Christmas shooting of wealthy Long Island couple by son just the latest drama for family with corruption ties
The Christmas Day shooting of a fabulously wealthy Long Island couple by their hulking bodybuilder son is only the latest chapter in the saga of a family whose lives would check all the boxes for a reality cable TV show.
There’s the hardworking, company-owning husband, the trophy wife matron of the house, their go-his-own-way son who strayed far from the family business, and the stately Nassau County mansion where it all takes place.
Family tensions exploded about 10 a.m. Christmas morning when the musclebound son, 29-year-old Dino Tomassetti, allegedly shot his dad, Rocco Tomassetti, 65 in the back, and his mom, Vincenza Tomassetti, 64, in the head inside their $3.2 million Hewlett Harbor estate, police said.
The parents were rushed to the hospital but survived.
The son fled in a a Cadillac Escalade, zooming out of the circular driveway, past the manicured grounds and onto the street where locals need a permit to park.
He was later arrested in Mahwah, N.J., after cops used GPS to track his location.
The 5-foot-9-inch, 235-pound Tomassetti boasted online he can bench press more than 550 pounds and dead-lift more than 700.
As detectives tried to piece together a motive and neighbors tried to make sense of a shooting on their bucolic street, a co-worker of the suspect, a personal trainer at Retro Fitness in Queens, said the younger Tomassetti was all about business.
“He has only been here for, like, a few weeks. He was fresh,” said the co-worker, who didn’t want to be named. “He was just building up his clientele. But the little that I met him he was a cool guy. Cool guy, calm, would come in, handle his business. We all got along. He was very motivational.”
But his low key nature couldn’t keep him out of the headlines, a trait he seemed to share with others in his family.
The grandfather for whom he was named, the late Dino Tomassetti Sr., was a construction giant whose projects included Goldman Sachs’ headquarters near Ground Zero and the Bank of America headquarters.
The grandfather, who owned the construction chain Laquila Group, was accused of having ties to organized crime and had been under an indictment that accused him of making thousands of dollars in illegal payoffs to union officials over a 10-year period. He denied the charges.
One of his sons, also named Dino, secured the contract for excavation and foundation work at 1 World Trade Center.
Years earlier, in 1997, Rocco Tomassetti and his father were arrested for allegedly operating an illegal waste transfer station near the family company’s Brooklyn headquarters.
His mother, Vincenza Tomassetti, made headlines, too. She was featured in a 2001 article in the Mirror, a London tabloid, about steps she took as a trophy wife to stave off younger women.
“We go to a lot of social functions, so I need to look my best,” she told the interviewer. “With the technology that we have today, there’s really no excuse not to.”
“There’s always the next younger model out there,” she said at the time.
“My husband’s successful, he works in Manhattan and he’s exposed to a lot of beautiful women. I used to be more trusting, but it’s harder as you get older.”
She said she even sat in on interviews at her husband’s construction firm, Empire Transit Mix Inc.
“I always have a say in who is hired,” she said. “I’d never let him take on a young girl. Why put something under somebody’s nose? He’s not dead.”
Not then. Not now, although authorities said the injuries he suffered from the shooting were more extensive than hers.
Meanwhile, their son, who lives in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, remains held in the Bergen County Jail pending an extradition hearing, authorities said.