Sylvester ‘Sally DAZ’ Zottola, a lifelong Pelham Bay resident was shot to death while sitting in a McDonald’s drive thru line at 1625 Webster Avenue on Thursday, October 4 while returning home from a scheduled court appearance for an incident involving the illegal discharging of a weapon during a self-defense situation.
According to police, the shooter entered the McDonald’s property through a hole in a fence from an adjacent property, fired multiple 9 millimeter rounds at the 71-year-old before escaping through the same fence opening, fleeing in a gray sedan. No arrests have been made yet.
Zottola was also arrested and charged with criminal possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment on June 12 after he fired his unlicensed handgun in front of his 2005 Hobart Avenue home in Pelham Bay while fending off a would-be assailant, police confirmed.
Sal, the owner of DAZ Amusement, had been attacked on two other occassions recently.
He was the victim of a violent attack and knife slashing in December of 2017.
His son, Salvatore Zottola, 41, survived an attempt on his own life on early Wednesday morning of July 11.
That shooting happened outside of Zottola’s massive Locust Point compound on the corner of Tierney Place and Longstreet Avenue at approximately 6:40 a.m.
After taking bullets to the head, torso and hand, he was rushed to Jacobi Medical Center listed in ‘critical, but stable condition.’
The father and son built the lavish waterfront complex where that shooting occurred.
DAZ Amusement rents juke boxes, electronic video games and games of chance, often referred to as Joker Poker machines, to restaurants, bars and private clubs.
Sal was a popular and well-respected Pelham Bayite whose generosity touched many lives.
For years he ran a much-anticipated, spectacular 4th of July block party on Wilkinson Avenue at Hobart Avenue. During the event Sal’s juke boxes could be heard belting out the ‘Oldies’. The July extravaganza was moved to the Locust Point property for a time until the Locust Point community had it halted due to its tremendous popularity and the impact it had on the tiny waterfront neighborhood.
He constructed rows of well-built attached 2- and 3- family homes on Hobart and Gillespie avenues in the 1990s.
Ralph Giordano Funeral Home, which handled Sal’s final send off , was inundated with condolences for the beloved gentleman on its website.
Anthony Cresenzo wrote, “Sal was extremely instrumental and generous in supporting and advocating for the needs of the Pelham Bay community. My dad, Michael Crescenzo (past President of Pelham Bay Taxpayers Association) always spoke highly of Sal’s generosity and commitment to Pelham Bay.”
Sal was a prime supporter of Michael Crecenzo’s Pelham Bay Games, an Olympics-like competition that was held for the young boys and girls of Pelham Bay and Country Club in Pelham Bay Park during the late 1980s .
John and Margaret Curcio, who knew Sal well, also shared fond thoughts. “He was a neighborhood person,” Margaret said.
“He was a good man and great to the community, his children Debbie, Sal Jr. and Anthony were nothing but polite, respectful and so well raised,” John said.
“That smile, that laughter, there will never be another Sal. He was the best neighbor anyone could ever ask for. Who could ever forget those 4th of July parties!” the Bastone family wrote on the Giordano website.
“I sure hope there is a jukebox with all your favorites songs, turned up loud so you can dance,” Valerie Murphy wrote.
His wife Maria, who had passed away many years ago, was still the love of his life. His son Sal, Jr said, “Mom, he took care of us, so please take care of him”.
Sal’s Mass of Christian burial was held at St. Theresa’s Church on Tuesday, October 9.
He was laid to rest at St. Raymond’s Cemetery.