Friday November 1 2013
Three Woodstock restaurants operated by champion pizza maker Tony Cannata, were sprayed with bullets in an hour of drive-by mayhem on Wednesday night. Last night, Mr Cannata remained shaken.
His Woodstocks in Fitzroy and Carlton were peppered with gunshots. An Essendon outlet, yet to open, was also blasted by up to seven shots.
Mr Cannata, recently named Australia’s champion pizza maker, is a respected figure on the restaurant scene. A firearms expert said he believed the Essendon shop had been hit with bullets from a .45 calibre handgun.
Detectives from the Armed Crime Taskforce have been called in to investigate. “Whatever it is, the motive or the message, we’ve still got to work through that, taskforce boss Detective Inspector Adrian Dalzotto said.
Mr Cannata was seen talking to police outside the Nicholson Street, Fitzroy, pizzeria, alongside two people believed to be relatives, including his mother. He later told the media his family was deeply distressed by the shootings. But he would not comment on claims someone was trying to extort money from him.
Businessman Tony Khoury last night denied that he was a silent partner in the Fitzroy Woodstock. Mr Khoury said he was godfather to Mr Cannata’s son and that they were firm friends. Mr Khoury said he had spoken to Mr Cannata yesterday about what had happened. Tony’s brother John, an associate of Mick Gatto, said Tony’s connection had been overplayed. “He just goes there every now and then and is mates (with the owner), John said.
He complained that Woodstock didn’t use pineapple on pizzas. “I go to Lygon Street – Florentines, the European.”
Gatto also rejected reports connecting him to Woodstock. “It’s nothing to do with me,” Gatto said. “I can’t eat there. They don’t do pineapple on their pizzas. I like pineapple,” Gatto said.
Residents reported hearing shots fired into the Fitzroy North restaurant just after 11pm on Wednesday.
The Woodstock Pizzicheria on Lygon Street, in Carlton, was shot at a short time later.
– Mark Buttler & Wayne Flower