BROOKLYN (PIX11) — Salvatore Zottola, who survived an alleged murder-for-hire plot involving his younger brother and the Bloods gang, defended his slain father’s name as he waited for a verdict Monday.
“He was a good father. He was a good guy,” Zottola said of his dad, Sylvester, who was 71 when he was executed at a McDonald’s drive-thru on October 4, 2018.
Salvatore Zottola acknowledged his family knew jailed Bonanno organized crime boss, Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano, but attacked suggestions that his father, known as Sally Daz, was a mobster.
“He wasn’t a wiseguy,” Salvatore Zottola said. “He was the best. He did everything for everybody.”
Sylvester Zottola used to rent jukeboxes and video games to entertainment spots around the city, even the Whitestone Bowling lanes, his oldest son recalled.
Zottola’s youngest son, Anthony, 44, is awaiting the jury’s verdict on a murder conspiracy charge.
Federal prosecutors charge Anthony Zottola, 44, hired a Bloods leader to kill his father and brother so he could take over the family’s $45 million dollar real estate interests.
“My father treated all of us equally,” Salvatore said of his brother and older sister, Debbie, the older brother apparently still puzzled over all that happened between September 2017 and October 2018.
Prosecutors presented evidence at trial, including text messages, surveillance, and GPS exhibits to show a plot more than a year in the making. Repeated attempts to kill Sylvester and Salvatore Zottola failed until the father was ambushed at the McDonald’s on Webster Avenue on Oct. 4, 2018.
Salvatore Zottola was shot five times outside his family’s estate in Locust Point three months before—on July 11, 2018—and described what happened to PIX11 News Monday.
“I was shot in my chest, my head, my hands, and my back,” Salvatore Zottola said.
Zottola said the last shot was at close range and was the one that grazed his head.
“The last shot, it was like a loud ping, and I saw a white light,” Salvatore Zottola recalled. “I was face down. I heard the noise, and after the white light, it went black. And then I woke up to a pool of blood.”
The video of Salvatore Zottola’s shooting showed him trying to elude the bullets by rolling on the street.
Zottola testified against his brother at trial and mentioned to PIX11 News that his father even used to fix the vending machines at the local Bronx police precinct.
“I just want him to be remembered as the good person that he was,” Zottola said. “We used to laugh all the time.”
Zottola’s brother is on trial with the alleged shooter in his dad’s murder, Himen Ross, and Alfred Lopez, the accused getaway driver.
Jury deliberations had to start over Monday morning after one of the original twelve jurors was diagnosed with COVID and an alternate had to step in.