NEW YORK -- The drug dealer son of imprisoned mobster James 'Jimmy the Gent' Burke was shot dead while 'trying to make his bones' -- a reference to paying one's dues in a Mafia family, police said Tuesday.
Police, saying the killing appeared to be drug or mob related or both, charged Tito Ortiz, 46, with second-degree murder in the death of Francis Burke, 26, whose bullet-riddled body was found early Monday outside a Brooklyn bar.
The victim was the son of James 'Jimmy the Gent' Burke, who is believed to have masterminded the $5.8 million Lufthansa cash heist at Kennedy Airport in 1978.
'Basically, he (Burke) was a career criminal and he tried to emulate his father,' said Lt. Remo Franceschini, commander of the Queens District Attorney's Detective squad.
The younger Burke 'was dealing in drugs,' he said.
'He was trying to make his bones' -- a reference to paying one's dues in a Mafia family, the lieutenant said.
'He was with a young group of criminals who had connections to established organized crime people,' Franceschini said.
Although his father was a leading light in Luchese crime family rackets in Brooklyn and Queens, Burke was reputedly a budding member of the Gambino crime family.
Burke's father is serving a 20-year-to-life prison sentence for killing a man in Brooklyn and a 12-year term for a point-shaving scheme involving the Boston College basketball team.