On this date in 1977: Frank "Bomp" Bompensiero, a longtime leader of the southern California underworld, is shot to death near his apartment in the Pacific Beach neighborhood of San Diego.
At about 8:30 p.m., police found Bompensiero in a pool of blood on the sidewalk in front of an alley. Nearby were four spent .22-caliber cartridges and a cigar stub Bomp was chewing on when he was shot. The Mafioso had four bullet wounds in his head. One slug hit him in the neck near the spine. One entered through his right ear. Two cracked through his skull closely together, creating a large hole behind the ear. Bompensiero was declared dead on arrival at Mission Bay General Hospital.
Detectives found no witnesses. No one had even heard the shots fired. The authorities concluded that a silencer was used by the killer.
Some cash and a notebook were found in Bompensiero's pockets. The notebook held coded loansharking figures and telephone numbers for phone booths around the United States. Bompensiero was convinced that law enforcement agencies had tapped into his own home phone and the phones of other Mafiosi and only communicated with underworld associates through pay telephones. He was said to have been returning home from a nightly visit to a phone booth when he was shot.
The Milwaukee-born Bompensiero was well known to the police as a leading figure in the Los Angeles-based Dragna Crime Family. He was said to occupy the position of consigliere in the organization and to oversee rackets in the San Diego area. He had strong connections with mobsters across the country and in Mexico and was known to have been a close ally of the recently murdered Johnny Roselli.
|Los Angeles Times, Feb. 11, 1977.|
As the story of Bompensiero's assassination hit local newspapers, rumors surfaced that the San Diego underworld chieftain had been supplying information to the FBI for more than a decade. Several years later, Aladena "Jimmy the Weasel" Fratianno testified in federal court that southern California Mafia bosses ordered the murder of Bompensiero because he betrayed the underworld code of silence.
Read more about Frank "Bomp" Bompensiero.