With all the improvements made to Sandy Hook Center to give that little business district the air of quaint New England gentility, it is hard to believe that a mere 35 years ago, the same spot was the scene to rival that of the OK Corral.
When the shooting was over, two men lay dead and another was in critical condition in the backyard of the Sandy Hook Hotel at 109 Church Hill Road just across from the Sandy Hook Diner. The incident was one of the most violent episodes in the town's history, and for years was recognized as an iconic part of Sandy Hook's past.
It began when 49-year-old Donald Krosky refused to move. For a year he had rented the old hotel and ran the Village Cafe on its lower level. His lease had an option to buy at the end of the year, but in July, the owner decided he had a better offer and proceeded to force Krosky out, first by seeing that his liquor license was revoked and later by threats.
On the Monday before the shooting, he received a telephone call from some Bridgeport toughs warning him to vacate the hotel by Thursday or face the consequences.
Thursday, July 31, 1975, dawned and Krosky spent the morning locked in his café, crouching behind the bar. At 12:10, a car parked in front of the hotel, and three men got out. Going to the rear of the building they proceeded to pick the lock of the café entrance.
Exactly what followed will never be fully known as the various newspaper accounts indicate. They all agree a series of shots were heard although the witnesses disagreed widely on how many.
Krosky called the police and when they arrived, they found the first man lying dead just inside the door with a large jackknife at his side. Another was face down in the back yard, also dead, and a third, just a few feet further, was face down in critical condition. None of the man carried firearms, but had been shot by a 44 magnum carbine Krosky owned.
The men who were sent to evict Krosky were widely assumed to be members of the Hell's Angels because they sported tattoos on their arms of a skull with the words "Hell's Angels" below. The head of the motorcycle gang interviewed in Bridgeport, said the men were not wearing gang colors and did not have their leather jackets with the gang's insignia painted on the back, so they were not on "official" Hell's Angels business
During questioning it came out that the café was a favorite haunt of a rival gang and Krosky was known to say "they were his people."
Krosky was acquitted of the murders on the grounds of self defense, but the café proprietor was not completely free after the dead men's friends went looking for him.
He frequently changed his route home to Trumbull, but about a year later, his luck ran out. While stopped at a traffic light, two motorcyclists pulled up on either side of him, and shot him to death.