The youngest son of the late Montreal mafia godfather Vito Rizzuto, Leonardo Rizzuto, was shot in the leg on Wednesday afternoon at the corner of highways 13 and 440 in Laval, while driving his vehicle. The case could cause an escalation or at the very least an aftershock in the organized crime world.
The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) first reported having been called to the scene of the Yves Légaré funeral home around 4:30 p.m. Spokesperson Stéphane Tremblay indicated that one person had been injured, but that ‘we don’t fear for our life. Various police sources confirmed to La Presse on Wednesday that the person targeted is Leonardo Rizzuto, 53 years old. He was transported to a hospital center. A vast investigation was opened in parallel.
Bursts of gunfire were reportedly fired from a moving vehicle at Rizzuto’s car on 440 West at mile 20, according to our information. Also according to our information, Rizzuto was driving and would have been alone in the car. Everything indicates that he then drove for several tens of meters before coming to a stop in the parking lot of the funeral home.
Rizzuto, who has his title of lawyer, has no criminal history except for impaired driving cases dating from the early 1990s. However, he is considered by the Montreal police as one of the leaders of the Sicilian clan of the Montreal Mafia and one of the influential members of Montreal organized crime.
Several patrollers from the Laval police and the Sûreté du Québec were dispatched to the scene on Wednesday, a large security perimeter having been erected in front of the funeral home and on Highway 440, where the first bursts took place. Rizzuto’s vehicle, a Mercedez-Benz GLE, had flat tires. At the time La Presse passed, at least eight bullet holes could also be seen on the front left window, indicating that the shots may have initially been aimed at Rizzuto’s head.
A funeral center official met at the scene indicated that the establishment will not comment on this event for the moment. The young guardian Alexandra Geramoutsos, meanwhile, was in an apartment located in front of the funeral center when the event occurred. “I saw an ambulance and several police cars coming all at once. And they erected a police perimeter quickly,” she said.
“We always play around, her and I. We often walk in the neighborhood, continues Ms. Geramoutsos of the young girl she regularly babysits. Of course that worries me. If it was her or me… Now, we wonder if we will continue to do all this. She is like my little sister. »
At the time, Maryse, a resident of the neighborhood, also said that she did not hear any shots, but saw several patrol cars arriving at a whirlwind. “We thought it must be serious, we wondered if someone had shot inside the establishment. Then, then, we understood by reading the news, ”she exclaims in the frame of her door.
Leonardo Rizzuto was arrested in November 2015 in Operation Magot-Mastiff in which the Sûreté du Québec beheaded a mafia-biker-gang alliance that ran Montreal’s organized crime, and was charged with gangsterism and possession of a weapon fist and drugs.
But the evidence came mainly from a conversation picked up during the investigation by microphones installed by the police in the conference room of former criminal lawyer Loris Cavaliere. The police then obtained a warrant allowing them to search his home, where they found the gun and a small amount of cocaine.
But Rizzuto challenged the legality of the wiretap, which he said violated attorney-client privilege, and won. The search warrant was therefore invalidated and Rizzuto was acquitted, as was Stefano Sollecito, also considered one of the leaders of the Sicilian clan of the Montreal mafia.
Leonardo’s older brother, Nicola Rizzuto Jr., was murdered in December 2009 in what was the genesis of an attempted coup against the family by rebel Mafia clans. His grandfather and former godfather, Nicola Rizzuto, and his uncle, Paolo Renda, were respectively murdered and abducted — never found — in November and May 2010, during the same coup attempt.
Vito Rizzuto, for his part, died of natural causes in December 2013. The attempted murder of Leonardo Rizzuto must be considered a major event in the criminal world in Montreal and could cause an escalation or at the very least an aftershock. Several individuals linked to organized crime have been warned by the police that their lives have been in danger for a year, but these warnings are commonplace in the community.
Although police sources have reported some tensions within the mafia in recent months, others have told us recently that the situation has been much calmer since the elimination in 2019 of the brothers Salvatore and Andrew Scoppa who also had took part in a power war against Sicilians in 2016, according to police.
The latest attacks targeting mafia-linked individuals came last fall when a cocaine importer, Vincenzo Armeni, was killed in October and a former lieutenant of the Rizzuto clan now close to the bikers, Francesco Del Balso, was the target of an attempted murder a month later. Both events occurred in Laval.