US & Canada

Canada mob boss Nicolo Rizzuto murdered in Montreal

Police walking outside Nicolo Rizzuto's home
Image caption Nicolo Rizzuto, 86, was shot once while inside his Montreal home

Canadian mob boss Nicolo Rizzuto has been shot dead at his Montreal home, following months of attacks against his family and associates.

Rizzuto was shot once at about 1740 local time (2240 GMT) on Wednesday inside his luxurious mansion.

The 86-year-old was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Sacre-Coeur Hospital in Montreal.

Some analysts consider recent attacks on the Rizzuto family to be a challenge by rival organised-crime groups.

Two women who were inside the home at the time of the shooting have been treated for shock.

New players

Rizzuto was considered a powerful member of Montreal's Italian Mafia, but Montreal police Commander Denis Mainville said it was difficult to gauge how much influence the former mob boss still had.

Image caption Rizzuto was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a local hospital in Montreal

"We know that Mr Rizzuto was an important member of the Italian Mafia, but new players have surfaced in recent months," Mr Mainville said.

The death of the 86-year-old is the latest blow to the family.

Nick Rizzuto Jr, Nicolo's grandson, was shot to death outside his Montreal home on 28 December last year.

Other people connected to the family have also disappeared or been attacked in recent months.

The group was the focus of a 2006 police investigation into organised crime in Montreal, in which several alleged mobsters - Nicolo Rizzuto among them - were arrested.

He was jailed for charges including possession of the proceeds of crime.

Vito Rizzuto, Nicolo's son, is currently serving a jail term in the US on racketeering charges related to three Mafia murders.

The Rizzutos were considered one of the most powerful Mafia families in the world in the 1970s following a violent war with the Cotroni family, another group involved in organised crime.

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