The Barbati family with Louis at left (back row)
A hooded gunman pumped two shots into the back of Louis Barbati, 61, while he was in the backyard of his Dyker Heights home on 12th Ave. near 76th St. just after 7 p.m., Thursday. The co-owner of the famed L&B Spumoni Gardens pizzeria, where a mob war over a stolen sauce recipe once nearly boiled over into bloodshed, was killed in the backyard of his Brooklyn home, according to the police
Barbati’s body was found slumped near the door of the house, sources said.
Around 7:15 pm, police found Louis Barbati, 61, with multiple gunshots to the torso in the backyard of his home near 12th Avenue and 76th Street in Brooklyn. He was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
His wife, another woman and his two sons were in the home at the time of the shooting, sources said. Cops were searching for a white man in his 30s wearing a black hoodie who was seen fleeing, police said.
“I ran up and he was face-down on the stairs,” said a neighbor who sprinted into the yard to help. “I saw blood on the stairs and blood on his back.”
Louis Barbati, was shot in his Brooklyn home, Thursday
Police officers gather in the quiet New York neighborhood shattered by the brazen execution
“A neighbor came to my house and said, ‘Lou’s been shot!’ ” said another neighbor who declined to give her name.
“When they came out without a body, I knew he was dead,” she said. “The family’s a lovely family. He has two children and a beautiful wife.”
L&B’s, known for its tangy sauce-topped Sicilian pizza and creamy Italian ices, was founded by Barbati’s grandfather, Ludovico Barbati, in 1939. The Barbati started patriach started off selling his pizza products from a horse and wagon on the streets of Brooklyn.
The current restaurant on 86th St. in Gravesend was built in the 1950s.
A mob war worthy of a “Sopranos” script nearly erupted over the “gravy” recipe at the pizzeria several years ago, according to testimony in a 2012 extortion case.
Barbati’s son-in-law Frank Guerra, a reputed Columbo crime family associate, was acquitted of a double murder of former underboss Joseph Scopo and Staten Island club owner Michael Devine, as well as extortion of a former Spumoni employee — who he accused of lifting L&B’s secret sauce recipe.
The backyard bloodshed Thursday startled many in the quiet residential neighborhood.
Shootings are rare in the 68th Precinct, Eric L. Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, said in an interview Thursday night.
Mr. Adams mourned Mr. Barbati’s death on Twitter: “#Brooklyn mourns the fatal shooting of @Spumoni_Gardens co-owner Louis Barbati in #DykerHeights, another senseless victim of #gunviolence,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams tweeted.
NYPD officers outside victim’s Brooklyn home
He noted that the shooting happened on the last day of Gun Violence Awareness Month in New York.
Mr. Adams said that L&B Spumoni Gardens, which dates back to the 1950s and has been run by the Barbati family for four generations, was a well-known institution in Brooklyn, and that the death of Mr. Barbati had shocked the neighborhood.
“The bullet might have stopped when it hit the owner,” Mr. Adams said, “but it is sending ripples throughout the community.”
A two-block area around Mr. Barbati’s home was cordoned off on Thursday night as the police investigated the shooting.
No one at the restaurant was available to comment.
The police said no arrests had been made.
The street where the killing occurred is in a neighborhood with many Italian-American families. During the warm months, neighbors throw block parties that feature the kind of communal activities more common in suburban areas. At Christmastime, the area is known for elaborate light displays and decorations that draw thousands of visitors.