Rosario Riggio was an ex-convict and racketeer who was paroled in May of 1934 after serving a ten year sentence in the Atlanta penitentiary for counterfeiting. Back in New York he opened a grocery store supposedly as a front for illegal activities.
Although they claimed he was a
racketeer, police refused to say what racket he was involved in. His
brother Joseph had been involved in the ice racket prior to being
killed, possibly a victim in the Castellemmarese War, on March 19,
Police said that fearing for his life, Riggio, who also
feared violating his parole, took to using twenty-six year old Alfred
Seru as a "gun-toter". It was Seru's job to be near his boss and supply
him with a gun should the need arise. On January 31, an adversary of
Riggio's dropped into the grocery store and Seru fired on him but
unfortunately killed a young woman who was in the store shopping and was
then hauled off to jail leaving his boss defenseless.
day in 1935, Riggio went to a house down the block from his store
supposedly to inspect some art he was thinking about buying. At about
4:00pm he left the premises and as he walked up to his car, two men,
both carrying pistols, walked up behind him and fired
simultaneously. Hit three times in the right side of the head and once
in the neck, Riggio managed to stumble into his car before falling over
the steering wheel dead.
One explanation for Riggio's murder is
that it was an insurance hit. Perhaps the killers of his brother Joseph
feared that he might make an attempt at retribution and so knocked him
off just in case.