys would have been married 27 years.
Dennis McCarthy had taken the train to Manhattan for more than 20 years. On Tuesday, she said, he could have left at 4 p.m. - but he wouldn't have it. "Dennis would wait for him [Kevin]," she said. "They're close. It was so good to see them come in at 6:20."
Kevin, who graduated from New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury about two years ago, has a wealth of friends. Many of them were at the hospital all night. Carolyn sat next to him as long as she could. His surgeon, Dr. Nancy Epstein, said she was "hopeful" about Kevin's chances of surviving.
Carolyn McCarthy cried as she spoke. "I haven't had the time to have anger yet. I've got to sit with Kevin. I haven't even dealt with Dennis yet.
She said she and her husband felt fortunate. "We always said we had a real good life. We always did everything together. Dennis always gave me a big hug and kiss before he left for work each morning, and told me that he loved me."
Sylvia Adcock, William B. Falk, Maureen Fan, Alexander C. Kafka, Glenn Kessler, Jim Puzzanghera and Michael Slackman contributed to this story.