By Kathianne Boniello
A man who had ordered dinner at Caffe on the Green and then stepped outside the Bayside restaurant for a cigarette was shot in the leg Friday night, police said, but the victim has not been cooperating with authorities investigating the incident.
Darren D’Amico, 36, of Massapequa, L.I., was shot in the leg at about 9:30 p.m. Friday as he stood outside the upscale restaurant, restaurant owner Joe Franco said.
The 109th Precinct in Flushing, which covers the restaurant at 201-10 Cross Island Parkway, said D’Amico had not been forthcoming with police conducting the investigation into the shooting, police spokesman Sgt. Kevin Hayes said Tuesday.
Hayes said D’Amico was taken New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens in Flushing in serious but stable condition. A spokeswoman for the hospital said D’Amico was discharged Monday.
The city’s three tabloids, quoting unnamed police sources, have described the shooting as a mob hit because D’Amico was shot in the leg at close range. D’Amico could not be reached for comment.
Police searching the crime scene Friday night combed through a shiny, black, four-door sedan with a police dog and had the entrance to the elegant eatery blocked off with yellow caution tape.
A clump of bloody clothing lay on the ramp to the front door of the restaurant.
In a telephone interview Monday, Franco said he did not recognize D’Amico or the people he was dining with Friday night as regular customers of Caffe on the Green, a building which was once home to silent-film star Rudolph Valentino.
Franco said D’Amico and four other people came in for dinner at about 9 p.m. Friday night and took a table in the main dining room.
“They sat down and ordered wine and were ordering food,” Franco said. “I noticed the fellow who got shot kept going outside for a cigarette. There was a scuffle and then we heard a gunshot.”
Looking out the restaurant’s windows, Franco said he saw D’Amico on the ground. Caffe on the Green staff called police, he said.
“I went out and I said to him ‘what happened?’ and he said ‘I got shot in the leg,’” Franco said.
Friday night’s violence was unusual in the quiet neighborhood where Caffe on the Green is located, Franco said.
“We never even had an oral dispute in this place,” he said. “This never happens.”
The restaurant owner also said he did not believe published reports that have described the incident as a mob crime.
“To call it a mob hit — that’s speculating,” he said.
Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.