- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 30, 2014

A little boy was shot in the head and killed by an apparent Mafia hit in southern Italy that police believe came as a result of a dispute over money.

The boy, Nicola “Coco” Campolongo, age 3, was shot along with his grandfather, Giuseppe Iannicelli, and his grandfather’s companion, age 27, CNN reported. Their bodies were recently found inside a burned-out Fiat that was parked in the Calabria region of Italy.


PHOTOS: Top 10 handguns in the U.S.


“In all my years investigating organized crime murders, none has been as horrific as this one,” said lead prosecutor Franco Giacomantonio, to CNN. “it is unimaginable that a child can be made to pay for the crimes of his parents.”

Even Pope Francis was taken off guard by the hit, and he asked church faithful attending his Sunday ceremonies to say a prayer for the boy in what he called an “unprecedented” killing. The pope also called for the killers to repent, CNN reported.

The boy’s mother, Antonia Iannicelli, didn’t go to his funeral. She’s in jail, serving out a four-year sentence for drug possession and sales. Police believe that the ‘Ndrangheta crime organization is targeting her family and they’ve moved her other two children, ages 4 and 5, to a more secure location, CNN reported.