Israeli Crime Boss' Son Killed in Drive-by Shooting in Tel Aviv

Police fear the murder of Shai Shirazi, 32, may ignite a new round of warfare among Israeli crime groups.

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
Slain Israeli crime family member Shai Shirazi in a 2009 court appearance.
Slain Israeli crime family member Shai Shirazi in a 2009 court appearance.Credit: Nir Kedar
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

An ex-convict and son of an Israeli crime boss was killed on Saturday night in a drive-by shooting in northern Tel Aviv.

Shai Shirazi, 32, the son of crime boss Rico Shirazi, had twice sat in prison as a convicted accomplice in the deaths of three people.

He was critically wounded by gunsots at his car and died shortly thereafter. A male passenger was lightly wounded.

A preliminary police probe found gunfire was sprayed at them from another vehicle, as they drove near the Kiryat Shaul cemetery around 10:30 P.M. The assailants fled the scene.

Police fear the slaying may ignite a new war among crime organizations, as the Shirazi family looks to avenge a killing that has dealt a tough blow to one of the country's main crime groups.

Rico Shirazi has been in prison since December serving an eight year sentence for tax violations and money laundering. Police object to letting him attend his son's funeral, fearing security costs would be very high, but may let him visit the gravesite at another time.

Shai Shirazi had long been seen as the ancitipated heir to his father's organization.

He was seen as a charismatic standout among the so-called 'princes' of the second generation of Israeli crime families.

When he was 18, two of his friends were killed in an illegal car race in which he participated in a new BMW his father had bought him. Shirazi was found guilty of causing death by negligence in 2003 and sentenced two years in prison.

In 2009 he was convicted as an accomplice in the murder of a night club owner from whom he and some others were trying to extort protection money. He served five and a half years in prison under a plea deal for that crime

The late Shirazi was only 13 when he saw his father go away to jail for five years as a convicted accomplice in the murder of a Netanya criminal.

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