Leonardo Rizzuto injured in Laval shooting
Leonardo Rizzuto, the youngest son of the late reputed Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto, was injured in a shooting on a Laval highway in broad daylight on Wednesday.
A police source confirmed to Noovo Info that Rizzuto, 53, was shot in the leg while inside a vehicle. Around 4:40 p.m., he was driving a black Mercedes on Highway 440, near Highway 13 in Laval, when someone from another moving vehicle shot at his car.
He managed to drive off the highway and park his car in the parking lot of the Yves Légaré Funeral Complex, near rue Principale.
A black Mercedes remained at the scene Wednesday evening. Most of the bullet holes were on or near the front driver-side window. The tires of the vehicle were also punctured.
Rizzuto's older brother, Nicolo Rizzuto Jr., was assassinated in a shooting in Montreal's Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood in 2009. The following year, his grandfather, Nicolo Sr., was shot in his home by a sniper.
Early Wednesday evening, a spokesperson for Laval police told CTV News the shooting investigation had been turned over to the Sûreté du Québec (SQ).
SQ spokesperson Stephane Tremblay did not confirm the identity of the victim in the shooting but said that the major crime unit is investigating.
Police do not fear for the victim's life.
'REVENGE DOES NOT EXPIRE': EXPERT
An attempt on the late mob boss' son is significant to those following the organized crime scene in Montreal.
Antonio Nicaso, a Queen's University lecturer and expert on the Calabrian Mafia, said he believes the shooting is the result of longstanding grudges between rival groups and that someone wanted to send a clear message.
"I've always said: in the world of organized crime, revenge does not expire," he said in an interview with CTV News.
"The target is a big one. Whoever decides to target Leonardo Rizzuto is most likely someone who wants to completely remove the Rizzuto crime family from the crime scene in Montreal."
Experts say the death of Vito Rizzuto in 2013 created a power vacuum with attempted murders targeting key figures in the criminal underworld. The Rizzutto family has now been the target of two assassinations and one attempted murder, and remain targets to this day.
"Vito and Rizzuto family dominated the criminal scene of Montreal since the 70s when Nick Rizzuto, masterminded the killing of the Violi brothers. We are talking about a family with international connections, well recognized worldwide with the connection in Italy, in Latin America, able to invest the proceeds of crime in many countries," said Nicaso, who has written more than 30 books on organized crime.
"So shooting Leonardo Rizzuto was a decision of people who really want to challenge the Rizzuto family. Otherwise, you don't just choose that kind of target."
As of late Wednesday night, Quebec provincial police said the investigation into the shooting was ongoing.