This week the NYPD dedicated a 45 foot boat (known as a launch) to Anthony J Venditti.
January 21, 1986, Detective Anthony J. Venditti was gunned down in front of a Queens diner as was his partner Detective Katherine Burke. Detective Burke survived, but Detective Venditti died at the scene.
It is out of the ordinary that they were shot at all. They were part of the Joint Organized Crime Task Force with the FBI and they were assigned to follow Genovese mobster Federico Giovanelli aka Fritzy. They had him under surveillance day and night using a brown two-tone 1977 Lincoln Town Car. They wanted to catch him running his large gambling and shylock operation. Fritzy spotted them.
That night they followed him to his club at 343 St. Nicholas Avenue in Queens. They watched him from Palmetto just under the train and by 8pm they figured he had spotted them. They left and went to a nearby diner so Det. Venditti could use the restroom and grab a cup of coffee.
Once in the diner parking, lot they noticed Fritzy had followed them to the diner. Fritzy was parked behind their car. Det Venditti wanted to go into the diner anyway, aware of the fact that the mafia has a rule against harming law enforcement. Det. Burke drove around the block and when she returned she saw Det. Venditti surrounded by three men. Det. Venditti was holding a paper bag and his pistol was in an ankle holster. Det. Burke jumped out of the car and yelled, “Tony, watch out! Police! Freeze!” She began to draw her pistol from her coat pocket when she was hit in the chest. She was going down, but still fired five shots in the air. Det. Venditti was shot twice in the face and twice in the back.
Fritzy was picked up within minutes, running from the diner, but he had no weapon on him.
Det. Burke later identified two Genovese associates Steven Maltese and Carmine Gaultiere as the men at the scene.
Det. Burke testified that Fritzy was the one who shot her. Fritzy testified that he was being held up by two men in front of the diner and that they shot Det. Venditti.
A jury acquitted Carmine Gaultiere and hung on Fritzy and Maltese.
The Feds hit the men with Racketeering charges in 1989 and they were given 20 years for racketeering including murder and attempted murder but it was overturned on appeal.
Chin Gigante, who ran the Genovese family, was big on mafia rules. So why did he let these men live after shooting a police officer? Did they believe he was going to rob them?
Fritzy is a Genovese Capo, but his life has been one arrest after another. Fritzy has a mole deep in the FBI where he is able to get information. In the 1980’s he gave information to John Gotti’s friend Angelo Ruggerio that his basement was bugged. They were being investigated for a massive heroin ring. He also tipped off some New Jersey DeCavalcante mobsters that they were about to be indicted in 1999 but the FBI has never been able to figure out how he got the information. How many investigations did he compromise over the years?
This is one of those miscarriage of justice cases where the bad guy seems to win.
Rest in peace Detective Anthony J Venditti.