The Enterprise and the South San Francisco Journal reported that one Todor Kiprof shot and fatally wounded two men - Peter Giorgi and Spiro Gioref - at the “German and French Bakery” on Grand Avenue near Linden Avenue at about 3:30 p.m. one Monday afternoon in May 1908.
As is all too common, the root of the crime, in this case, a double murder, was money.
The bakery had stood for some time but had been sold to Giorgi in early April. A large part of the money to open the bakery came from Kiprof, although there had been other investors. Kiprof became frustrated that no money was coming back to him and demanded a full accounting from Giorgi. Giorgi basically told him to go away, probably because he had only owned the bakery for a very short time. Kiprof then threatened, in front of Gioref (the driver of the bakery’s delivery wagon), to kill Giorgi. According to The Enterprise, Giorgi and Gioref “laughed at Kiprof and told him that the business lost money ever since (Giorgi) took hold of it.”
Kiprof became furious, whipped out an automatic pistol, and began firing at the two men.
The shots in the middle of a peaceful spring afternoon quickly drew a crowd, and they found Giorgi still alive but “writhing on the floor.” The fastest way to a hospital was via the delivery wagon of Charles Young, a plumber. Giorgi died at the hospital later that night.
Gioref seemed to be merely wounded, as he was able to flee the bakery and run down the street shouting for the police. He made it as far as a nearby post office before he collapsed. He was taken to the same hospital and was lucid enough to make a statement to District Attorney J. J. Bullock, who had been summoned by the coroner. After making a full statement giving the details of the shootings, Gioref also died. Kiprof had walked down Grand Avenue, surrendered his gun, and quickly turned himself in.
With the testimony of the eyewitnesses very soon after the event and Gioref’s detailed statement, I was surprised to find only one brief follow-up in the Enterprise dated Sept. 12, 1908, which stated: “The trial of Todor Kiprof, who is charged with the murder of Spiro Giorgi in this city on May 11 last, has been set for next Tuesday in Redwood City. Kiprof was recently tried for the murder of Peter Giorgi and acquitted.”
Why Kiprof was acquitted in what seems to be a pretty open-and-shut case involving the murder of Giorgi is beyond me. And I couldn’t find any information about the result of the Gioref trial. If any reader(s) has more details on the outcome of this case and the fate of Kiprof, please leave it in the comments below!
There was one interesting side note to the whole tale, however, and The Enterprise reported on what was possibly an unrelated murder: Stoyan Steff, one of the eyewitnesses to the aftermath of the shootings (and perhaps also an investor in the bakery) was stabbed to death in July 1908. He was scheduled to take the stand in Kiprof’s first trial. But Steff gave a deathbed statement saying that he didn’t recognize his attacker.