The Sixth Family: The Collapse of the New York Mafia and the Rise of Vito Rizzuto by Lee Lamothe, Adrian Humphreys
From The Sixth Family, according to witness testimony:
BROOKLYN, MAY 5, 1981
"We were in the closet. We all had our weapons loaded. We sat there and waited for the doorbell to ring," said Salvatore Vitale, a slender New York mobster known as Good-Looking Sal. "We left the door open a smidge to look out."
The ringing of the bell at the private social club’s entrance signaled the arrival of the first of the invited guests. Vito Rizzuto crouched low, peeking out from his vantage point. Through the swelling crowd and loud chatter from tough men all accustomed to having their say, Vito kept his eyes on one man, Gerlando Sciascia, a fellow Sicilian who was a long-time Rizzuto family friend.
Breathing deeply beneath his mask, Vito watched for the secret signal that would draw him from the closet, a signal that came when Sciascia slowly ran the fingers of his lean, right hand through the silver hair on the side of his head. That simple act of preening brought mayhem to the social club and radically changed the balance of power.
"Don’t anybody move. This is a holdup," Vito said as he confronted the roomful of powerful mobsters, his words muffled by a woolen ski mask pulled down over his long, thin face. Despite those words, this was not about robbery. Nothing would be taken but three lives and the rights to an underworld throne.
Adrian Humphreys covers organized crime for the National Post and is the author of The Enforcer, the best-selling biography of Johnny "Pops" Papalia, one of North America's longest-reigning Mafia bosses. He was the principal consultant for History television's popular series "Mob Stories" and has written on crime for the Chicago Sun Times, Britain's Daily Telegraph and Reader's Digest. he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lee Lamothe is the author of the bestseller bloodlines: The Rise and Fall of the Mafia's Royal Family; Global Mafia: The New World Order of Organized Crime; Angels, Mobsters & Narco-Terrorists; and The Last Thief, a novel about the Russian Mafia. As a journalist and writer, he has covered organized crime across North America, Europe, South America and Asia.