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Five Killed in 24-Hour Period in Mafia War

December 11, 1988

REGGIO CALABRIA, Italy (AP) _ Gunmen killed five people in two attacks over a 24-hour period in this southern city in an apparent escalation of a regional Mafia war, police said Saturday.

Gunmen fired through a window of a pizzeria in Reggio Calabria on Friday night, killing three people and critically wounding two others, authorities said.

On Saturday morning, assailants gunned down a man and his son-in-law at a gas station in the city, which is in the toe of Italy’s boot.

Police said the killings were part of a war between the Imerti and De Stefano clans, which are fighting for supremacy in the city. The feud has claimed at least 200 lives in the past three years.

The pizzeria attack killed Sebastiano Tale, 34, owner of the shop, and two cousins, Guglielmo Brinzi, 32, and Paolo Brinzi, 27. They were sitting at a small table next to a window with Demetrio Milardi, 50, and Lida Marciano, 25, who were seriously wounded, police said. A second woman suffered minor injuries, they said.

On Saturday morning, gunmen armed with a submachine gun and an automatic rifle killed contractor Paolo Surace, 49, as he sat behind the wheel of his car at a gas station, police said.

They then turned their fire on his son-in-law, Domenico Cartisano, 34, who was in a truck parked alongside Surace’s vehicle, they said.

The assailants jumped back into an automobile driven by a third man and escaped, authorities said.

The Italian news agency ANSA said Surace was prominent in local organized crime activity and had installed sophisticated security systems in his home.

The victims in both cases were linked to the Imerti clans, said a police detective in Reggio Calabria, speaking on condition of anonymity. The killings may have been in reprisal for the slaying last fall of a prison inmate linked to the De Stefano clan, he said.

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