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Bonnano boss shot dead in Canada: Police

TimesLedger Newspapers

A former reputed acting boss of the Bonnano crime family was killed Thanksgiving morning near Montreal, a Quebec police spokesman said.

Sgt. Benoit Richard, of the Quebec provincial police, said a call was placed to a local police precinct around 10:08 a.m. last Thursday by a witness who saw former reputed acting Bonnano boss Salvatore “Sal the Ironworker” Montagna, 40, jumping into a nearby river following gunshots.

Montagna, a dual citizen of Canada and Italy, had been living in Montreal for several years before he reportedly headed the Bonnano crime family, which has a significant presence in western Queens.

Montagna, also known as the “Bambino Boss” because he took over the Bonnanos at a relatively young age — 35 — replaced former Bonnano head Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano, whose predecessor, Joseph Massino, testified against Basciano.

Massino, who owned the Glendale restaurant Casa Blanca, was the first Mafia don to take the stand in a trial.

“The caller said he saw someone jump into the river and heard at least one gunshot,” Benoit said Friday.

Police found him on the side of the river and CPR was performed, Benoit said.

“Unfortunately, he died at the hospital shortly thereafter,” the sergeant said.

Benoit said the case was being transferred to the Quebec Homicide Unit and two crime scenes were set up at the other side of the river and at a house on an island near Charlamagne, a suburb of Montreal, where police believe Montagna may have been before he was killed.

Jack Simpson, the owner of the house where police think the crime may have occurred, was arrested by Ottawa Police for breaking conditions of his bail and was questioned in connection with Montagna’s murder, Richard said.

The spokesman said police were determining whether Simpson was home at the time of the killing.

“That’s part of the investigation,” Richard said.

An autopsy on Montagna was conducted Friday, Benoit said, but the results were not known as of Tuesday.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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