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José Andrés Gómez Mena death

On January 13, 1917 billionaire Andrés Gómez Mena suffered an attack at the hands of the merchant Fernando Neugart. Mrs. Flora Alonso, wife of the aggressor, was also involved in this action, and everything seems to indicate that the tragedy took place because of her and her "close relations" with the wealthy Gómez Mena. Despite the efforts of the doctors, the tycoon could not survive the fight. The press of the moment published a detailed version of the events.

Fernando Neugart is described as "a man of remarkable stature, with lively eyes, resolute gestures and a black beard" who, at the police station, just after the events, "walked nervously, smoothing his scanty hair and looking suspiciously to everywhere".

Two months before the crime, Neugart was listed as a watchmaker in Neptune No. 1, almost opposite the Hotel Plaza, which he would later be forced to sell to get out of the bankruptcy in which bad business had engulfed him. According to Mr. Benigno Delgado, who bought him watchmaking, Neugart visited his old establishment daily, as he did the day of the murder. However, Delgado will say later, that day he did not show "signs of nervousness or worry about anything."

Flora Alonso, his wife, is said to be "beautiful, in the fullness of 30 years" and, also, that afternoon, after the attack and already at the police station, "he was wearing a gray suit, he was touching with a hat of refined taste and convulsively wrung a silver purse, which hung from a chain".

After a while in the delegation, Mrs. Alonso thought it was her right to retire home. However, one of the eyewitnesses of the crime immediately recognized her, giving the authorities to understand that the lady was not oblivious to what happened. Alonso, a shy woman who almost always went unnoticed, changed her attitude and, full of anger, turned to the accuser:

-What do you have to say about me? -He asked-. You do not know anything, you have not seen anything. Even so, she was stopped by the authorities.

Hours later, on the other hand, Fernando Neugart declared that the crime had been premeditated. At about 5:00 p.m. -he counted-, he saw Gómez Mena arrive accompanied by a priest and another man, so he was forced to wait. As soon as the two men left, and the victim was alone, he went to where he was and shot him "in all safety." However, the accused was lying. At the time of the crime, it was learned later, Gómez Mena was not accompanied by two men, but by Flora Alonso. This could be corroborated later, from private interviews with a couple of eyewitnesses.

These conversations allowed to know that Mrs. Alonso had asked a doorman of the Apple a while before if Gómez Mena was there at that moment. Shortly thereafter, just minutes later, Neugart entered the compound with a determined step, fired at the victim and quickly entrusted the weapon to his wife, who should hide it. However, this proved impossible. After the shooting, the place began to fill with onlookers and the guards, after approaching and arrest the couple as the main suspects in the attack, occupy Flora's hands "a small-caliber revolver with the five capsules unloaded". To make matters worse, Neugart was carrying another "caliber 32 (...) in the waist", which was confiscated immediately.

As for the victim, the medical certificate issued after the routine examination states the following:

"Andrés Gómez Mena, from Spain, 68, widower and neighbor of Concordia 44, presents a gunshot wound of small caliber, with an entrance hole in the external face, lower third of the right arm, and hole exit on the outer side of the same region; another analogous wound, with no exit hole on the outer third superior surface, all in the right arm, with a complete fracture of the corresponding humerus, on the upper part".

According to the same document, the injuries caused by the shooting were not fatal. However, shortly before 7:00 p.m. the tycoon died on the operating table. His death is attributed to several causes, the most likely being a heart condition or an internal effusion caused by traumatic shock.

Hotel Manzana
Hotel Manzana

San Rafael street between Monserrate & Zulueta
Old Havana, Cuba

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