DALLAS (AP) _ Baseball umpire Steve Palermo, shot in the back last month while chasing four robbery suspects, said Tuesday he isn't angry at his assailants nor sorry he got in their way.

''I think my wife's got the anger. I don't have the anger,'' Palermo, 41, said at a news conference at the Dallas Rehabilitation Institute. It was his first public appearance since the July 7 shooting.

''Those guys were in the wrong place at the wrong time,'' Palermo insisted, his voice cracking. ''We weren't. They were.''

Crying, the American League umpire, who now walks with crutches and leg braces, took a moment to collect himself. Then he said:

''I'm going to walk again. Long before their punishment may be up. So who got the worst part of the deal?''

Dr. John Milani, medical director of the institute's Spinal Cord Unit, said Palermo was shot in the tip of the spinal cord and the prognosis is good for his continued recovery. But he said it was impossible to tell if Palermo would be able to return to work.

But Palermo insisted: ''I will umpire again.''

Palermo, an umpire since 1977, was eating dinner at a Dallas restaurant when he saw four men try to rob waitresses outside and he and two other men and helped catch one assailant.

The four suspects were captured and the alleged triggerman was charged with two counts of attempted murder. Their trials are pending.