Hamilton mobster Pat Musitano shot in Mississauga, Ont.
Peel Regional Police said on Twitter they were called to a shooting early Thursday morning
Notorious Hamilton mobster Pat Musitano was shot in Mississauga, Ont., on Thursday morning.
Peel Regional Police said on Twitter that officers were called to the area of Hurontario Street and Matheson Boulevard East at 7:03 a.m. ET for reports of a man with gunshot wounds.
He was rushed to a trauma centre where he remains in life-threatening condition, police said.
Peel police would not confirm the man's identity, but Shahid Malik, a lawyer who shares the office where the shooting took place, said Musitano was there to meet with his lawyer, Joseph Irving.
"I hope Mr. Musitano is OK," Malik told CBC News. "It's very concerning, very upsetting, very unnerving."
Peel police said at a news conference that the victim was shot multiple times outside his vehicle. An SUV parked in front of Malik's office was towed from the scene Thursday morning. Officers would not say why he was there.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PRP?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PRP</a> on scene in the area of Hurontario St/Matheson Blvd E in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Mississauga?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Mississauga</a> in regards to a man located with apparent gun shot wounds. He is being transported to a trauma centre. No further information available at this time. Call received at 7:03 a.m. PR19-0149873—@PeelPoliceMedia
Malik would not say what Musitano and Irving were meeting about, citing "solicitor/client privilege." The person who answered the phone at Irving's office hung up on a reporter. Subsequent calls went to voicemail.
Malik also said he has provided security camera footage to police.
Violence linked to organized crime has surged in Hamilton and southern Ontario in recent years.
Musitano's brother, Angelo, was gunned down in the driveway of his Waterdown, Ont., home on May 2, 2017.
A Hamilton man is facing a murder charge in connection with his death. Two other suspects are wanted on Canada-wide warrants, but police believe they may have fled to Mexico.
Weeks after Angelo Musitano was killed, Pat Musitano's home on St. Clair Boulevard in Hamilton was also shot up.
Neighbours walked their dogs past the home Thursday morning. Multiple security spotlights surround the front porch.
At one point a man in a grey SUV drove up to the house, looked it over then headed for reporters standing on the other side of the street.
"F--k off," he yelled. "Don't you think they've been through enough? I'm asking you a question, don't you think this family has been through enough?"
Musitano's uncle, Tony, died last week of natural causes. His funeral was held just yesterday at Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King in Hamilton.
Antonio Nicaso, a Mafia expert who teaches courses on organized crime at Queen's University, told CBC News he wasn't at all shocked to learn that Musitano had been shot.
"Everybody thought he was a target of retaliation after the murder of his brother and the shooting in front of his house," he said.
It appeared Musitano had been living in Mississauga, Nicaso said. "He was trying to hide. He was moving from one place to another."
The list of people who could want revenge against the Musitanos is likely long. The family is linked to convictions for bombings and extortion in the 1970s, as well as the hit on mobster Domenic Racco in the 1980s, and the murders of Johnny "Pops" Papalia and one of his lieutenants, Carmen Barillaro, in 1997.
The brothers reached a deal and pleaded to conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Barillaro. In turn, the charges against them in connection with Papalia's death were dropped. They were sentenced to 10 years in jail, but got out in 2007, and had made little noise since then — until bullets started flying once more.
The Musitanos were once protected by an alliance with the famed Rizzuto crime family, based out of Montreal.
The 2013 death of reputed Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto created a power vacuum within the organization, and now warring factions have weakened the once mighty Montreal Mafia. That left the Musitanos to fend for themselves.
"There is a very critical balance," Nicaso said. "It's a very unstable condition, like Pandora's Box. Anything can happen.
"You can feel in the air that something is coming."
Hamilton police willing to help
Det. Sgt. Peter Thom of Hamilton's major crime unit is the case manager for investigations into Angelo Musitano's death, along with the killings of both Iavarone and Luppino.
He said investigators believe the rash of killings are part of some kind of underworld power struggle involving factions in the Toronto and Hamilton area.
"This could potentially be part of that ongoing feud," he said of Thursday's shooting.
Thom added the attack on Musitano won't have a major impact on any ongoing Hamilton investigations, but he's willing to help Peel police given the "Hamilton flavour" of the shooting.
"I'm sure we'll be hearing from them and asking for some information on our knowledge of the Musitano family and what's been going on in and around Hamilton."
With files from Dan Taekema