In the year 1986, Sonny Forelli, the Forelli Family crime boss, along with Marco Forelli, the Forelli Capo, and Franco Forelli, decided to introduce themselves in the Vice City drug trade. Sonny Forelli then managed to set up a small deal as a trial to see how business goes. He sent a long time friend, Tommy Vercetti, and Forelli family thugs Harry and Lee. The deal was set up with the Vance Family, and Ken Rosenberg represented the Forelli Family, though his role was more of a mediator.
During the deal, suspected assassins Leo Teal, Moweesha, and Eugene shot Vic Vance, Harry, and Lee, thus ending the deal in limbo, with the money stolen from the spot. The identity of the actual culprit and mastermind behind the attack was subject to rumors in the early days of the game's release.
During the events of 1986, Colonel Cortez, through his secret sources in the city, found out that Ricardo Diaz has employed Leo Teal, Moweesha, and Eugene to disrupt the money. The actual reason is never revealed, though it is believed that Ricardo Diaz, heading the drug trade in the city, didn't want the Forelli Family to cement their steps in the drug trade, hence Ricardo thought to disrupt the deal and put an early end to the Forelli Family's move. Out of all the suspected criminals, Ricardo Diaz is most likely and largely considered to be the mastermind, as Diaz is the main antagonist for the game's first half.
- Main article: Sonny Forelli
According to a bizarre rumor, Sonny Forelli was the main culprit behind the ambush. Since Sonny plotted the Harwood assassination against Tommy Vercetti, it has been theorized that Sonny wanted to put an end to Tommy's legacy at the expense of some of his money. However, this fact is opposed as Sonny didn't like to play with his money, but it can be accepted that Sonny was willing to take the risk and Tommy's death would've been more important to him than the loss of money.
Though Colonel Cortez was the one that informed Tommy Vercetti of Ricardo Diaz's involvement, it is believed that this was just a plot by Colonel Cortez to gain Vercetti's trust, and most importantly, destruct the influence and existence of Ricardo Diaz's gang, as he saw Ricardo Diaz as an annoying obstacle and generally disliked him. However, this rumor is likely to be false.
Lance Vance is a lesser known suspect among all the masterminds. Lance Vance is believed to have a hand in the assassination, because Lance might've wanted to end his brother's reign in the city due to personal jealousy and hatred as Lance was always second in command in Vic's presence. However, this is highly unlikely, as Lance narrowly escaped being killed as well.
Circle of Death
- Main article: Circle of Death
After the deal took place, a strange occurrence was found in the game, being a group of pedestrians speaking to invisible entities and standing in a circle. It is possible that the group tries to summon Vic Vance's Ghost.