Nicola Schiro

Nicola "Cola" Shiro (September 2, 1872 - 1957) is considered to be one of the first bosses of the Castellammarese community in Brooklyn, later known as the Bonanno crime family.


Nicola Schiro was born on September 2, 1872 in the town of Roccamena, Sicily. In 1902 he immigrated to the United States and settled in Brooklyn. Despite being from Roccamena, he soon became a member of the Castellemmarese mafia clan centered in Brooklyn. According to Salvatore Clemente, a Secret Service informant in the Morello Family, Schiro assumed leadership of the of the Family in 1912 and by 1913 was aligned with the Morellos in a war against Salvatore D'Aquila.

Schiro probably had a leading role in the murderous organization which was dubbed 'The Good Killers' and was under the command of Stefano Magaddino and Vito Bonventre. Magaddino fled to Buffalo after he and the other 'Good Killers' were arrested but released after the case against them collapsed. Magaddino eventually became the mafia boss in Buffalo. Other former members of the Schiro Family became bosses of Families in other parts of the country, including Frank Lanza in San Francisco, Gaspar Milazzo in Detroit, and Gaspare Messina in New England.

Salvatore Maranzano arrived from Sicily in 1925 and soon established himself in a leadership role within the Schiro Family. During the time of Maranzano's arrival Giuseppe Masseria noticed the growing number of the Castellammarese clan in New York. Masseria started to demand cash tributes from Schiro, to prove his power in the US. Schiro reputedly payed and then vanished, leaving Maranzano in charge. Maranzano didn't tolerate Masseria's behavior and started to challenge his Manhattan enemy which erupted in the Castellammarese War of 1930. What happened to Schiro during the war was unknown at the time, but decades later it was discovered that he had fled back to Sicily after paying Masseria's ransom demand. He died there in 1957.

Joseph Bonanno mentions Schiro in his autobiography, calling him "a compliant fellow" who wanted to avoid war. Bonanno also speculated that at the time of his confrontation with Masseria, Schiro had to rely on the support of Magaddino, the leading mafioso in the country born in Castellemmarese del Golfo, to maintain control over his Family.

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