Frank Cali, reputed Gambino crime family boss, fatally shot outside Staten Island home
Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali, the 53-year-old reputed Gambino crime family boss, was reportedly shot dead Wednesday night outside his home in the New York City borough of Staten Island, making him the highest-ranking suspected mob figure to be killed in the city in years.
Cali was shot several times in the torso in the Todt Hill section of Staten Island around 9:20 p.m., the New York Post reported. He was rushed to Staten Island University Hospital North, where he was pronounced dead.
It was unclear how many times Cali was shot, but a witness who called 911 reported hearing at least six gunshots, police sources told the paper.
A neighbor of Cali’s told the New York Times that he heard a burst of about seven gunshots just after 9 p.m.
“I just heard the pow-pow-pow-pow-pow,” said the 58-year-old, who identified himself to the paper as Salvatore.
No arrests had been made as police continued to investigate the shooting. The NYPD said it was looking for a suspect who sped away from the scene in a blue pickup truck, WNBC-TV reported.
Cali became the notorious crime family’s acting boss in 2015, replacing then 68-year-old Domenico Cefalu, according to the New York Daily News. Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn had referred to Cali in court filings in recent years as the underboss of the Gambino organization, related through marriage to the Inzerillo clan in the Sicilian Mafia.
He was known for keeping a low profile, in stark contrast to the flashy style of the late former boss John Gotti, according to the Post.
“He was a real quiet old-school boss,” a police source told paper, referring to Cali.
The Gambino Family was once among the most powerful criminal organizations in the U.S., but federal prosecutions in the 1980s and 1990s sent its top leaders to prison and diminished its reach.
Cali was considered a unifying figure in the family, credited with recruiting new immigrant gangsters from Italy and focusing on the heroin and Oxycontin trades, the Post reported.
His only mob-related criminal conviction was a 16-month sentence in 2008 on an extortion charge connected to a failed attempt to build a NASCAR track on Staten Island, the Daily News reported.
Cali, who had roots in Sicily and ties to the Sicilian Mafia, was the highest-ranking organized crime figure to be murdered in New York City since 1985, when Paul Castellano was assassinated outside Sparks Steakhouse in Manhattan, according to WPIX-TV.