Police identify Giorgio Barresi as victim of Hamilton's second homicide of 2020

Officers were called to the house on Portofino Place around 10:45 p.m. and found Baressi with multiple gunshot wounds. He died of his injuries at the scene.

'He was admired by all his colleagues and will be sadly missed,' says Joe Ferrante

Giorgio Barrasi has been identified as the victim of Hamilton's second homicide of 2020. Police say the 42-year-old was gunned down in his driveway on March 2. (Royal LePage)

Hamilton police have identified Giorgio Barresi as the man who was shot and killed in his Winona driveway Monday night.

The 42-year-old was a married father with children, who worked as a real estate agent in Stoney Creek. 

It's a name that's familiar to Antonio Nicaso, a Mafia expert who teaches courses on organized crime at Queen's University. He said someone by that name has historic ties to the Musitano crime family.

"He was allegedly involved in illegal betting, gaming, gambling," said Nicaso.

Police were called to a house on Portofino Place near Fifty Point Conservation Area around 10:45 p.m. and found Barresi with multiple gunshot wounds. He died of his injuries at the scene.

The homicide unit is continuing to investigate. Police say members of Barresi's family were home when the trigger was pulled. They believe a four-door sedan and possibly multiple suspects were involved.

Barresi was an agent with Royal LePage's Stoney Creek branch, according to broker of record Joe Ferrante, who said he has no details about how the shooting happened.

Police were called to Portofino Place in Stoney Creek around 10:45 p.m. on March 2 and found a man with gunshot wounds. Investigators say he later died of his injuries. (Andrew Collins/CBC)

Staff there found out about their colleague's death Tuesday, said Ferrante.

"We're extremely saddened by the news," he said, adding his thoughts are with Barresi's wife and family.

"He was a very popular agent within the office. He was admired by all his colleagues and will be sadly missed."

Website stresses hard work and dedication

A series of social media videos starring Barresi show him touring various properties in the city and interviewing guests.

Barresi's website describes him as someone who was born into a "hard working, blue collar Italian family" in the "heart of Hamilton" near Gage Park.

It says he attended Cathedral High School and earned a degree in advertising and marketing at Mohawk College. 

"He learned from a very early age that through hard work, dedication, commitment, reliability and focus, anything he put his mind to he would accomplish," the website reads.

Police say they are keeping an open mind about the motivation behind the targeted shooting that killed Barresi, but an investigator did acknowledge there are "similarities" between it and recent deaths involving victims with connections to organized crime who were killed at home.

On Tuesday Det. Sgt. Jim Callender said he wasn't aware of any links between the most recent homicide victim and traditional organized crime, but that's something police will look into as part of their investigation.

The detective did say Barresi was known to police, "but the interactions were limited."

Killings can send a message

Newspaper clippings from the Hamilton Spectator reference 22-year-old man named Giorgio Barresi who pleaded guilty to bookmaking in 1999, along with seven others. Pat Musitano was among those initially charged in connection with the multimillion-dollar betting ring, but his charges were withdrawn.

Nicaso was quick to point out that nature of Barresi's death and the fact he was gunned down in front of his house does not automatically mean he died in a mob hit, but it is possible.

Following recent deaths where the victims were linked to organized crime, investigators have referenced an ongoing power struggle in the criminal underworld.

Nicaso said the ripples of a mob war that started in Montreal after the Musitanos aligned themselves with the Rizzuto crime family are continuing to be felt in Hamliton.

"I believe the strategy [is] to target lower-level, fringe people because they can't, at the moment, target the bigger people," he said. "I think it's a way to send a message to the more powerful."