Funeral held for Gates man killed in attempted carjacking

Charles Molineaux
Updated: April 14, 2021 07:41 PM
Created: April 14, 2021 12:16 PM

GATES, N.Y. (WHEC) — Hundreds of people turned out Wednesday to say goodbye to 71-year-old Richard Sciascia, who was shot and killed in a carjacking attempt in Gates.

"I just can't believe he's gone. And such a tragedy,” close friend Celeste Zimmer said.

Within the limits of social distancing, a crowd packed St. Pius Church in Chili to say goodbye to a man widely remembered as a generous friend to all.

"He’d just take the shirt off his back, literally, if you asked him to,” said former next-door neighbor and childhood friend John Valerio. “Anybody who knows him will tell you the same thing.”

"Tragic. Why him? I still don't believe it. Heartbroken. Devastated. It's a tragedy,” added fellow bread industry worker Salvatore Ferrara.

Sciascia was shot and died in an attempted carjacking on Buell Road in Gates last week.

His funeral became a gathering to remember him as a father, grandfather, avid and fun card player, and as the "bread man" who made deliveries for Hostess for years, and turned fellow "bread guys" into lifelong friends.

"I can't say enough good things about him. I really can't,” former coworker Ed Barry said. "He was just a great guy. Played cards. Loved to have fun."

"He got up every day at 3 o'clock in the morning to deliver the bread. He was still doing it up until the day he died,” added Valerio, who first became friends with Sciascia when Valerio was eight years old.

The procession from the funeral to the cemetery drove past the memorial now in place at the scene on Buell Road.

Sciascia’s story also touched a stranger at the service, Gates Police Chief James VanBrederode, who’s now investigating his death. 

“If you look inside this church today, you see what kind of person Richard was and how many lives he touched,” VanBrederode said.  “This is the model citizen that you would hope all of us—and our kids—would become. And then you see how he was taken so senselessly. It’s just a sad day. It’s terrible.”

“He was the best guy in the world,” Valerio said. “If everybody was like him. We would be in a perfect world.”

So far, investigators have no suspects for Sciascia’s death.

"We have not forgotten. And the investigation has not stopped,” VanBrederode said. "We are still working around the clock on this. We have about 30 investigators assigned to it. And it's just going to take some time."

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