Nick Rizzuto Jr., son of Vito Rizzuto, the reputed head of the Montreal Mafia, was brazenly shot dead over the noon hour Monday, a lawyer for the Rizzuto family confirmed.

Vito Rizzuto, sometimes called the head of Canada's mafia, is serving a 10-year prison term in Colorado for racketeering. The conviction is linked to three murders carried out in Brooklyn in 1981.

The 42-year-old Rizzuto was gunned down on Wilson Ave. and Upper Lachine Rd. in Notre Dame de Grace at 12:10 p.m. Monday afternoon.

Witnesses describe scene

"I heard four, what sounded to be gunshots, or people banging pieces of wood together, then maybe a one or two second pause, and then another two shots after that," said one witness.

"We heard the clip going on like six times: 'Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!' And that was it," said another.

Sources tell CTV an eyewitness saw a man come out of a building and shoot Rizzuto. Rizzuto dropped to the ground and gasped for air.

"The man was shot. He was standing on the sidewalk of Upper Lachine and immediately he fell on the sidewalk. Some CPR was conducted, and he was then rushed to hospital where his death was confirmed," said Montreal police Const. Olivier Lapointe. Police wouldn't confirm Rizzuto's identity.

At the Montreal General Hospital, CTV spoke with a member of the Rizzutto family, who was crying. He said the family declined to give a statement at this time.

The witness at the scene said the shooter ran to a car and drove away, screeching its tires. Police have described him as a black man, wearing a dark jacket and hood and jeans.

The shooting took place on the street close to the offices of FTM Construction, at 5730 Upper Lachine Rd., which were raided by Montreal police last month in an investigation involving alleged extortion attempts. The company is owned by Antonio Magi.

Magi was shot in the same neighbourhood two years ago.

Shooting rocks crime underworld

The assassination of Nick Rizzuto Jr. Monday will have further repercussions on the organized crime underworld, said organized crime expert Antonio Nicaso.

"We should expect a retaliation. This is not a simple murder. This is like a tsunami in the criminal organization," said Nicaso.

Rizzuto's death is the 31st homicide of the year in Montreal.