The bells of an Italian Renaissance-style church in Montreal chimed softly Saturday as pallbearers carried the gold coffin of the son of the reputed head of Canada's most powerful Mafia family.
There was a heavy police presence in the city's Little Italy neighborhood at the funeral service for Nick Rizzuto, the son of Montreal Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto.
Nick was standing next to a black Mercedes last Monday when a gunman approached and fired several shots in broad daylight, killing him. Witnesses said the victim crumpled into the fresh snow. Police have not yet arrested the unidentified gunman.
Most of the mourners at Notre-Dame-de-la Defense church remained tightlipped as they filed out of the church, refusing to speak to reporters assembled outside.
Family friend Ricardo Padulo recalled the younger Rizzuto as "a gentleman."
"This turnout shows respect," Padulo said. "In the eye of God he's a great person. It was a beautiful service."
Henri Padulo knew Rizzuto from around the neighborhood, and recalled meeting him in local restaurants.
"He was a very polite boy, he never harassed anybody," he said. "Sometimes these things happen. Unfortunately, that's life. It's a sad day. He was young, 42 years old."
Some bystanders said curiosity brought them there.
"It's tourism," said Jean Fournier. "I'm here to see what it's like, who these people are."
During the packed service, the priest, dressed in fuchsia robes, addressed the somber crowd in Italian.
One burly man angrily ushered journalists outside after they entered the church to watch the funeral.
Vito Rizzuto, who is serving a sentence in Colorado for racketeering related to three Mafia murders, was not seen at the funeral. The victim's grandfather and namesake Nicolo Rizzuto Sr. was there, wearing a dark cashmere coat and his trademark fedora.
Nicolo Rizzuto began his Mafia career in Canada as an associate of the Cotroni crime family that controlled much of Montreal's drug trade in the 1970s while answering to the Bonanno crime family of New York.
Adrian Humphreys and Lee Lamothe titled their book "The Sixth Family" after the Rizzuto clan, saying it rivals any of the five mob families in New York, which includes the Lucchese, Bonanno, Gambino, Colombo, and Genovese mob clans.