Friday, July 12, 2013

Vaughan slayings: Suspect in five unsolved murders among two gunned down

Salvatore (Sam) Calautti, a GTA mobster who was the suspect in at least five unsolved murders, was shot to death with another man outside a stag party in Vaughan overnight.

Calautti was one of two men found shot to death — the other being his friend James Tusek, 35 — when officers were called to the Terrace Banquet Centre on Creditstone Rd. in Vaughan around 1 a.m. for a weapons call.

They found one man dead in the parking lot following the shooting. The second man was taken to hospital and died of his injuries there, said York Regional Police Const. Blair McQuillan.

Calautti, whose age was given by York Region Police as 41, was investigated in the still-unsolved October 2000 murder of Gaetano (Guy) Panepinto.

Panepinto ran a cut-rate casket shop in west Toronto and acted as the Toronto representative for Montreal mobster Vito Rizzuto.

Panepinto was killed shortly after Calautti’s best friend, Domenic (Mico) Napoli, and Antonio Oppedisano vanished and were presumed slain in early 2000 after a dispute with Panepinto over gambling territory.

While he was a short, plump man, Calautti had a fearsome presence in the mob world.

He ran up huge gambling debts to the Rizzuto crime family in Montreal, which were settled when another GTA mobster stepped in to make payment.

He also legally won hundreds of thousands of dollars through legalized gambling in Ontario.

“At this point it doesn’t appear to be a random event,” McQuillan said at the crime scene Friday morning. “Investigators do believe this was a targeted event.”

Police confirmed there was a bachelor party taking place at the hall last night, with as many as 500 guests in attendance. It’s believed close to 100 people were there at the time of the shooting.

Some witnesses have already spoken to police, but they are looking to speak to anyone who was at the party or interacted with the victims.

With a York Region police station visible from the scene, mobile command centres were set up Friday morning.

Crews loaded a BMW SUV onto a flatbed truck that was driven away before 10 a.m. Friday morning. It was the only car left parked beside the large banquet hall on a commercial road.

One woman who said she worked at the hall showed up to work at 9 a.m. but was turned away by officers. She said she was told to go home.

A post-mortem has yet to be scheduled.
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