Rocco Violi
Montreal Mafia
    Rocco Violi, brother of  Montreal  Mafia  Godfather  Paolo Violi, and his  twin brother Giuseppe were born in the  late 1930s or early 1940s in Italy.

     In  the  1950s, Violi, along  with  brothers  Giuseppe, Paolo, and Francesco, immigrated to  Canada in the 1950s  and, after  a stay in Ontario, finally settled in Montreal.

     Rocco and Giuseppe Violi opened  a pizzeria in Montreal's north-end, and the four brothers, led by Paolo, associated themselves with the Montreal Mafia.

     Violi made headlines in 1964, when he was  arrested for  a knife
fight. His twin, Giuseppe, was  picked up that  same year, for  a hit-and-run incident. Both  men  were detained for deportation  at  Bordeaux  prison  but  were  released  when  politician  John  Diefenbaker pushed for  an investigation  into the  Canadian Immigration Department  and  how they  handled such cases.

     In April, 1970, Violi's twin brother, Giuseppe, was killed in a traffic accident. He was 30 years old. Their father, Dominico, an alleged Mafia boss, was granted  a special immigration permit to  attend the funeral, something he would become all too familiar with over the next ten years.

     While Paolo Violi had risen to become the leader of  the Montreal Mafia, Rocco Violi never became an important figure in the organization. The National Criminal Intelligence files listed him only as Paolo Violi's brother and Montreal's  anti-gang police squad had only  a small file on him.

     War broke out  between  the  Montreal  Mafia's Sicilian  and  Calabrian factions  in  the 1970s. The Sicilians, led by Nicolo and Vito Rizzuto, refused to take orders from Paolo Violi  and made  a grab for the power.

     On February 8, 1977, masked gunmen barged into
Violi Importing & Distributing Ltd. and riddled Francesco Violi, Rocco's brother, with bullets. A year later, on  January 22, 1978, it was  Paolo Violi's turn. He was gunned down  as he played cards in  a bar owned by the Randisi brothers, Vincenzo  and Giuseppe.

     Life  became  dangerous for  Rocco Violi, who was  now seen  by  the  Sicilians as  a liability  and possible threat.

     As Violi waited in his grey Oldsmobile  at a traffic light at Pascal Gagnon Boulevard and Paul-Emile Gamache Street on July 27, 1980, a  motorcycle carrying two people pulled up  alongside the car. The passenger of the bike pulled  a sawed-off shotgun from his leather jacket and fired  a shot  at Violi. He missed  and Violi sped off. The motorcycle followed him  and  a second shot was fired, hitting Violi in the head.

     Violi  was taken to  Maisonneuve Hospital, where  doctors  removed 12 pellets from  his  face  and  neck. He  refused  to talk to  authorities  and did  not policemen  guarding his room. "Violi was lucky," said a police official. "If those guys had used a more powerful shotgun shell, Rocco would have joined his brothers." 

     Violi wouldn't be so lucky three months later. He was reading a newspaper in the kitchen of his St. Leonard home on October 19 when  a bullet struck him in the chest  and  pierced his heart. Violi's two sons were  also in the kitchen at the time of the shooting but were not harmed.

     The murder was committed by a professional killer, police said. A .308 calibre Remington rifle and a paper napkin were found on the third floor of  a nearby. The window on  the floor  provided  a clear view into the back of Violi's home  and the napkin had been used by the killer to wipe  away his finger prints from the murder weapon.

     Police official Charles Poxon said that the murder came as a surprise, since Violi had recently been trying to steer clear of organized crime.

     Violi's funeral  service was held on October 23. Dozens of  wreaths were  piled on 14 cars for  the funeral procession, including one from Mafia Godfather Joe Bonanno.

     As family and friends gathered  inside the  Notre Dame Della Difesa Italian Church on  Henri Julien Street, a large  individual stood guard  at the  entrance. Police officers took  pictures  as the  mourners exited but no Montreal crime figures had attended the service.

     His body was then brought to Cote des Neiges Cemetery, where he was buried next to three of his brothers. It was the fourth time that Dominico Violi had travelled to Montreal to bury a son.