Mafia don shot dead in his car as city’s mobster old guard swept aside

A high-ranking member of the mafia has been gunned down near his home - the latest killing linked to a power struggle in Canada’s criminal underworld. Rocco Sollecito was shot in his BMW 4x4 in the Montreal suburb of Laval, near his home and only a few hundred metres from a police station. The 67-year-old’s killing appeared to be “a mob hit”, Laval police said. Experts said it was impossible to say who was behind the killing but speculated it was “a kind of final clean-up of the old guard”.

The history of mafia teaches us that each time that the mafia has gone through trouble it was often due to the purposeful conflict of the old generation versus the young generation, and today the mafia of Montreal is a perfect example

Mafia history author Pierre de Champlain

Sollecito’s murder comes in a period of turmoil in the underworld three years after Vito Rizzuto, the Montreal mafia’s long-time patriarch, died of natural causes in 2013. Sollecito infamously appeared in video footage presented at an anti-corruption commission receiving stacks of money from a construction boss in 2004. His son, Stefano, is said to be the current head of the city’s mafia, alongside Rizzuto’s son, Leonardo. But Pierre de Champlain, author of a history of organised crime in Montreal, said old alliances were breaking down in the city. “It’s not what it once was,” he said. “It’s been reduced to a simple gang.”

It’s clear strategy to remove from the map the old guard of the Rizzuto crime family. It’s a powerful challenge, because he is targeting all the people who ran the organization when Vito Rizutto was in prison

Mafia expert Antonio Nicaso