MONTREAL — A brazen daylight shooting of a Montreal salon owner has Mafia experts calling out the ruthlessness and arrogance of organized crime in the city.
Montreal police on Tuesday found a woman shot dead in a car that was still running and had collided with a building. Multiple reports identified the victim as Claudia Iacono, 39, the daughter-in-law of the late Moreno Gallo, a reputed mob boss. The car was found in the parking lot outside a popular salon that Iacono owned in Montreal's Côte-des-Neiges district.
Gallo was killed in 2013 in Acapulco, Mexico, a few years after he was deported from Canada. Iacono was married to one of Gallo's sons, Anthony.
Retired Montreal police officer André Gélinas said it's unusual that an extended family member of a Mafia boss would be targeted, particularly a woman. But he said he doesn't ascribe any code of honour to criminals.
"Organized crime and code of honour don't conjugate in the same sentence," said Gélinas, a former sergeant-detective in the criminal intelligence unit.
And he said chances were slim that Iacono was hit by mistake; she was killed in front of a business she owned and actively promoted.
Another expert said it's not that unusual in Mafia circles for there to be retribution against family.
"I think there is a misconception about the idea that the mafia is not killing women or children," Antonio Nicaso, an organized crime author and Queen's University professor, said Wednesday from Italy.
"The history of the Mafia is full of women and children who've been killed, so I think when they have an obstacle, when they have to send a message, they don't pay attention to gender, they have to deliver a message and that is important for them, nothing else."
Gélinas said that given the case touches on organized crime and involves a well-known family, there are people who likely know why it happened but won't share with police. He said it worried him that the incident occurred during the day in a busy parking lot.
"It shows that organized crime — regardless of the strain: street gangs, bikers, mafia — has a disregard for human life because to perpetrate acts of violence in the middle of the day when other people are around, it demonstrates an arrogance that's quite incredible," Gélinas said.
Montreal police said Wednesday their investigation was ongoing, but they refused to identify the victim. "Some information will be kept to investigators to not interfere with the investigation," Const. Jean-Pierre Brabant said in an interview.
He said witnesses reported a suspect fleeing on foot. "We did the fieldwork, we've got information, we met with people that were not far from where the events took place," Brabant said.
"We're still trying to gather information to understand the circumstances."
Meanwhile, police were investigating another homicide on Wednesday. They responded to a call around 3 a.m. about a 28-year-old man shot dead behind an apartment building in the north-end borough of Ahuntsic-Cartierville. The two cases didn't appear to be related, police said.
"The victim was found in a back road not far from Henri-Bourassa Boulevard," Brabant said. "Some CPR manoeuvres were done and following verification they found a gunshot wound on the body."
The man was pronounced dead on site, which is close to many businesses and apartments; detectives were looking for any video evidence that could shed light on the case.
The two killings were the eighth and ninth homicides this year in Montreal.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2023.
Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press