Two well-known authors on organized crime say they were ‘not surprised’ about the nature of Pat Musitano’s death in Burlington, Ont., on Friday.
“He knew he was a marked man. He decided to die with his boots on and continue with his nefarious criminal activities and take what may,” said James Dubro whose written five books on organized crime in Canada and co-authored the definition of “organized crime” for all editions of The Canadian Encyclopedia.
Halton Regional Police say Musitano and another man were hit by gunfire at a Burlington plaza early Friday afternoon. Musitano died on scene, according to investigators.
Halton police are currently searching for a male suspect believed to have fled in a newer model grey four-door sedan, similar to an Infiniti Q50 with a sunroof.
The vehicle, which fled westbound on Plains Road East, is said to have fresh damage to the driver’s side of the door, according to police.
Dubro believes the incident was the third time in the past year and a half Musitano had an attempt on his life after he was allegedly shot in a Mississauga parking lot in April of 2019, and believed to have potentially been a target in an incident out front of his home in July of the same year.
“He had no allies anymore since Vito Rizzuto died of natural causes about seven years ago,” Dubro told Global News.
“After his father died in the mid-’90s, he was only about 24 or 25. He immediately went after some of the other bosses in Hamilton to enlarge his territory,” said Dubro.
The 52-year-old Pasquale (Pat) Musitano is one of two brothers charged with first-degree murder in ordering the death of Hamilton mob boss Johnny “Pops” Papalia in the late 1990s.
Both Pat and brother Angelo Musitano were sentenced to 10 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder in the shooting death of Niagara crime boss Carmen Barillaro.
The hitman for both murders, Kenneth Murdock, took a plea deal and named the Musitanos as the men who ordered the killings.
The Musitano brothers were released from prison in 2007.
Antonio Nicaso, who’s written a number of books on organized crime and currently teaches a course on it at Queen’s University in Kingston, believes it’s the murder of Papalia that started an idea of joining forces with associate Rizzuto in the ’90s.
Those incidents, although several decades ago, were likely “never forgotten” according to Nicaso and were likely the catalyst for the modern day murders of the Musitano brothers.
“One never forgets the actual violence against oneself,” said Nicaso.
“I remember cases back in the old war that revenge can come after 50 years, so I’m not surprised.”
Hamilton police say Pat’s brother, Angelo Musitano, was stalked and shot dead at a Chesapeake Drive home in Waterdown, Ont., in May of 2017.
“More than one person was involved in the stalking of Angelo Musitano and more than one vehicle was used to accomplish this task,” Det. Sgt. Peter Thom told reporters during a press conference in Hamilton on Jan. 11, 2018.
Hamilton police say they believe Angelo Musitano’s death was part of an ongoing feud between organized crime groups in the Toronto area.
Almost a year later, detectives offered up a $50,000 cash reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the murder of Angelo.
Nicaso says the deaths of Pat and Angelo might represent the end of an era for a style of organized crime that to some degree appreciated attention from the media and police.
“They were an unusual type of mobsters. They love the movies. All the good movies about the Mafia. They sometimes acted like a mobster character of a movie,” Nicaso said.
The author believes future versions of mobsters will likely “wise up and keep quiet” going forward.
“The people that will take their place are people with more knowledge about cybercrime, people capable to keep a low profile,” Nicaso said.