Clipped From Hartford Courant

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By LYNNE TUOHY and THERESA SULLIVAN BARGER Courant Staff Writers Thomas DeBrizzi of Stratford will be burled today, but questions about who emptied a .38-caliber handgun into the reputed organized crime boss and why are far from being resolved. The obituary a funeral home prepared for DeBrizzi lists no organizations or affiliations. The one that law enforcement officers could write would be far more comprehensive. It would say he had been the leader of the Carlo Gambino crime family in Connecticut for the past 6ft years and a soldier in that New York family for more than two decades. It would detail his arrests and convic tions on illegal gambling, loan-sharking, racketeering and weapons charges, and it would include his most recent release from prison, six months ago. What investigators cannot say is whether the "hit" on DeBrizzi, 64, was sanctioned by the heads of the Gambino organization or whether it came from outside the "family" as part of a power and turf struggle in the Fairfield County area. If it was not sanctioned, "there will be problems; there will be more bodies," according to one source close to the investigation. Although law enforcement officials surmise the hit was sanctioned, they certainly are not closing their ears to reports from some Informants to the contrary. They admit to having been surprised by the slaying There was no indication there was trouble brewing within the family or within a rival family. A law enforcement official and say they knew of no dissension within the Gambino crime family. "It came as a complete surprise," one law enforcement source said. "There -was no indication there was trouble brewing within the family or within a rival family." DeBrizzi's frozen, 270-pound body was found Friday, stuffed in the trunk of an acquaintance's car, which had been left in the Trumbull Shopping Park sometime after his disappearance Jan. SO. He had been shot twice in the head and four times in the back and chest. He had left his wife's Stratford dress shop Jan. 30, a Saturday, in the company of his closest ally and associate, Harry Riccio. Police believe DeBrizzi was going to do some shopping for a Super Bowl dinner he planned to prepare and may have made one stop. A case of soda had to be removed from the car's trunk and placed in the back seat to make room for DeBrizzi's body. Since his release from prison last August after serving 18 months of a two-year term on a weapons charge DeBrizzi had tut an additional 70 pounds on his 5-foot-9 rame, police said. Cooking became his prin cipal hobby, police said. His appearance, once natty, was no longer so, he often used a cane, and he kept a much lower profile. Some police sources say DeBrizzi had been slipping quietly into retirement at the time of his death. "He didn't bother with anyone after he got out of jail," one official said. Despite the uncertainty over who wanted DeBrizzi dead and why, investigators are certain that DeBrizzi's body was left in a public place to leave "a clear message: This is what's going to happen if you move in," in the words of one officer. It also dispels any notion that DeBrizzi merely went into hiding. See Officials, next page

Clipped from
  1. Hartford Courant,
  2. 10 Feb 1988, Wed,
  3. Other Editions,
  4. Page 181

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