The Colombo Family
As a young man, Joe Colombo made his mark as part of Joe Profacis elite execution squad, a five-man hit team that included Larry and Joey Gallo. When you killed with the Gallo boys, Carl Sifakis writes in The Mafia Encyclopedia, you killed with the best. In addition to his hit-man duties, Colombo initially worked as an enforcer on the docks, then moved up to running gambling dens, hijacking, and loan-sharking. But perhaps what formed his thinking more than any of his criminal experiences was the gangland slaying of his father, Anthony Colombo, who was found garroted in his car along with his girlfriend. Joe Colombo knew first hand how quickly a wiseguy can fall out of favor and be exterminated.
When he formed the Italian American Civil Rights League, his fellow mobsters didnt know what to think. On one hand, they agreed with his cause, believing that all Italian-Americans were unfairly targeted by law enforcement simply because of their heritage. But on the other hand, they traditionally thrived in the shadows away from public scrutiny.
The attempt on his life at the league rally in 1971 was too public to have been a Mafia hit. Despite the finger-pointing by the police, it just wasnt the way the mob did things. They would have chosen an isolated spot late at night and away from witnesses, not unlike the way his father was killed. Nevertheless,
Keeping things quiet was a good idea, but no sooner did one mob star get vegetabled than another one found the spotlight, and this one threatened to shine brighter than even Joe Colombo.