“They always made faces at me.”
This was the explanation Dominico Omogrosso provided hours after fatally shooting two and wounding a third while on his night guard shift at the Schenley Hotel in Oakland.
Omogrosso, 58 at the time of the shootings, had immigrated from Naples, Italy, through Ellis Island in 1919. Sick for many years, Omogrosso had difficulty finding work in Pittsburgh and his fear of needles kept him away from the doctor. As a result, he was largely supported by his wife Ema until she got him a job as the Schenley Hotel’s night guard.
His rampage started in the hotel’s basement shortly after midnight on July 12, 1950, where Omogrosso had his sights set on Alfonso Marano, a former friend and baker at the Schenley.
Omogrosso then made his way upstairs to the ballroom, reloading his gun on the stairs. He found his second victim, H.H. Kunde, assistant night manager of the Schenley, relaxing in a swivel chair reading a newspaper. Spinning Mr. Kunde around, Omogrosso shot him twice – in the neck and arm – at point-blank range. Mr. Kunde narrowly survived the incident.
John S. Harper stood at a telephone receiver just feet away watching the events unfold when Omogrosso turned the gun toward him. Two shots were fired, and Mr. Harper was pronounced dead hours later.
Omogrosso scurried to the hotel lobby, smoke still rising from his revolver. His wife, who heard gunshots from the bakery, approached him in an attempt to stop the shooting spree.
“Don’t touch the gun,” he warned. “I got even with them.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Kunde dashed to the back elevator where he rode up seven floors to a resident physician who called the police and treated him for his wounds.
Omogrosso was soon arrested and questioned by police before unloading on any other workers that night. While questioned, Omogrosso shockingly had no recollection of shooting Mr. Kunde or Mr. Harper.
In court, Omogrosso was described as listless and apathetic. Only when the Coroner’s Jury announced the verdict of homicide did Omogrosso show any interest in the proceedings.
Deemed insane, he was admitted to Farview State Hospital for the Criminally Insane after a judge declared Omogrosso suffered from “delusions of persecution” for almost 40 years.
Whether Omogrosso spent the rest of his life in Farview or prison is unclear, as searches through Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Press archives, Ancestry.com, and Google News provided no information regarding the later years of his life.
Omogrosso died in 1971.