Thomas Salvatore Gioeli, (pronounced Jee-OH-lee), also known as "Tommy Shots", (born 1952) is a veteran hitman for the Colombo crime family who has allegedly killed 40 people, including a NYPD detective and a Colombo underboss, for the family.
Rise in the Colombo family
In the mid-1980s, Gioeli was imprisoned for robbery, his first incarceration. After his release, Gioeli became a made member, or full member, of the Colombo family. In the late 1980s, Gioeli started working for capo Vittorio Orena, lead of the Colombo Brooklyn faction and one of the family's top earners. Gioeli has a wife Maureen and owns a home in Farmingdale, New York.
Colombo wars and tough guy
In 1982, Gioeli allegedly participated in the accidental killing of Veronica Zuraw, a former Catholic nun. Zuraw was killed by a stray bullet during the assassination of Colombo mobster Joseph Peraino. Government witness Dino Calabro claimed that Gioeli told him he was "going to hell" for killing a nun. However, Gioeli maintains his innocence and no charges in the Zuraw killing have been filed against him.
In 1997, Gioeli allegedly participated in the murder of Ralph Dols, a New York Police Department (NYPD) officer. Colombo consigliere Joel Cacace had ordered Dols' death because Dols had recently married Cacace's ex-wife, Kim Kennaugh. Gioeli allegedly took the order from Cacace and arranged for Dino Calabro and Colombo mobster Dino Saracino to shoot Dols outside his Brooklyn house.
In 1989, the imprisoned Colombo boss Carmine Persico appointed Orena to be his temporary acting boss. By 1991 Orena, with the encouragement of Gambino crime family boss John Gotti, felt strong enough to challenge Persico for total control of the family. In response, Persico tried to assassinate Orena in 1991. This attack triggered a bloody internal conflict in the Colombo family between the Persico and Orena factions. Gioeli gave his support to Orena. Bloody shootouts between the two factions in 1991 resulted in murders of prominent Orena supporters. As the war progressed, many Orena loyalist switched sides to the Persico faction to avoid being killed. In 1991, Gioeli switched sides and became the top lieutenant and protégée of hitman Gregory Scarpa.
On June 12, 1991, Gioeli, Calabro, and soldier Joseph Competiello allegedly murdered Frank Marasa, an Orena loyalist, outside Marasa's home in Brooklyn. Gioeli allegedly murdered Marasa because he was involved in the murder of another Colombo crime family associate.
Fall of Orena and victory
On March 25, 1992, Gioeli and Calabro allegedly murdered John Minerva and Micheal Imbergamo as they sat in a parked car on Long Island. Minerva was murdered because he was a Colombo soldier with the Orena faction. Imbergamo was a friend of Minerva's who was not involved in organized crime.
On March 27, 1992, Gioeli and several Persico loyalists were ambushed, and became involved in a high-speed car chase. Gioeli was wounded in the shoulder and stomach, earning him the nickname "Tommy Shots" and a reputation for toughness. In 1992, Orena was arrested and indicted on racketeering and murder charges. In 1993, one of Orena's last remaining allies, Joseph Scopo, was killed and Orena was sentenced to life in prison. The Persico faction now claimed victory and Persico's son, Alphonse Persico took effective control of the family.
In the late 1990s, Persico and John DeRoss promoted Gioeli to Caporegime. On August 3, 1995, Gioeli and other mobsters allegedly murdered Colombo associate Richard Greaves in Saracino's basement apartment. Greaves had asked the Colombo leadership for permission to leave the family and move to the Midwest. However, the leaders feared that Greaves might become a government witness and ordered his killing. Gioeli allegedly buried Greaves' body in an industrial park in Farmingdale, New York.
In May 1999, Gioeli, Dino Calabro, and Dino Saracino allegedly murdered William Cutolo, the new Colombo underboss, in Saracino's apartment. Alphonse Persico had been recently convicted of a gun possession charge in Florida; he feared that Cutolo, a former Orena lieutenant, would seize control of the Colombo family. Persico ordered Cutolo to meet him in a park in Brooklyn. Gioli, Calabro, and Saracino took Cutolo to Saracino's house, where they allegedly murdered him. Gioeli then allegedly buried Cutolo in the same location in Farmingdale, New York where he allegedly buried Greaves four years earlier.
After the 2004 conviction of acting boss Joel Cacace, Gioeli was promoted to "Street boss", with his protégé Paul Bevacqua as acting capo. Gioeli's position included meeting with Carmine Persico and conveying messages to family leaders such as Vincenzo Aloi and Benny Aloi, John Franzese and John DeRoss.
On June 4, 2008, Gioeli was indicted for robbery, extortion, the 1991 Marassa murder, and the 1992 Minerva and Imbergamo murders. The robbery indictment involved a 1991 fur shop robbery in which Gioeli allegedly posed as a customer. On December 16, 2008, Gioeli was indicted on the 1995 Greaves murder and the 1999 Cutolo murder. Although Alphonse Persico was convicted in 2007 of ordering Cutolo's murder, prosecutors had lacked sufficient evidence then to indict Gioeli. However, by 2008, both Calabro and Competiello were now government witnesses planning to testify against Gioeli.
On February 9, 2010, Gioeli was briefly hospitalized after suffering a minor stroke. Already diagnosed with diabetes and cardiac problems, Gioeli had unsuccessfully petitioned the court on February 8 to be released from jail due to his medical problems. Gioeli has also complained to the court about his dental problems, the poor quality of the jail food, and allegedly unsanitary practices in the dispensation of his medicine.
In July 2010, Gioeli was indicted in the 1997 Dols murder. On May 9, 2012, the jury returned a mixed verdict. Gioeli was cleared of the Cutolo and Dols hits, but convicted on other racketeering charges.
People murdered by Thomas Gioeli
Order: Nº. Name/Rank/Affiliation/When/Involevment/Reason
- Veronica Zuraw/None/Former catholic nun/January 4, 1982/Personal/Gioeli accidentally killed Zuraw when he was attempting to murder Joseph Peraino Sr., a bullet ricocheted and hit Zuraw in the head killing her instantly.
- John Marasa/Associate/Colombo crime family/June 12, 1991/Personal/Marasa was murdered in revenge for his murder of a Colombo crime family associate.
- John Minerva/Soldier/Colombo crime family/March 25, 1992/Personal/Minerva was murdered in the Third Colombo War between Persico and Orena factions.
- Michael Imbergaro/None/Independent/March 25, 1992/Personal/Imbergaro was Minerva's friend and wasn't involved in organized crime, he was murdered because he was with Minerva at the time.
- Richard Greaves/Associate/Colombo crime family/August 3, 1995/Personal/Greaves was murdered because he wanted to move to the midwest and might turn into an informant.
- Ralph Dols/Officer/NYPD/1997/Personal/Dols was murdered because he was in a relationship with Joel Cacace's ex-wife Kim Kennaugh and Cacace was prejudiced towards Dols for being Latino.
- William Cutolo/Underboss/Colombo crime family/May 26, 1999/Personal/Cutolo was murdered in a power struggle to prevent him from becoming the boss of the Colombo crime family.