BROOKLYN, N.Y. (PIX11) — Federal prosecutors on Monday played surveillance video from a McDonald’s drive-thru in the Bronx, allegedly showing Bloods gang members making sure they’d killed a reputed mobster.
The victim, 71-year-old Sylvester Zottola, known as “Sally Daz,” was picking up coffee when he was shot multiple times. He was allegedly set up by his son, Anthony Zottola, who is now on trial in Brooklyn Federal Court in a murder-for-hire conspiracy case.
He’s accused of paying $200,000 to a reputed leader in the Bloods gang, Bushawn Shelton, to organize the hit. Federal prosecutors said Zottola plotted for more than a year to kill his father and his brother, Salvatore.
Authorities said the father, a reputed associate of the Bonanno crime family, survived previous attempts on his life until Oct. 4, 2018, when his SUV was pinned in by several cars at the McDonald’s on Webster Avenue and Belmont Street. A shooter wearing a hooded sweatshirt fired multiple times into his maroon Acura.
On Monday, prosecutors submitted numerous videos into evidence, including surveillance showing one suspect getting into a gray car on Webster Avenue just seconds before Sylvester Zottola’s SUV drives into the McDonald’s diagonally across the street. Surveillance from the McDonald’s drive-thru showed Sylvester Zottola’s maroon vehicle crashing into a wall seconds after he was shot, as four different men peek into the SUV’s window. Within two minutes, the surveillance video showed police responding to the drive-thru and trying to assist Zottola.
Police initially thought rival Albanian mobsters might have been gunning for Zottola, eager to take over his “Joker Poker” gambling franchise in city bars. They said Zottola once reported to imprisoned Bonanno family boss Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano.
But less than a year later, federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York accused Zottola’s son, Anthony, of the murder conspiracy and submitted evidence that he texted the reputed Bloods member before and after his father’s murder, using code words to talk about payment.
Prosecutors said the $200,000 payday for the hit was tucked into a cardboard box filled with bottled water.
One of the witnesses at trial was Salvatore Zottola, Anthony’s brother, who survived an assassination attempt outside the family’s compound in Locust Point, the Bronx, in July 2018. Surveillance video showed Salvatore Zottola rolling around on the street, trying to elude gunshots.
A brick display on top of the family estate spells out these words “Zottola’s Court: Our walls are built thick. Our love for each other is thicker.”