It was an ordinary Friday. October 27, 1978. My dad, Peter Cantatore, bellowed up the stairs for me to wake, then walked out our front door, the way he did every weekday. We all went about our day. My mom received the call she received everyday around 3 p.m. from my dad. They would check on each other, secure plans for the evening, and invariably my dad would tease her that he could skip out early and meet her at home before the kids got home … invariably my mom would scoff and laugh off his advance. This day she would regret that for many years to follow. This day it would’ve saved his life.
That evening my brother had his headphones on, enjoying his music, I was getting ready to go out. My oldest brother and his wife went to a movie with their upstairs tenants, and mom was babysitting at their house for my nieces. Mom was annoyed because dad was supposed to meet her, and he was late. As she went upstairs to check a pie in the oven, she missed the news report about events unfolding in New Rochelle. At home our doorbell rang, and I opened the door to two police officers. One stayed with me while the other drove my brother up the street to deliver the news that my father had been fatally shot at work by a disgruntled employee.
Our lives froze in time that night. Nothing would ever be the same. His five siblings would lose the glue that held that fractured family together. His nieces and nephews would lose a true friend and guiding light. His own grandchildren would only have stories of the light that was my father, and we, my brothers and I would stumble through the next 40 years without him, missing him everyday. Not the intended target, Peter A. Cantatore lost his life for nothing.