City At War
Batman Saves Entire Family
Mobsters Fight For Dominance
Gotham streets turned into vicious scenes of urban carnage yesterday as rival gangs fought for dominance in the post-Carmine Falcone era. A cascade of open assassinations, revenge killings, and drive-by shootings left over thirty mobsters dead.
Six citizens were killed in the violence, and dozens of others were wounded and are currently recovering in hospitals around the city.
After weeks of spectacular interventions in criminal activities, Batman appeared out of the evening sky to save a Gotham family caught in the middle of crossfire. An unconfirmed report also placed him in the dockyards after midnight, attempting to quell open gang warfare there.
The Gotham Police Department was largely ineffective in stopping the bloodshed, and officials were struggling to restore order as The Times went to press in early morning.
Police officials said that the warning factions include the ruthless organization headed by "The Chechen," the Falcone faction now headed by Sal Maroni, and the street toughs headed by Gambol. Each of the gangs were bloodied in yesterday's fighting and it is not yet clear who has the upper hand, police sources told The Times.
The violence was expected to continue into today, and authorities advised citizens to stay at home if possible. Gotham business-owners feared a drastic drop of sales in what is normally the biggest shopping day of the year.
Late last night, police officials rounded up dozens of suspected mobsters in street sweeps in a last-ditch attempt to curb the mounting violence. However, the arrests did not staunch the bloodshed, which spilled over into the early morning hours in several districts in the city.
In an evening press conference carried live on the city's major television networks, Police Commissioner G. Loeb blamed the explosion of mob violence on "murderers and thugs who believe they are immune to prosecution."
"The Gotham Police Department will continue to take every legal action to fight this wave of mob violence swamping the city," said Loeb.
While Commissioner Loeb attempted to portray the police department as working vigilantly against the crime gangs, others criticized the official response as woefully inadequate.
A coalition of citizen-activist groups issued a statement blasting the city for allowing "mayhem" to take over the streets. "Whether through staggering incompetence or all-out corruption, the Gotham Police Department has ceded the streets to the worst kind of monsters," spokesperson Dana Worthington said.
"We demand an official, non-partisan investigation into how the police have allowed Gotham to fall to such violence and despair," Worthington continued.
Many observers noted the sad irony of such bloodshed occurring on Thanksgiving.
Responding to a barrage of reporters' questions on the steps of city hall, prosecutor Harvey Dent said that it was the criminals who were offering thanks during the national holiday, "thanks to the corrupt cops and politicians that have handed over the city to murderers and monsters."
Mob watchers said the trigger for the unprecedented outbreak of open hostilities was the breakdown of negotiations between crime families after the still-unexplained disappearance of former mob boss Carmine Falcone in the chaos during the Narrows Attack.
"The loss of Falcone left the criminal gangs without a clear boss," said longtime Mafia watcher Anthony Corretti. "Each family thinks they have the upper hand now and are refusing to back down."
Corretti expects the violence to continue sporadically until a new power alignment is settled. "Nobody's going to cut a deal after all this bloodshed. The situation will get worse before it gets better," Corretti said.
The urban warfare started early and stretched through almost every part of the city, from Chinatown restaurants to the alleys of East End to the Gotham Docks.
The butcher's bill started at 7:38 AM, when Maroni lieutenant Johnny "Taffyface" Linata was killed by a bomb under his late-model SUV outside his home in Newtown. His wife Elaine was also killed in the explosion.
Maroni's men lashed out against both the Chechens and Gambol's organization. The Chechen outfit was hit deep in Chinatown at the New Paradise during lunch hour. Lined up for the $8.99 all-you-can-eat buffet, four Chechen thugs were pumped full of bullets.
The gun-battle spilled onto the street and raged for more than 10 minutes, as Chechen killers fought toe-to-toe with their Italian enemies.
The Chechen lost seven men, including trusted aide Nitzvarov Lenikstrika. Maroni's men left two of their own corpses. Three citizens were killed in the crossfire - Janice Mirsky, 38, Jennifer Flowren, 23, and Sandy Altwood, 75.
At 2:36 pm, it was Gambol's turn on the firing line. Three soldiers from Maroni's organization broke into the Doodad Club in Center City, a Gambol stronghold, and shot four of Gambol's men to death. Two corpses were left in the sidewalk outside of the Club until late at night.
The blood frenzy continued through the night. At 7:38 pm the Fillipazzo Community Festival - Sal Maroni's signature event - was interrupted by death and horror as gunfire between warring factions killed a young girl.
At about the same time, Batman made his first appearance of the day. Outside of the Cherry Woods Social Club in Cherry Woods, Gambol's men were ambushed by forces associated with The Chechen. The Stone family was caught in the crossfire, and the parents Lyle, 38, and Jamilla, 35, huddled with their children Frank, 11, and Kendra, 8, behind an abandoned car.
Shortly after that, at 8:25 pm, Maroni captain Tony "Two-Times" Tarrigliano was shot down as he exited a barber shop in East End.
At 8:52 pm, reports emerged of a shoot-out in Crime Alley, with Gambol's men engaged in an exchange of machine-gun fire with the Chechen outfit. Four Chechen soldiers were downed as well as five of Gambol's men. Two citizens were also killed - Thea Gillhooley, 29, and Matthew Donaldsen, 52.
One of Maroni's men was found dead with gunshot wounds to the face and head in an alley in East End shortly before midnight.
And in what already is being called the "Midnight Massacre", 5 of Gambol's men were gunned down at the docks at 12:57 am. Police report it is unclear which faction attacked Gambol in the late-night assault.