Ex-con Benny Geritano has been charged with first-degree assault after violently stabbing Lucali's pizza owner Mark Iacono in broad daylight. But according to him, Iacono attacked him with a knife first. "I didn’t do anything, I’m the victim here," he told police. "He attacked me. You see my hands, you see my neck, you see my back." So now, Iacono has been charged with felony assault.
Police say that though Geritano reportedly attacked first, Iacono was carrying his own blade and stabbed back. A police report says Iacono "did stab (Geritano) with intent to cause physical injury." One source said, "Geritano's weapon has been described as a small knife, and Iacono's weapon as a big knife. "No one is giving up a reason. These are a couple of hard guys, neighborhood guys."
Police believe Geritano is connected to the Genovese crime family (his uncle was allegedly an associate, and the book "Surviving the Mob" says Geritano was a Gambino associate), and was attempting to shake down the popular pizza restaurant. Friend Fareed Assad was shocked, saying the two men knew each other from when they were kids. “I mean I know his family, but I’m surprised that he would probably do this also because you would think…I don’t know. I really don’t know what to say." Another neighbor said of Iacono, “We see him out front of the store sweeping up. He’s very friendly, good guy. I think it’s a real blow to the community. It’s a great restaurant, but a real shame what happened."