New York

Man With Mob Ties Shot, Killed at McDonald's Drive-Thru in Bronx, Months After His Son Was Attacked by Gunman: Sources

Sylvester Zottola's son was nearly killed in a botched mob hit captured on video over the summer, according to sources

What to Know

  • A man shot and killed at a McDonald's drive-thru in the Bronx has been identified as 71-year-old Sylvester Zottola
  • Zottola had ties to the Bonanno crime family, sources say, and his son was nearly killed in a shooting outside his home over the summer
  • No arrests have been made in the shooting of either Zottola

A man with ties to the Bonanno crime family, and whose son was nearly killed in a botched mob hit captured on video last summer, has been shot dead at a McDonald's drive-thru in New York City, law enforcement sources say. 

Sylvester Zottola, 71, was shot several times in the head and body at the fast-food restaurant on Webster Avenue in the Bronx at around 4:45 p.m. Thursday, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Law enforcement sources say Zottola was arrested in June after allegedly shooting a man who pulled a gun on him outside of his home. About a month later, his son, 41-year-old Salvatore Zottola, was attacked by a gunman outside his home in Throgs Neck in July.

Shocking video from the incident shows the shooter firing first at Salvatore Zottola from a moving car as Salvatore Zottola desperately ducks for cover behind a minivan. The suspect then jumps out of the car, shoots several more times and flees in the red sedan. 

Salvatore Zottola was hit by several bullets in his torso and hand, and also suffered graze wounds to his head, police said. He was treated at a local hospital.

Sources have said the attack on Salvatore Zottola was believed to be a message to his now slain father, Sylvester. Both father and son have been linked to the Bonanno crime family in the past.

Law enforcement sources say Sylvester Zottola's killer went through a broken part of a fence surrounding the McDonald's, walked down an embankment approaching the restaurant and fired six rounds at point-blank range at Zottola as he went through the drive-thru. The suspect then walked right back up the embankment, got into a waiting car and took off.  

Experts say the killng doesn't appear to be the work of the Italian Mafia. Instead, according to Matt Heron, the former head of the FBI Organized Crime Unit, it has all the markings of a turf battle between the Italian crime family and Albanians. 

"This is not the way the Italian gangsters typically operate," Heron told News 4 over Skype Friday, adding that Italian crime families are not nearly as influential or as powerful as they were in their heyday. 

Police sources say they're investigating a possible beef with the Albanians as they search for Zottola's killer. 

No arrest has been made in either shooting. 

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