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  1. #1
    TheeBadOne's Avatar
    TheeBadOne is offline Why so serious?
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    Police officer took a bullet to keep family safe

    Police officer took a bullet to keep family safe

    Those who knew young Dormont police Officer Greg Scorzafave were not surprised that he would single-handedly take on the notorious Gaito Brothers burglars, an encounter in 1959 that nearly cost him his life.

    "Several months after Dad joined the Dormont police force, there was a rash of burglaries," said Robert Scorzafave. "But what worried Dad was the viciousness in the way the burglaries took place. The brothers weren't content to steal valuables, but to also damage the houses."

    Gregory Donald Scorzafave Jr., of Bethel Park, formerly of Dormont, died of congestive heart failure on Monday, April 16, 2007, at St. Clair Memorial Hospital, Mt. Lebanon. He was 77.

    "When two neighboring houses were burglarized, Dad knew he had to do something. Mom was pregnant at the time and it worried Dad, especially when she was alone," his son said. "He sent Mom and my brothers away for the night and staked out in our house.

    "As soon as the brothers broke into the kitchen, all hell broke loose: The Gaitos began to fire. Dad was shot in the chest, but managed to wound Frank Gaito, who later was found abandoned in the driveway of Mercy Hospital (Uptown).

    "His brother, Joseph, was caught later while attempting another robbery with another partner. They were arrested and given the name the 'Chicken Hill Bandits,' the name of the locale where they were caught."

    Robert Scorzafave said his father was hit in the chest by a bullet that narrowly missed his heart. "Dad spent almost six weeks in the hospital, but what pleased him was the number of cards and letters he received from residents and police officers throughout the state."

    Born in Brookline and raised in Dormont, Mr. Scorzafave was one of five children of Gregory Sr. and Concetta Mancuso Scorzafave. His father was employed by the former Pittsburgh Railways Co.

    In 1947, after graduating from Connelley Vocational High School, Uptown, Mr. Scorzafave pitched for one season for the Philadelphia Phillies farm team in North Carolina.

    In 1949, while employed as an electrician for Pittsburgh Railways, Mr. Scorzafave married his childhood sweetheart, Philomena Gaglia, who emigrated from Italy when she was 8 years old.

    "My parents were always a team," said Richard Scorzafave. "For years, they volunteered at Kane Hospital, where they would take the patients to church services and on field trips.

    "Even after Mom died, Dad continued his volunteer work at Kane. After Dad retired from the police force in 1987, he was employed as a court security officer at the Federal Courthouse in downtown Pittsburgh.

    "Dad was a patriot who loved this country and its history. He would decorate the entrance to the Federal Building with the theme of the holiday that was being celebrated.

    "Dad often said that although our family had an Italian background, we were Americans, and we were proud of it."

    Mr. Scorzafave is survived by his sons, Donald, of Scott; Robert, of Mt. Washington; and James, of Tucson; and three grandchildren, Lisa, Lauren and Matthew. He was preceded in death by his wife, Philomena Gaglia Scorzafave, in 1990; and a son, Gregory III, in 2003.

    Visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m. today at William Slater II Funeral Home, Greentree Road, Scott.

    A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. Friday at St. Thomas More Church, Bethel Park. Burial will follow in St. Anne Cemetery, Castle Shannon.

    "When I'm driving along and I see a sign that says, CAUTION: SMALL CHILDREN AHEAD,
    I slow down, and then it occurs to me, I'm not afraid of small children"!

  2. #2
    countybear's Avatar
    countybear is offline BDRT - Baby Daddy Removal Team
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    Rest easy, brother.

    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
    - Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

    Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
    That from the nunnery
    Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
    To war and arms I fly.
    - Lovelace

    The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in representation of his employer, its agencies or assigns. In fact, they probably fail to be in alignment with the opinions of any rational human being.

  3. #3
    conalabu is offline Grasshopper
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    May people say as kind words about all of us. RIP.
    And Shepards we shall be,
    for thee, My Lord, for thee,
    Power hath descended forth from Thy hand,
    That our feet may swiftly carry out Thy Command.
    So we shall flow a river forth to Thee
    And teeming with souls will it ever be.
    In Nomine Patris, Et Filli, Et Spiritus Sancti.



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