American Dies Trying to Save Another's Life

TIMES STAFF WRITER

One American was killed in the fiery Moscow battles between Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin's backers and his opponents--a 26-year-old lawyer from Louisiana who died trying to save another man's life, friends said Tuesday.

Terry Duncan, a graduate of the George Washington University law school who had come to Moscow recently to set up a small law firm with a college buddy, was shot in the head Sunday night in the battle over the Ostankino television center on the north side of town.

Friends said Duncan was shot as he was trying to help free-lance photographer Otto Pohl, who had been hit by shrapnel in the chest, by stanching Pohl's bleeding and trying to keep him from losing consciousness.

After a few minutes, said Wendy Blount, an American friend of Duncan's, Pohl looked over and saw that Duncan had fallen silent and that his head was covered in blood.

"He died trying to save someone's life. That's what kind of a person he was," said Jamison Firestone, Duncan's law partner and college friend.

Friends said they did not know what Duncan had been doing at the Ostankino television center, where a brutal battle raged Sunday night between Yeltsin's supporters and backers of the rebellious Russian Parliament over control of the key broadcasting facility. Pohl was taking photographs for the New York Times.

Duncan apparently went there out of curiosity, just as hundreds of Muscovites gathered near the White House, as the Parliament building is known, to watch the fighting despite the danger from ricochets and stray bullets.

Duncan and Firestone, friends since their undergraduate days at Tulane University, had founded a law firm, Firestone, Duncan & Associates, that specialized in helping new businesses register in Russia.

Firestone said he had identified Duncan's body in the morgue, and the U.S. Embassy also confirmed the death. Firestone said Duncan was from Baton Rouge but had lived in Washington lately and had arrived in Moscow about three months ago.

Another American, 23-year-old paralegal Julie Brooks, was reported seriously injured in the Moscow battles.

Mark W. Borghesani, a lawyer in the local office of the Chicago firm Baker & Mackenzie, where Brooks worked, said she had been shot twice in the "midsection" and was in critical condition at Moscow's Botkin Hospital.

Americans reported injured, besides photographer Pohl, 24, who underwent surgery to remove the shrapnel in his lung, were two CNN cameramen, Michael Johnson and J.R. Hall. Hall got a concussion and Johnson a broken hand when they were surrounded by a hostile mob Sunday.

Also hurt was a Marine guard at the U.S. Embassy, who was shot in the neck during the storming of the White House, which is just across from the embassy. He was reported in satisfactory condition.

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