The Revenge and Redemption of Vido Opusich, Part II

Be sure to read Part 1 first!

Vido Opusich was born in Grad Dubrovnik, Dubrovačko-neretvanska, Croatia on January 9, 1881.

Croatia: The ancient core of the city of Split, the largest city in Dalmatia, built in and around the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian, by Ballota – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0


Opusich immigrated to America at age 14, exactly five years before he shot and killed Napoleon. At the time of the murder, he was employed by a Sansome street commission house as a fruit packer and living in the Colombo Hotel, on Broadway.

Colombo Hotel. From

His obsession with Petrovich began two weeks before the murder, on May 30, when they met in a saloon, by chance. Opusich often dined at the restaurant where Napoleon worked, and casually greeted him. The waiter, however, accused the young fruit packer of refusing to pay for his meals. Vido, infuriated, denied the accusation.

The two began to argue, and the waiter seized a heavy porcelain pitcher and struck Opusich in the head. It produced a nasty gash, and Vido was unable to stop the bleeding on his own. He went to a nearby drug store at the corner of Pacific and Stockton for aid.

A porcelain pitcher


The apothecary carefully attended to the injured young man. The wound required six stitches. “It will fade, but I’m afraid you’ll have quite a scar,” he murmured, as he put a piece of gauze over the wound.

Vido thanked the apothecary and returned to his room. But he could not sleep. The thought that he would have to carry a permanent scar on his face maddened him.

The next morning, he arose early. Despite a splitting headache, Opusich decided it was necessary to run an errand before going to work.

The clerk at a Kearney street pawn shop had scarcely unlocked the door for the day when it was opened, and Vido Opusich entered and asked the clerk for a gun. Minutes later, he left, now carrying a .28 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver.

Back in his room later that night, Opusich continued to brood over what had happened. He paced back and forth until an idea occurred to him. Seizing a sheet of paper, he began to write, slowly and laboriously.

I am going to commit suicide tomorrow morning, and if I get a chance to kill Napoleon, I’ll do it; if not I will kill myself anyway, because I am cut forever on my forehead and I cannot stand it. It seems to me something shameful and that is the thing I die for. Goodbye, all friends, goodbye, forever. Vido Opusich

“But Opusich did not kill himself on the following day,” The San Francisco Call reported. “He evidently reconsidered his decision and resolve to first slay the man who scarred him. Since that time, he has dogged his would-be victim from place to place, waiting for the opportunity to commit the crime.”

A collage depicting the murder and the motive, by The San Francisco Call


After the murder, police detectives searched Vido’s room and discovered the note. When this information leaked, the press printed the contents of the letter. “The crime, as revealed by a note the murderer wrote some time ago, was of a most desperate and premeditated character,” The San Francisco Call concluded.

The motive for murdering Napoleon was, of course, Revenge.

Go to Part 3!

2 thoughts on “The Revenge and Redemption of Vido Opusich, Part II

  1. Pingback: The Revenge and Redemption of Vido Opusich, Part III – old spirituals

  2. Pingback: The Revenge and Redemption of Vido Opusich, Part I – old spirituals

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