Angelo Musitano, a member of Hamilton's notorious Musitano crime family, was gunned down outside his suburban home Tuesday.
Police say multiple shots were fired at Musitano, 39, as he pulled into the driveway of his home in Waterdown late in the afternoon. He was in his vehicle when he was hit, said police. When emergency crews arrived he was already without vital signs. He was later pronounced dead in hospital.
The quiet neighbourhood of large detached homes was cordoned off and under a heavy police presence for hours after the shooting.
A white pickup truck was seen in the driveway with police evidence markers around it.
Police are looking for a suspect in what they say was a "targeted" shooting. They describe the shooter as a heavy-set male wearing a dark tuque, black jacket and beige pants. He was driving a dark-coloured four-door sedan. Neighbours said the car was parked on the street when Musitano arrived home. After the shooting, the vehicle fled northbound on the street.
Hamilton homicide Det. Sgt. Peter Thom said several shell casings were found. He said emergency crews took Musitano out of the truck he was driving and made attempts to resuscitate him.
He said there were four people in the home at the time of the shooting. Police canvassed the neighbourhood for witnesses and are also looking for any security camera footage that could be of use to investigators. Neighbours said Musitano's house had many security cameras outside.
1st-degree murder charges in 1997
Musitano's father was Domenic Musitano, a well known Mafia boss in the city.
Thom said the victim had done jail time in connection to three murders, but that Musitano had been mostly low-key since getting out of jail in 2007.
Angelo, with his brother Pat, were charged with first-degree murder in the 1997 shooting of Hamilton crime boss Johnny Papalia and one of his lieutenants, Carmen Barillaro.
They reached a deal with the Crown and pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to commit murder charge in the death of Barillaro. The pair were sentenced to 10 years in jail.
Organized crime expert James Dubro, who has written extensively about the Mafia in Ontario, told CBC News that the shooting seems like revenge for Angelo's previous crimes.
"It's not surprising at all to me. In fact, I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner," Dubro said. "To me, it wasn't a question of how or why, but when?
"Since they got out, there's been a target on their backs."
'This is sleepy Waterdown'
Pierre Lebel lives a short distance away from the Musitano home on Chesapeake Drive and has been there for 18 years. He said he learned what had happened via a text from a friend and then got a flurry of texts from others.
"First thing that I did was call my kids to see if they were safe," he said.
"It's scary. This is not Toronto. This is sleepy Waterdown. It's frightening when you hear this ... like, that's insane."
He said he had met Musitano, but Musitano gave him a different last name and Lebel only learned Tuesday of his neighbour's family and criminal history.
"I've met him and we've talked a bit, but they kind of kept to themselves. He was busy."
Lebel said he was thinking about the impact on the family.
"You have to ask yourself, 'why?' It's just so disheartening, I mean, just the tragedy of it all for the family."
Sheila Meyrink lives several doors up the street. Her daughters, who were home after school, heard a commotion and gunshots and went outside. They saw Musitano on the ground.
Dubro said that back in the 1980s, Hamilton was the place where "the heart beats for the Mafia in Ontario."
"Hamilton was a Mafia centre probably for 80 years. More recently though, it's faded — which is just as well."
He said Musitano and his brother were "more feared than respected."
"They're very intemperate. They're the worst kind of Mafioso."
Dubro said that the Musitano brothers were quicker to resort to violence than many Mafia leaders, who would more carefully think through using violence.