At New York Factory, Workplace Shooting Leaves Three Injured, One Dead

Fired employee was able to walk in the front door, shot co-workers, manager in head, then himself


NEW WINDSOR, New York (AP) - A fired employee walked into a nail polish factory Monday and shot the co-owners and a manager in the head before killing himself, police said.

All three of the people shot by Victor M. Piazza survived, although one was critically injured.

Piazza was fired from Verla International after being arrested in 2004 on charges he had child pornography on his company computer. He was sentenced to 10 years probation, police said.

"I'm sure that he was upset at management," said Police Chief Michael Biasotti. "We don't know why this occurred."

Piazza walked through the factory's front door at about noon, armed with a .38 revolver.

Factory co-owners Mario Maffei, 57, and Robert Roth, 65, were in stable condition Monday evening. Office manager JoAnne OBrien, 48, was in critical condition, authorities said.

District Attorney Frank Phillips said Piazza had no history of criminal violence but was arrested in the mid-'80s for unlawfully dealing with a child. Officials did not have details on that arrest.

Police found Maffei lying in the parking lot with a gunshot wound to his head. Roth was at the bottom of a stairway. Both men were conscious. OBrien was found slumped in a chair, unconscious.

Around 3:30 p.m., police removed a body from the factory, which lies just outside the old industrial city of Newburgh, about 55 miles (90 kilometers) north of New York City. The factory employs about 400 people, and workers were allowed back in to collect their belongings before being sent home Monday.

A man who answered the phone at Piazza's house identified himself as the gunman's father but declined to give his first name. He said police informed him of his son's death, but gave no other details.

He did not know how long his son had worked at Verla but said there was nothing to indicate he was upset with his former employer.

"Oh, no, nothing like that," he said.

A call to the company was not answered Monday afternoon.

(c) 2005 Associated Press