Camorra assassin escapes as Naples looks the other way

Police release CCTV tape in unprecedented step to find brazen killer

By Michael Day
Friday 30 October 2009 01:00

Even by the mafia's brutal standards, the killing of a man smoking a cigarette outside a central Naples bar in broad daylight was shocking in its ruthlessness.

But perhaps more disturbing is the reaction of witnesses, who can be seen in a video that has been released by Naples prosecutors in an unprecedented step to try and to find the killer. As the Camorra hitman dispatches his victim with clinical efficiency, a bystander casually checks her lottery scratch card and walks away. Others peer at the body and continue about their business as if the shooting was a normal part of daily life.

The CCTV footage – and the aftermath of the crime – give a troubling insight into the extent of the Naples mafia's control of their territory. Although the hit took place on 11 May this year, and the face of the killer is clearly visible on the recording, with witnesses present, investigators have so far met with silence.

Journalist Roberto Saviano, who has a permanent armed escort since exposing the activities of the Naples mafia in his best selling book Gomorrah, called the killing a "classic Camorra hit, very well planned and executed without fanfare". He added that the video "shows what little value these people have for human life," in a recorded commentary posted on la Repubblica's website. "The thing that strikes you," he said, "is the absolute serenity of the killer."

The video shows the assassination of 53-year-old Mariano Bacio Tarracino, a man with mob connections, outside the bar in the Sanita neighbourhood of Naples, where the Camorra has a strong presence.

The hitman, wearing a baseball cap, approaches Mr Tarracino, but initially appears put off by the close proximity of a woman checking a lotto scratch card. He then goes into the bar, in which there are at least six people, before quickly exiting to find the woman has moved away. He draws a gun, and shoots his victim at point blank range. And as Mr Tarracino collapses to the ground, his killer finishes him off with a shot to the head.

The woman, only a few yards away, finishes her scratch card and walks away, followed in calm succession by the killer. Seconds after the murder two other members of the public, including a man with a toddler in his arms, are seen to look at the body but react as if nothing has happened. An accomplice who appears to observe the victim for some time before the hit is also seen in the video.

Despite the offer of a €2,000 (£1,795) reward for information leading to the killer's arrest, prosecutors have yet to identify the killer after five months' of inquiries. "We have decided to circulate the video as widely as possible, urging the cooperation of whoever can provide information to identify the killer and his lookout," the Naples office for anti-mafia investigations said.

Walter Veltroni, the former Democratic Party leader, and a member of the National Anti-Mafia Commission, said: "The images of this Camorra assassination video make your blood run cold. What else do we need to see to impress upon the politicians and institutions of this country that the battle against organised criminals is the number one emergency in this country?"

Violence linked to the Camorra, seen as one of the most anarchic and unstructured of the country's big mafia groups, has become virtually a daily occurrence in Naples.

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