Gang War Claims Girl

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[edit] Gang War Claims Girl

The gang warfare that exploded into the city streets yesterday was fatal for a seventeen year-old [sic] girl with no links to organized crime.

Gina Tortericci, of Little Italy, was killed by a stray bullet as gunfire erupted at the Fillipazzo Community Festival. The Festival is held yearly on Thanksgiving and is meant to be a happy occasion, where the Italian community celebrates its roots in the Old World and its new life in America.

But the Fillipazzo Community Festival's organizer is Sal Maroni, reputed mob boss who took over the Falcone operation after the events of the Narrows Attack. The party-goers didn't know it when they set off for the festival, but they were stepping into a war zone.

Eyewitness reports are contradictory and fragmented, but all agree that at about 7:30 last night, gunfire erupted at the Fillipazzo Community Festival. Tortericci was apparently running for cover behind an Italian ice vendor when a bullet passed through her chest. EMTs later pronounced her dead on the scene.

Maroni, whose family founded the festival, blamed the event on Chechen gangsters who targeted the event as part of "a deliberate reign of terror" aimed at Gotham's Italian community.

"You have these guys, ex-Red Army, Chechens, Georgians, the scum of Russia. They run out of vodka and they think they can come here and move in on honest, hard-working Americans," a Maroni associate said. Observers feared that going after Maroni at an event so close to his heart would make it even more difficult for the reputed mob boss to stop the bloodshed. Escalation is more likely, sources told The Times.

While witnesses agree that a firefight broke out between Festival security and a trio of young men believed to be members of a Chechen gang, early reports seemed to suggest that Festival employees opened fire first.

Later investigators, however, found eyewitnesses difficult to locate. Meanwhile, panic at the sound of gunfire spread quickly and the crowd ran into neary city streets, disrupting traffic for hours.

In a tragic twist, emergency workers say the mass of gridlocked cars delayed their arrival on the scene by thirty minutes or more. Those minutes, the EMT team says, may have cost Gina Tortericci her life.

At a late night press conference organized by city officials, the victim's father had one simple question.

"Where were the cops?" said a distraught John Tortericci. "A bunch of guys in Security jackets are firing live rounds through a crowd, and where were the cops? Why haven't any of the shooters been arrested? Hell, if the cops had just been there to direct traffic, Gina would be alive today."

Following Mr. Tortericci to the podium, Prosecutor Dent chose his words carefully. "I cannot imagine what the Tortericcis are going through right now. I cannot imagine anything more painful than seeing your child die," he said, before looking directly into the cameras, "except seeing your child die for nothing."

Dent went on to castigate two as-of-yet unidentified officers who he felt needed to explain their actions of that day. Dent claimed that witnesses placed the officers at the festival shortly before the shootings, but said they disappeared when gunfire rang out.

"These officers just disappeared when the thugs pulled up, and their whereabouts were unknown for forty-five minutes after the first shot was fired," Dent said.

The prosecutor drew a breath and paused for emphasis.

"Some would say forty-five minutes is a long time for a cop on the beat to go missing. For Gina Tortericci, it was an eternity."

Dent demanded answers, and seemed to suggest that the officer's [sic] disappearance might not be entirely innocent.

"For that matter, why were Mr. Maroni's security guards heavily armed and apparently expecting trouble?" the prosecutor asked. "If you or someone you know has answers to these questions, please contact the tip form at"

After other city officials had their say and the press conference ended, the Tortericcis asked for a private meeting with Dent. The parties retreated to Dent's private offices, where they remained for much of the night. One of Dent's aides was asked what the prosecutor had to say to the grieving parents. "He just listened," she said quietly. "Just listening to them for hours."

A memorial service will be held for Gina Tortericci early next week. A website is being put up for those who wish to continue remembering Gina.

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