Angelo Bruno was the boss of the Philadelphia crime family during the 1960s and 1970s. He was shot dead in March 1980. Anthony Caponigro aka Tony Bananas is thought to have pulled the trigger. Caponigro had been Bruno’s consigliere.
Bruno was killed by a single shotgun blast to the back of the head as he sat in his car outside of his home. His driver, John Stanta, was also wounded in the attack. In the 2019 movie “The Irishman,” Bruno is played by Harvey Keitel.
There Is Debate About Whether or Not Bruno’s Driver John Stanta Was Involved in the Shootingsindone
An excerpt, via the New York Daily News, from Ralph Natale, Bruno’s right-hand man’s book, “Last Don Standing: The Secret Life of Mob Boss Ralph Natale,” described the shooting in detail. Bruno had just returned home when “Caponigro emerged from the darkness and put the barrel against Bruno’s right ear. So came the violent end to the Docile Don, longtime padrone of the Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra.”
However, an October 2016 Penn Live feature says that it was Bruno’s driver John Stanta who pulled the trigger on Bruno. That article says that it was Caponigro who ordered the hit over Bruno’s reluctance to get the family into the lucrative drug market.
Tony Caponigro Was Found Dead With $300 Stuffed in His Mouth & Anus Shortly After Bruno’s Death
Caponigro is thought to have had designs on taking over the leadership of the family from Bruno, then 69. Shortly after Bruno’s death, Caponigro was killed by Joe “Mad Dog” Sullivan in the South Bronx in a hit ordered by the Mafia Commission. The group was thought to have orchestrated Bruno’s death with the “okay” of the commission. According to the Smithsonian, Caponigro had $300 stuffed in his mouth and anus in order to symbolize his greed.
According to Ralph Natale’s book, Caponigro had conspired with fellow mobster Frank Sindone for the hit.
Angelo Bruno Was Known as the ‘Gentle Don’
During his life, Bruno was described as a “Gentle Don” who eschewed the drug trade and unnecessary violence. Bruno’s daughter, Jean, told Philadelphia Magazine in 2017, “I see [her father’s killing] every time I leave the house.” Jean said of her father in the interview, “You must understand. I know he wasn’t a saint. But he was to me.” In March 2016, Bruno’s home, where the shooting took place, was rejected as a designated historic building in Philadelphia.
Following Bruno’s death, the Philadelphia mob was controlled by “Little Nicky” Scarfo.