Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Gambino Capo is Shot on Staten Island

Friends of Ours: Gambino Crime Family, Bonanno Crime Family, Carmine Sciandra, John Gotti, Junior Gotti, Ronald Carlucci, Michael Viga

A reputed Gambino capo was shot in the gut in Staten Island during a window-smashing, bat-swinging brawl with two Bonanno thugs and a retired NYPD officer who attacked him because they thought his brother groped the cop's daughter, police said yesterday.

The Gambinos are "screaming for blood" over the attack on powerful capo Carmine Sciandra at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday outside the Top Tomato produce market, which he owns with his brothers.

Authorities fear a mob war could erupt because the brazen attack was not approved by other bosses. "This was a renegade act," a police source said. "The Gambinos are going to want some retribution."

Cops identified the suspects as Patrick Balsamo, a former city cop; Ronald Carlucci, 62, a "made" member of the rival Bonanno crime family; and mob associate Michael Viga, 59, of Staten Island. Balsamo allegedly brought along the two men as muscle to help him when he confronted Sciandra because his brother, Sal, allegedly groped his 18-year-old daughter, who worked at the market.

According to police sources, Balsamo smashed some windows at Top Tomato. In the ensuing melee, someone shot Sciandra in the belly. Balsamo and his two sidekicks allegedly fled in two sedans with three bat-wielding guys running after them from market. Balsamo and his two cohorts were arrested without incident after police spotted them at East Broadway and Shadow Lane down the block from Viga's house.

Sciandra was listed in serious condition. "He's going to need another surgery," said Top Tomato's lawyer, Joseph Benefante. "The bullet is lodged in his muscle tissue." Sciandra was once considered a dark-horse candidate to lead the family after the late "Teflon Don" John Gotti grew ill in prison and son John A. "Junior" Gotti was also jailed.

Balsamo served only eight years as a cop before retiring with a disability pension. A grand jury cleared him of wrongdoing for his role in the 1990 shooting of a disturbed man who rushed at him and his partner with a knife. Balsamo was charged with criminal mischief in Wednesday's brawl.

The two Bonanno thugs were charged with assault and weapons possession police did not specify which was the triggerman.

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