The grandson of notorious Philadelphia mobster Harry "The Hunchback" Riccobene was gunned down outside his South Philadelphia home early Thursday.

Rocco Maniscalco, 38, had just watched Wednesday night's Flyers game at the Wolf Street Cafe when he walked the short block home to his rowhouse on Wolf near Colorado.

Outside his home, an armed man leaped from the shadows and fired at least 10 times, hitting Maniscalco repeatedly, police said. He died on the scene about 1:20 a.m. The gunman, a thin white man in a white shirt, fled in a dark-colored SUV, police said.

Maniscalco owned New Era Collision, an auto-body and towing company housed in a nondescript business park at 25th and Wharton streets.

Yesterday, employees there refused to comment, except to call the slaying "a tragedy."

Relatives at Maniscalco's home also declined to comment yesterday "because of the children." Maniscalco was a father of four.

Police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore said the motive remained unknown. Capt. Dennis Cullen, of the Criminal Intelligence Unit, declined to comment on the case because it's an active investigation. Homicide Capt. James Clark couldn't be reached.

But sources said the FBI was eyeballing the case for possible organized-crime ties.

Further, Angelo Lutz, a "reformed" mobster with convictions for mob-related gambling and extortion, was a close Maniscalco friend. Lutz couldn't be reached yesterday, but told the Inquirer Thursday that Maniscalco was a "great, good-hearted guy."

According to South Philadelphia mob historian Celeste Morello, Maniscalco comes from "a very, very long line of Mafiosi."

His grandfather was "real Mafia stuff," according to Morello, who authored the three-book series "Before Bruno: The History of the Philadelphia Mafia."

Riccobene emigrated to the United States as a small child in the 1910s from Enna, Sicily, where his father was in the Mafia, Morello said.

Harry showed such promise for underworld undertakings that he was made a member of the Philadelphia mob at age 17, Morello said.

"Harry was a hit man, but he also was much more," said Morello, who knew Harry personally. "He was known for dealing a lot of drugs and for bookmaking on a very big scale."

Although he told Morello that he repeatedly had been asked to become a mob boss, he refused and remained a mob soldier, unwilling to take on the responsibility of a capo.

Still, when Nicodemo Scarfo took over the Philadelphia mob in 1981, tensions immediately erupted between the men as they battled for control of competing criminal enterprises.

The strife exploded into the infamous "Riccobene War," a bloody few years that mob-watchers say eventually toppled both men, whom authorities nabbed for crimes they committed during that period.

Riccobene died in 2000 of natural causes in an upstate Pennsylvania prison where he had been held for the murder of Scarfo caporegime Frank Monte.