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MONTREAL – A gangland-style slaying Monday evening on the balcony of a St. Laurent condo took the life of Lorenzo Lopresti, the Quebec coroner’s office confirmed. The latest killing took place while an apparent struggle for power remains under way within the Montreal Mafia.
It claimed the son of Joe Lopresti – who was killed in what appeared to be an organized-crime hit in spring 1992.
“A body with that name arrived at the Montreal morgue overnight and an autopsy is taking place today,” Geneviève Guilbault, spokesperson for the coroner’s office, said Tuesday morning of Lorenzo Lopresti.
“Because this involves a murder investigation,” she added, “I have to refer you to police to obtain further information.”
Police public-relations officials wouldn’t formally confirm that the Lopresti son was the man killed.
One source within the force informally did.
“Investigators are saying this could be related to organized crime” was the furthest Montreal police Constable Dany Richer would venture.
The crime scene is located in a seven-storey building near the corner of Côte Vertu Blvd. and Hocquart St., where the name Lopresti appears on one of the mailboxes.
About 8:20 p.m. Monday, several people called 911 to report gunshots.
Police arrived to find Lopresti on the balcony of a ground-floor unit.
According to Constable Daniel Lacoursière, he had suffered at least one gunshot wound.
Lopresti was pronounced dead at the scene.
A woman on the premises was taken to hospital to be treated for nervous shock.
The major crimes division is running the investigation.
This was the 31st homicide in the Montreal this year.
At the corresponding date last year, there had been 33.
In late April 1992, a body found in Montreal’s east end was identified as that of Joe Lopresti, 44, a suspected Montreal mobster alleged to have been linked to the powerful New York City crime family headed by John Gotti, Montreal police said then.
His murder was one of 76 recorded for Montreal Island that year.
The body of Lopresti senior was found wrapped in plastic and a canvas sheet beside railway tracks at 54th Ave. and Henri Bourassa Blvd. E., in the Rivière des Prairies district.
The older Lopresti was shot in the head at close range.
A small-calibre firearm was used.
The victim wasn’t carrying any identification papers, homicide investigators said at the time.
The late-model red Porche he had been driving was found, abandoned, near a Décarie Blvd. restaurant.
Police said they considered Joe Lopresti the right-hand man of Vito Rizzuto, reputed boss of the Montreal Mafia, who is currently jailed in the United States.
Vito Rizzuto and his late father, Nicolo Rizzuto, were investigated – but never charged – in the slayings of of Montreal organized-crime “godfather” Paolo Violi in 1978 and Violi’s brother, Rocco, in 1980.
Last Nov. 10, Nicolo Rizzuto was fatally shot while inside his luxury home on Antoine Berthelet St., in the northwest Montreal district of Saraguay. The elder Rizzuto was 86.
The street – often referred to by police as “Mafia Row” – is where Joe Lopresti was also living when he left for a meeting in late April 1992, never to return.