Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Suicide notes left by son of Lucchese Consigliere shot by police

Former Lucchese Consigliere Frank "Big Frank" Lastorino

Carl Lastorino grew up the son of a former member of the Lucchese crime family, authorities said. But he had no known connections to the mob, and at age 45 he lived a quiet life at home with his parents and doted on his cats.
On Monday, police said, Mr. Lastorino wrote suicide notes to his mother and sister in Brooklyn, hunted down and shot a one-time associate of his father and then confronted police with an empty pistol. He was shot by two officers and killed.
Neither police nor Mr. Lastorino's parents could explain his motives.
"Right now it looks more like suicide by cop," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said Tuesday.
The man Mr. Lastorino shot, Peter Argentina, is a onetime alleged mob associate nicknamed the "Rim Man," according to a law-enforcement official with knowledge of the case. Mr. Argentina has six prior arrests, including a bank robbery, the official said. The disposition of the cases wasn't known.
Mr. Argentina was in stable condition at Brookdale Hospital, police said, and couldn't be reached for comment.
Authorities say that what appeared at first blush to have all the markings of an attempted mob murder doesn't appear to have anything to do with organized crime. After the shooting, Mr. Argentina told a co-worker that he didn't know who the shooter was. And Mr. Lastarino's father, who is known as "Big Frank," told detectives that neither he nor his son had a problem with Mr. Argentina, according to a law-enforcement official.
Mr. Browne said Mr. Lastorino left two suicide notes. To his sister, he wrote, "I can no longer live as a failure," Mr. Browne said. In addition to leaving a note, he also told his mother that he had a job to do and that he wasn't coming back, Mr. Browne said.
Two videos released by the NYPD show the shooting and then the moments just before Mr. Lastorino decided to confront the police, wielding what turned out to be an empty gun.
Mr. Browne said that at around 4:40 p.m., Mr. Lastorino, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, dark pants and sunglasses, approached Mr. Argentina outside of Peter's Tire & Rim Service on Linden Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn, and asked, "Are you Pete?"
Mr. Argentina acknowledged he was. Mr. Lastorino pulled out a revolver, said, "This is for you, Pete," and fired from approximately 4 feet away. In the video, Mr. Lastarino is seen chasing a fleeing Mr. Argentina and firing at him until turning around and leaving the store.
Mr. Argentina, shot twice, told a business partner that he didn't know the man who attacked him, authorities said.
A second video, recorded by a livery cab's camera, shows Mr. Lastorino in the back seat. The driver later told police that when he asked Mr. Lastorino where he wanted to go, Mr. Lastorino muttered something he couldn't understand.
When police pulled behind the cab, the driver noticed Mr. Lastorino was wearing a holster and gripping a gun. He scrambled out of the car.
Mr. Browne said that the officers approached Mr. Lastorino from both sides of the car with their guns out but pointed down. They announced that they were police officers and told Mr. Lastorino to drop his gun. He said Mr. Lastorino pointed a gun, announced he wouldn't be taken alive and said, "You are going to have to shoot me." The officers each shot one time, striking Mr. Lastorino in the abdomen and the right hip.
As Mr. Lastorino was taken to Brookdale Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:20 p.m., police searched the livery cab and found a loaded, six-shot .38-caliber Colt Special gun wrapped in Mr. Lastorino's jacket. The gun that Mr. Lastorino was pointing at the officers was empty.
Mr. Lastorino's father, Frank Lastorino Sr., who was convicted in a racketeering case in 1994 in which federal prosecutors identified him as a capo in the Lucchese crime family, told investigators that though he had once worked with Mr. Argentina, his son was a "recluse" and there was no history of "bad blood" with Mr. Argentina, according to a law-enforcement official with knowledge of the case.
The elder Mr. Lastorino was released from federal prison in 2008 after he was convicted on murder conspiracy charges along with other alleged Lucchese crime family members.
A man who answered the phone at their home in East New York Tuesday night said, "Is this a newspaper? Please don't call here again. No comment."
When detectives asked Mr. Lastorino's brother, Frank Lastorino Jr., whether the shooter had been in any arguments lately, he told them his brother stayed home all the time and rode his bike. He also told them that his brother suffered from depression and hadn't held a job in five years. "He felt like he couldn't do anything," the brother told detectives.
Police had been called to Mr. Lastorino's home in 2004 because he was "suffering seizures and acting irrationally," according to a person familiar with the matter. He also was reported missing in 2005.
The law-enforcement official said Mr. Lastorino wrote to his mother: "I am so very sorry. I love you so much, sorry I did not do more for you. I hope you will be all right. Love you always, Carl." To his sister, Lenora, he wrote: "Please take care of Mommy and the cats….Tell Mommy I am very sorry. I can no longer live as a failure. This was a long time coming and no one's fault but my own."



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