Death linked to home invasion

WARREN – Police on Friday were awaiting results of an autopsy to determine how a man was killed at his home on the northwest side of the city Thursday night.

Warren police Lt. Dan Mason said it appeared the death of Dominic “Dino” Bufano, 55, was connected to a Thursday night home invasion at his 1341 Bingham Ave. N.W. home. Police said Bufano’s body was found in the basement of the home he shared with his 85-year-old mother, Donatina Bufano. She is listed as the property owner, according to the Trumbull County Auditor’s website

Donatina Bufano was upstairs when she heard a struggle in the basement area of the Cape Cod-style house. The woman, who uses a wheelchair, called 911 around 7:30 p.m. Police sources said she was taken to a local hospital for evaluation, but later went to a relative’s home.

“She apparently heard a disturbance downstairs and was concerned about her son, so she contacted police. When they arrived, they found him downstairs,” Mason said.

Police would not say how they believe Dominic Bufano was killed, but confirmed they were investigating his death as a homicide. They said it appeared he suffered trauma and they believe a weapon was used, but they did not indicate what type.

Mason said detectives interviewed one witness, but police did not want to speculate on a motion so early in the investigation.

Mason said there didn’t appear to be any forced entry. There is an outside door that leads to the basement area where Dominic Bufano stayed.

Neighbors, who requested their names to not be published, said the neighborhood is typically quiet and that both the mother, who stayed in the upstairs area of the house, and son mostly kept to themselves.

Warren police records show no police activity at the home in recent years other than on July 10 when the security alarm was set off accidentally.

A neighbor said Dominic Bufano was recovering from a broken leg and was still wearing a cast when he was killed.

“He was a nice guy. Quiet. He had some problems and had gotten down on his luck and all, but he kept to himself a lot,” he said.

A woman, whose parents have lived in the neighborhood for years, said two men had been arguing loudly at the corner near the residence Wednesday night. A witness told police he saw a man walking along the side of the Bufano home and onto the street Thursday evening around the time of the killing.

About 9:50 p.m. Thursday, an ambulance backed up to the rear of the home and what appeared to be a body was removed from the house on a stretcher.

A representative from the Trumbull County Coroner’s Office said an autopsy would be completed late Friday and that more details would be available Monday morning. The case was assigned to an outside coroner because Trumbull County Coroner Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk was out of town.

Police have not said whether they recovered a murder weapon. When news reporters were at the residence on Friday, reporter Jeff Levkulich of Tribune Chronicle news partner WYTV Channel 33 spotted a utility knife outside in a grassy area near the house where a witness said he saw an unknown man walking Thursday evening.

A neighbor told reporters he had cleared weeds and grass from that area on Wednesday and that the knife was not there at that time.

Reporters called police back to the scene and officers collected the knife as evidence, but did not say whether it could be linked to the killing. Police logged it into evidence as connected to the crime.

As of late Friday, no arrests had been made. If the coroner rules the death a homicide, it will be Warren’s fifth of 2014.