Friday, July 01, 2016

Famed Pizzeria Owner Gunned Down in Reputed Mob Hit

An owner of a popular Brooklyn pizzeria was fatally shot outside his home on Thursday night, the police said.

The victim, Louis Barbati, 61, an owner of L&B Spumoni GardensOwner of L&B Spumoni Gardens Gunned Down in Reputed Mob Hit, was shot twice in the torso outside 7601 12th Avenue in the Dyker Heights neighborhood around 7 p.m., the police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Donna Padmore, 56, of East New York, a home health aide who works across the street from Mr. Barbati’s home, said she heard three or four shots. She said she heard Mr. Barbati’s wife screaming, “He got shot! He got shot!”

Then, she said, she saw neighbors rushing to the home, where at least one bullet hole and two nicks in the white fence were visible late Thursday night.

The police said no arrests had been made.

L&B Spumoni Gardens, which has been run by the Barbati family for four generations, is a well-loved institution in Gravesend, neighboring Bensonhurst, and beyond, known for its Sicilian-style pizza pies and frozen dessert that forms part of its name.

The restaurant, with a sign declaring it was established in 1939, occupies a hodgepodge of one-story buildings on 86th Street.

After the restaurant’s windows and doors creaked open for business Friday morning, a man inside the eatery — his voice booming on a loudspeaker — told a group of reporters to leave. “No leaning on the fence,” he said. “Go take a walk somewhere. Thank you.”

A short time later, two men apologized but said the killing had left everyone’s emotions raw. “The family is really upset right now,” one of the men said.

Customers who approached seemed to do so with care. A news conference organized by Eric L. Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, and a city councilman from the area was called off.

In an interview Thursday night, Mr. Adams said that shootings were rare in the 68th Precinct, which includes Dyker Heights, Bay Ridge and Fort Hamilton. Mr. Adams noted that the shooting happened on the last day of Gun Violence Awareness Month in New York.

“The bullet might have stopped when it hit the owner,” Mr. Adams said, “but it is sending ripples throughout the community.”

A two-block area around Mr. Barbati’s home was cordoned off on Thursday night as the police investigated the shooting.

The street where the killing occurred is in a neighborhood with many Italian-American families. During the warm months, neighbors throw block parties with the kind of communal activities more common in suburban areas. At Christmastime, the area is known for elaborate light displays and decorations that draw thousands of visitors.

Thanks to Christopher Mele and Al Baker.

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