Investigators believe the person responsible for slaying a member of a notorious Ontario crime family last year was also behind the murder of a woman north of Toronto two months earlier, police said at a news conference on Tuesday.
Officers with the Hamilton and York region police said they believe the man who fatally shot Angelo Musitano in Hamilton last May also shot 28-year-old Mila Barberi and her boyfriend in an industrial complex in Vaughan, Ont., in March.
Reputed mobster Angelo Musitano was gunned down while in a pickup truck in the driveway of his Waterdown home last May.
The two crimes were similar, police said.
Barberi was also in her car when she was fatally shot. She was picking up her boyfriend from work.
She was killed in the shooting, but her boyfriend — who hasn’t been publicly identified by police — was shot in the arm and survived the attack.
Surveillance footage appears to show the same gunman at both crimes, and investigators have linked the same black Honda Civic Coupe to the sites of both shootings, said Hamilton’s Det.-Sgt. Peter Thom.
Officers described the suspected gunman as a white man with a stocky or athletic build.
The shooter did not act alone, they said, and they’re also looking for a getaway driver who they believe was present at Barberi’s killing.
Police had previously said that multiple people were involved in planning Musitano’s death. The same is true, they said Tuesday, in Barberi’s case.
The suspects engaged in “sophisticated and extensive surveillance of the victims prior to carrying out the actual killings,” Det.-Sgt. Jim Killby of the York police service said.
Killby said the investigators relied on “thousands” of hours of video surveillance from the homes and businesses near the sites of both killings to put together the case.
“Quite frankly, I don’t think (the suspects) counted on there being a great deal of video surveillance,” he said.
While police believe both shootings were targeted, they said they don’t believe the suspect intended to kill Barberi.
They don’t yet know if her boyfriend was their intended target, police said, nor have they found any conclusive evidence that he was involved in what they called “traditional organized crime.”
The Musitano family, on the other hand, has been involved in organized crime going back three generations, officers said.
In 2000, Musitano and his brother Pat were charged with first-degree murder in the 1997 death of Hamilton crime boss Johnny “Pops” Papalia and the death of Papalia’s associate, Carmen Barillaro.
Thom said police have not linked the suspected gunman to a non-fatal shooting at another Hamilton home associated to the Musitano family in June.
Barberi’s boyfriend’s family is cooperating with police, officers said, but the Musitano family is not.
Their investigation is ongoing.