this day in crime history: july 12, 1979

On this date in 1979, acting Bonanno crime family boss Carmine “The Cigar” Galante was murdered at a restaurant in Brooklyn. Galante, whose tenure as boss caused friction with the other New York crime families, had engineered the assassination of several Gambino family members in order to take over their narcotics trafficking business.

By the middle of 1979, the bosses of the other families agreed to have Galante killed. On July 12th, he was having lunch at a restaurant with with Bonanno family members Leonard Coppola and Giuseppe Turano. Two Sicilian bodyguards stood watch as the men dined. As they finished lunch, three masked men walked up and opened fire with pistols and shotguns. Galante and his two companions were killed. The bodyguards, who took no action to protect Galante, were unharmed.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – Carmine Galante

FBI Records – Carmine Galante

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Comment by John Michael Brantingham on July 16, 2012 at 5:26am

Yeah, that's an incredible picture. I'd love to know the story of the body guard who survived.

Comment by John McFetridge on July 14, 2012 at 12:41am

Yeah, Ben, the business approach to everything - organized crime is the best example of the way free market capitalism regulates itself.

The Wikipedia page mentions one of the killers, Alphonse Indelicato, (who hired the others) and he was killed in 1981 by some guys from Montreal - a Crimespace member, Lee Lamothe, has written some good books about organized crime in Canada - mostly Montreal - including:

Comment by John DuMond on July 13, 2012 at 10:29pm


The working theory was that the bodyguards were in on the hit. One of the bodyguards was murdered a few years later during the power struggle that followed Galante's death. Some of that power struggle was depicted in the movie DONNIE BRASCO.

Comment by Benjamin Sobieck on July 13, 2012 at 11:44am

What a picture.

One the things that makes organized crime so interesting is the business attitude toward death. And like any good business, they cut down on collateral damage. Still, I wonder if nowadays those bodyguards would be dead.

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