A restaurant owner shot to death Friday afternoon in front of the wine bar he ran in the Roncesvalles neighbourhood was an associate of Montreal mob boss Vito Rizzuto, according to multiple police sources.
Paolo Caputo, 64, of Richmond Hill, became Toronto’s 38th homicide victim for 2019 after he was shot around 4 p.m. outside Domani Restaurant, at 335 Roncesvalles Ave., near Grenadier Rd.
Witnesses reported two gunshots. Caputo died on the scene, Toronto police said. An autopsy is planned for Saturday.
Domani Restaurant’s website lists Paul Caputo as its owner. It says he purchased it after owning and operating the Savorie Restaurant in Forest Hill for 11 years, an establishment visited by Rizzuto when the Montreal mob boss came to Toronto, according to police sources.
Caputo was also investigated regarding GTA gambling operations connected to Rizzuto, who died of natural causes in December 2013.
Police believed Caputo was a longtime associate of Rizzuto, who was believed to be Canada’s most powerful underworld figure until his death almost six years ago.
Caputo was busted in November 2007 with dozens of other men when police broke up what they said was a high stakes poker game at a social club on Finch Ave. W. near Dufferin St.
Police were alerted to the gambling activity after the club was robbed by two men earlier that year.
The OPP organized crime unit estimated that operation grossed more than $1 million yearly, and that it funnelled funds to Rizzuto.
Police canvassed the neighbourhood Friday for witnesses or surveillance video.
Police described the suspect as male, with a fair complexion, thin, and standing 5-foot-11 to 6-foot-2.
The suspect fled west on Constance St. in a white, four-door SUV, which was believed to be driven by someone else.
Following the shooting, patrons to Domani’s had to be buzzed inside the locked front doors.
The website states that the Roncesvalles wine bar/ restaurant has been open for 20 years, offering “Great food. Great Wine. Great Service.”
“After owning and operating Savorie Restaurant in Forest Hill for 11 years, Paul purchased Domani Restaurant and immediately fell in love with both the restaurant and the neighbourhood,” the website states.
“Slowly and respectfully enhancing the 17 year Roncy favourite has proven to be an excellent approach as passionate diners continue to embrace this gem.”
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Peter Edwards is a Toronto-based reporter primarily covering crime. Reach him by email at email@example.com