BY ANNA SPIVAK & MEAGHAN MCGOLDRICK
After the co-owner of neighborhood staple L&B Spumoni Gardens, Louis Barbati, was gunned down outside of his Dyker Heights home on Thursday night, the Southern Brooklyn community is mourning his loss as police scramble to find the man behind the first shooting to hit the neighborhood in over a year.
Eerily quiet for a Friday morning, the neighborhood pizzeria — which starts serving up its classic ices and slices to a hungry crowd at around 11 a.m. – was almost desolate save for a few photographers and reporters there for a press conference, organized by Borough President Eric Adams and Councilmember Vincent Gentile, that was cancelled at the request of Barbati’s family members.
“The family is mourning right now, they really don’t want to talk to anyone,” a family member said outside of the 86th Street eatery. “They’re taking it really hard.”
According to reports, the 61-year-old businessowner was shot at his home on 76th Street and 12th Avenue just past 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 30. Sources say he sustained multiple gunshot wounds to his torso and was found outside of the house while his wife and two children were inside. EMS responded and pronounced Barbati dead at the scene, cops say.
While police search for the gunman — said to be in his 30s and wearing a black hoodie at the time of the shooting – local residents are remembering Barbati.
“Lou was a warm, hard-working family man. He’d give you the shirt off his back and the shoes off his feet,” said local resident Justin Brannan. “Everyone felt like they knew him. Lou was incredibly proud of his heritage as he was carrying the torch of four generations; his grandfather emigrated from Italy back in 1917.
“I know it’s shocking and everyone of course wants to know why and what happened but what’s most important right now is keeping Lou’s wife, sons and the entire Barbati family in our thoughts and prayers, giving them the privacy to grieve,” he continued. “This was a very tragic thing.”
“I am shocked and outraged to learn that an incident of gun violence led to the tragic loss of a man’s life,” said Councilmember Mark Treyger. “L&B Spumoni Gardens is one of the most beloved businesses and eateries in Southern Brooklyn, and practically synonymous with Bensonhurst and Gravesend. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family, and with the entire extended family at Spumoni Gardens.”
The famed pizzeria has been a community staple since 1939. Its iconic thick, Sicilian slices have been feeding Brooklyn families for generations, the patronage of which can be seen through a statement the family provided on the restaurant’s website:
To our friends, fans, and loyal patrons,
As we mourn the abrupt and heartbreaking loss of our beloved Louis. We appreciate the outpouring of overwhelming support and good will during these hardest of times. The family respectfully wishes for privacy to grieve.
– The Barbati Family