NEW YORK – The reputed boss of New York’s Gambino crime household was shot to loss of life in entrance of his dwelling by a gunman who could have staged a automotive accident to lure him exterior, dying a digital unknown in contrast along with his swaggering 1980s-era predecessor, John Gotti.
Police mentioned Thursday they had been reviewing surveillance-camera video of the assault on Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali, 53, who was gunned down Wednesday night time at his red-brick colonial-style home in a quiet Staten Island neighborhood. The assailant sped off in a pickup truck, police mentioned. No rapid arrests had been made.
The motive for the assault was below investigation, Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea mentioned.
Federal prosecutors had referred to Cali in courtroom filings in recent times because the underboss of the Mafia’s Gambino household, as soon as one of the highly effective and feared crime organizations within the nation. Information accounts since 2015 mentioned he had ascended to the highest spot.
Aggressive federal prosecutions previously 25 years decimated the ranks of New York’s 5 Mafia households, the Gambinos amongst them. The circumstances resulted in lengthy jail phrases for his or her bosses — Gotti included — and inspired their successors to maintain a decrease profile.
However the brand new era nonetheless engages in old-school crimes — loansharking, playing, extortion — that may make enemies and spark violence. This week, prosecutors in Brooklyn introduced a case towards a long-time Gambino affiliate accused of killing a suspected loanshark affiliated with the Lucchese crime household.
Shea mentioned there was a slight uptick in alleged mob-related violence in New York throughout the final yr. However he mentioned it’s too quickly to say whether or not that had something to do with Cali’s slaying.
Shea mentioned the mob boss emerged from his dwelling round 9:15 p.m. after the gunman backed his pickup into Cali’s Cadillac SUV, damaging it. “With what we all know at this time limit, it is fairly potential that was a part of a plan,” Shea mentioned.
Video confirmed the assailant pulling a 9 mm handgun and opening hearth on Cali a few minute after they began speaking, in keeping with Shea. Not less than 12 photographs had been fired. After getting shot a number of instances, Cali tried to crawl below his SUV to cover, Shea mentioned.
The final Mafia boss to be shot to loss of life in New York Metropolis was Gambino don “Large Paul” Castellano, assassinated on Gotti’s course whereas getting out of a black limousine exterior a high-end midtown Manhattan steakhouse in 1985. Gotti then took management of the household.
“We thought these days had been over,” Mayor Invoice de Blasio mentioned of Cali’s slaying. “Very stunning, however I suppose previous habits die onerous.”
Cali stored a a lot decrease profile than Gotti and was killed in far much less spectacular style than Castellano. He was shot on a tree-lined road in considered one of New York Metropolis’s less-glamorous outer boroughs, a brief stroll from ball fields, a rustic membership and a day camp.
Gotti, along with his costly double-breasted fits and overcoats and silvery swept-back hair, grew to become generally known as the Dapper Don, his smiling face all around the tabloids. As prosecutors tried and did not convey him down, he got here to be known as the Teflon Don.
In 1992, Gotti was convicted in Castellano’s homicide and a large number of different crimes. He was sentenced to life in jail and died of most cancers in 2002.
On Wednesday, hours earlier than Cali was killed, the reputed boss and consigliere of the Bonanno crime household had been acquitted in a Brooklyn racketeering and extortion case. In October, reputed Bonanno affiliate Sylvester Zottola was fatally shot whereas ready for a cup of espresso at a McDonald’s drive-thru within the Bronx.
Final week, the longtime boss of the Colombo crime household, 85-year-old Carmine “the Snake” Persico, died at a North Carolina hospital close to the federal jail the place he had been serving what was successfully a life sentence. Persico was convicted in a 1986 case overseen by then-U.S. Lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Cali’s solely mob-related felony conviction got here a decade in the past, when he pleaded responsible in an extortion scheme involving a failed try and construct a NASCAR observe on Staten Island. He was sentenced to 16 months behind bars and was launched in 2009.
In that case, authorities intercepted conversations shedding gentle on his quiet underworld command. At a 2008 bail, a prosecutor mentioned Cali was seen “as a person of affect and energy by organized crime members in Italy.”
Karen Matthews contributed to this report.