Saugus, MA – The largest sports memorabilia store in New England cancelled an autograph event with a movie star out of respect for law enforcement.
Phil Castinetti, owner of Sportsworld USA, told Blue Lives Matter he had no idea that Lillo Brancato, famous for his roles in A Bronx Tale and Sopranos, had been convicted of crimes related to the murder of an off-duty police officer in the Bronx in 2005.
Castinetti said that within minutes of posting the advertisement for the meet and greet with Brancato, his Facebook went wild with negative messages.
“I’m all for the police. Like I said, I didn’t realize that this kid was as bad of a kid as I found out. There’s no need to continue with that craziness,” Castinetti said.
In fact, Castinetti says he is a big police supporter.
In a society where most people seem to give celebrities a free pass, Castinetti’s decision to cancel an event promoting a cop killer sends a clear message that he and his business are strong law enforcement supporters.
Picture below features Castinetti (left) and Somerville Police Officer Leo Martini.
Twelve years after Brancato became famous for his portrayal of Robert De Niro’s son in A Bronx Tale, he was arrested and charged with the murder of off-duty NYPD Officer Daniel Enchautegu.
Brancato and a friend broke into a house to steal prescription drugs in December of 2005. A neighbor, Officer Enchautegu, noticed something, and went to investigate the burglary, according to The New York Times.
A vicious gun battle ensued and Brancato’s partner in crime, Steven Armento, murdered Officer Enchautegu.
Armento confessed to the shooting later that night.
Armento was convicted of Officer Enchautegu’s murder, and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Brancato was acquitted of the murder charges at trial, but convicted of first-degree attempted burglary, and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was released in December of 2013.
As soon as he was released, Brancato began to wind up his acting career again, because Hollywood seems just fine with having “ex-convict” on the resume.
He’s currently filming a documentary about his life titled Wasted Talent, according to an interview he did with People Magazine.
Castinetti said he regularly features autograph signings, and opportunities for fans to meet sports and entertainment celebrities at his business. In the future, he won't be giving Brancato a platform to promote himself.
“It just came through his agent. Everybody loved the movies, so I figured why not,” Castinetti said.
“I just started advertising it yesterday, and I just thought this has turned into quite a show here. And I pulled the plug, and we’re not doing it,” he said, very certain about his quick decision.