The murder of the patriarch of a New York family with alleged Mafia links wasn't ordered by a member of a rival family, or even a different family, prosecutors say. According to the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Anthony Zottola, 41, hired members of the Bloods street gang to kill his own father and brother, NBC reports. His father, Sylvester Zottola, was shot dead in a McDonald's drive-thru in the Bronx in October last year. Prosecutors say the murders followed numerous other attempts on the lives of the apparently very resilient Zottola family. The father was stabbed and had his throat slashed by men who broke into his home in December 2017, and his other son, Salvatore Zottola, was shot in the head, chest, and hand in July last year but survived.
"Zottola’s persistence over the course of months after multiple failed attempts on the lives of his close family members speaks to his commitment" to a mission to "devastate his family," the US attorney's office said in a court document, per the New York Times. Prosecutors say that over the course of numerous botched murder attempts, Zottola and Bloods member Bushawn Shelton, who "outsourced" the killings to other gang members, exchanged coded messages referring to the attacks as "filming" and the targets as "actors." Zottola, Shelton, and eight other men face charges including murder-for-hire conspiracy and causing death through the use of a firearm, reports the Washington Post. Authorities have not disclosed Zottola's motive. (Read more organized crime stories.)