HAMILTON—Someone wants Pasquale (Pat) Musitano dead — that much is clear.But why was the 51-year-old Hamilton mob boss, who remains in hospital with “life-threatening” injuries, shot outside his Mississauga lawyer’s office early Thursday morning? The targeted shooting comes amid a string of Mafia hits, so perhaps the biggest question is: why now?Wiretap conversations recorded as part of the prosecution against Domenico (Dom) and Giuseppe (Joe) Violi revealing the plan to target the Musitano boss stretch back at least to the fall of 2017, months after the May 2 shooting death of Pat’s younger brother, Angelo (Ang) Musitano, in Waterdown. Pat Musitano’s own St. Clair Blvd. home was sprayed with bullets that June.In a Sept. 26, 2017, wiretap conversation summarized in court documents obtained by the Spectator, a paid police agent who secretly recorded his induction into the New York City-based Bonanno crime family asks Dom Violi about Pat Musitano. “The (police agent) stated that (he) would have thought that they would have gotten rid of (Pat Musitano) before his brother (Angelo Musitano). D Violi stated that ‘they’ wanted to show ‘him’ (Pat Musitano); that it was a message D Violi thought.”So, if killing Ang Musitano was meant to send a message to his big brother, what next?“They had told D Violi that before Christmas (Pat Musitano) would be gone; that that would be one headache out of the way.”It’s not clear exactly who “they” are, or what may have delayed plans for the hit on Pat Musitano.But less than two months after that secretly recorded conversation, the Violi brothers were charged in a massive drug bust dubbed Project OTremens.Their arrests, and particularly the news that they allowed a turncoat to infiltrate and record high-level ceremonies, sent shock waves. Did it delay some plans to target Pat Musitano?“If there was any heat or impending move on Pat, then the takedown could have possibly bought Pat additional time,” says Stephen Metelsky, a criminology professor at Mohawk College who spent 21 years with Halton police, including specializing in organized crime.He was involved in the early days of Project OTremens, but retired before its conclusion. He writes about organized crime on underworldstories.com.Metelsky questions whether the “heat” from the Violis’ arrests would have turned everyone’s attention temporarily away from the Musitanos. The Violi brothers, part of the Luppino-Violi family of Hamilton, remain in prison after being sentenced to 13 and 16 years for drug trafficking.The Luppino-Violis and the Musitanos are two of the original traditional organized crime families in Hamilton. The third was the Papalia family, who faded after the murder of mob boss Johnny (Pops) Papalia in 1997.Pat and Ang Musitano were accused in the murder, but struck a deal. They pleaded to conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Niagara crime boss Carmen Barillaro, Papalia’s lieutenant, who was gunned down at his home. The brothers were quiet after their release in October 2006, with Angelo marrying, moving to Waterdown and having three sons. He was said to have “found God” before his death.In the September 2017 recorded conversation, Dom Violi says the Musitanos were supporting the Cuntreras, who at times are referred to as the “coffee guys.” The Cuntrera-Caruana Mafia family is known in the Woodbridge and Toronto areas. The home of Giuseppe Cuntrera, referred to in the court documents as “Big Joe,” was targeted with gunshots and fire in the summer of 2017.Pat and Ang Musitano are referred to in an earlier recorded conversation with the police agent, which is also included in the court file, from Jan. 6, 2016 — more than a year before Angelo’s murder. In that conversation, Joe Violi talks about a plan he’d heard about from a hit man to target two people, one in Hamilton and one in Toronto.Violi tells the police agent he thought the Musitanos and the Cuntreras were behind those plans. But it appears those murders, if there was ever any truth to the plans, never happened.In the months after the Violi brothers were arrested, the Mafia violence only continued, but this time targeting their own.On Sept. 13, 2018, Albert (Al) Iavarone was gunned down at the entrance to his Ancaster home. On Jan. 20, 2019, the Violi brothers’ cousin, Cece Luppino, was similarly gunned down on the Hamilton Mountain brow.Hamilton police Det. Sgt. Peter Thom, the case manager for all of the local Mafia murders, says it’s “an investigative theory” that these murders were retaliation and that they were perhaps to send a message to more powerful family members.Iavarone’s older brother, Tony, is mentioned throughout the wiretap conversations and is said by police sources to be the more powerful member of that family. Cece Luppino had reportedly rejected becoming a “made” member of his family’s business.Peel Regional Police continue to investigate the Mississauga shooting and have not released any suspect description.As of Friday afternoon, Musitano was still in hospital with life-threatening injuries.Anyone with information, including video surveillance or dash cam footage, is asked to contact 12 Division criminal investigation bureau at 905-453-2121, ext. 1233.To remain anonymous, contact Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or peelcrimestoppers.ca.