A man who lost his job at a nail polish factory last year after child pornography was found on his office computer returned yesterday and shot two owners as well as an office manager before killing himself, according to the police.
The violence badly shook employees of the factory, Verla International, and residents of the hamlet, New Windsor, N.Y. Many said they searched their memories of the man the police identified as the gunman, Victor M. Piazza of Warwick, N.Y., to try to understand his outburst.
The three victims, who were all shot in the head, remained hospitalized last night.
The office manager, JoAnne Obrien, 48, of Monroe, N.Y., was in grave condition at St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital in Newburgh, a spokeswoman for the hospital said. She was declared brain dead, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Ms. Obrien, who is also the factory receptionist, was the first employee that Mr. Piazza encountered when he walked through the doors yesterday. He fired one round from his .38-caliber revolver into her head before continuing inside, said Chief Michael C. Bisotti of the New Windsor Police Department.
He then found and shot Robert Roth of Wallkill, N.Y., one of the owners, twice in the head, before continuing upstairs, where he also shot Mario Maffei, 57, of Greenwich, Conn., in the head, Chief Bisotti said.
Mr. Piazza then walked into an office, sat at a desk and fired a shot into his own head.
Although critically wounded, Mr. Roth, 65, was able to stagger from the building and was found by officers slumped near a grassy hill in the company parking lot. Last night, he was transferred from St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, where he was listed in critical condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.
The shooting caused bedlam in the factory, a squat, tan brick building, and in the surrounding area.
Last night, officials said they were investigating whether Mr. Piazza's dismissal in 2004 touched off the rampage. Chief Bisotti said that Mr. Piazza, a quality-control manager, had been involved in a dispute with another worker at the plant and that a short while later, company officials discovered child pornography on Mr. Piazza's computer, fired him and referred the case to the police.
In July, Mr. Piazza pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography. He was sentenced to 10 years' probation and was classified as a sex offender.
The child pornography case was not Mr. Piazza's first brush with the law, the Orange County district attorney, Francis D. Phillips, said yesterday. In 1984, Mr. Piazza was arrested on a charge of unlawfully dealing with a child, The New York Times reports.