The son of an alleged Mafia associate was shot repeatedly outside his home in New York Wednesday. Salvatore Zottola, 41, survived the attack, which was captured on surveillance video. The NYPD has released that footage in the hope that someone will recognize the gunman, who is still at-large.
The shooting happened in broad daylight, around 6:30AM Wednesday in the Throgs Neck section of the Bronx. Law enforcement officials say Zottola is not cooperating with investigators while he recovers in the hospital.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Zottola Tried to Escape by Rolling Away
In the surveillance video above, you can see a red Nissan sedan pull up alongside Zottola’s vehicle. He was on the driver’s side, though it’s unclear if he was sitting in the vehicle or not. The person in the passenger seat of the sedan is seen holding a gun out of the window.
Zottola, whose face has been blurred in the video, gets on the ground and rolls away to escape the gunfire. But the suspect gets out of the car to chase Zottola, and shoots him again at point-blank range while clutching the gun with both hands.
Zottola was shot three times in the torso and hands. He got lucky in that his head was only grazed. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, but has since stabilized. He was home alone at the time of the attack; his wife and two children were reportedly at the Jersey Shore at the time.
2. Zottola Has Refused to Cooperate With Investigators Thus Far
Wednesday’s attack happened outside Zottola’s home. His house is reportedly equipped with its own surveillance cameras, but police have not seen that extra footage. Sources tell the New York Post Zottola has refused to allow police or FBI investigators access to his system. The surveillance video that was released is from a yacht club nearby.
Investigators have also tried to interview him at the hospital. But Zottola is apparently keeping quiet about the attack. It’s believed he may have known the gunman.
The New York Daily News is reporting that a member of the Zottola family reinforced that “back off” mentality outside the hospital. The family member said, “We want to thank everyone for their kind words, but you can go f— yourself.”
3. Zottola’s Father Was Reportedly Targeted Last Month
Salvatore Zottola’s father is 71-year-old Sylvester Zottola, who is suspected of being involved with the Bonnano crime family. The elder Zottola was arrested June 12th after police say he fired an unlicensed gun at someone outside his home. Sylvester Zottola told authorities the man had threatened him with a gun and that is was self-defense.
According to documents from the Bronx Criminal Court, Sylvester is facing 3 felonies and 1 misdemeanor charge connected to the June incident. The top charge is criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. He was scheduled to appear in court when he got the news of his son’s shooting. Sylvester’s next court appearance is July 23rd.
This was the second time in recent months that Sylvester Zottola faced a reported attack. In December 2017, he was stabbed in the neck at his own home. The attackers were allegedly burglarizing the house when Sylvester walked inside.
4. The Zottolas Have Reported Ties to the Bonanno Crime Family
Both Salvatore and Sylvester Zottola are connected to Vincent Basciano, who the New York Times describes as the “onetime acting boss of the Bonanno crime family.” His nickname “Vinny Gorgeous” stems from his prior ownership of a beauty salon in the Bronx called “Hello Gorgeous.” Basciano is currently serving life in prison after being convicted in two murders. A federal jury in Brooklyn spared him the death penalty in 2011.
Sylvester Zottola reportedly partnered with Basciano in running Joker Poker machines, according to court documents filed in the Eastern District of New York. In 2006, Basciano was convicted of Racketeering Conspiracy in connection to the gambling machines.The case document also shows that Basciano was accused of ordering an assault on a man identified as Frank Porco, because he had gotten into an argument with Sylvester Zottola.
5. Salvatore Zottola Does Not Have a Criminal Record
Salvatore Zottola appears to keep a relatively low profile. He does not have an arrest record in the state of New York. He does not appear to have any social media accounts, and there are no public photos of him.
His only personal connection to the Bonnano crime family stems from some kind of relationship with Vincent Basciano. In 1999, Zottola apparently allowed Basciano’s girlfriend to live in one of his homes in the Bronx.
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