Frank Cali, who went by the street name “Franky Boy” and was the reputed boss of the powerful Gambino crime family, was murdered on March 13, 2019.
What was Cali’s specific cause of death? How did the mobster die? New York police have confirmed that Franky Boy was shot to death outside his home on Staten Island in the late evening hours. The suspect is still unknown, and there have been no arrests. According to TMZ, Frank Cali’s wife and kids were inside the family home when he was murdered.
Cali was purportedly the leader of the Mafia family that John Gotti once led. However, if you weren’t familiar with Frank Cali’s name, that was the point. The dapper don brought too much federal attention on the mob family, which opted for a lower profile among its leaders after Gotti’s downfall. The Gambinos are one of the infamous Five Families of New York City mob lore.
Here’s what you need to know about Frank Cali’s death:
Cali’s Death Was the First of a Purported Family Boss Since Paul Castellano’s Murder
Cali, described as a quiet “old-school boss,” was 53.
It’s been a long time since a major New York Mafia family boss was shot to death. According to PIX11, you have to go all the way back to 1985, when Paul Castellano, then head of the Gambino family, met his maker in a hit later revealed to have been orchestrated by Gotti.
There were other big stories involving New York crime families the same week as Cali’s death. Reputed Bonanno mob boss Joseph Cammarano Jr. was acquitted at trial and Colombo boss Carmine Persico died in prison, the New York Times reported. He was 85.
Frank Cali Died From ‘Multiple Gunshot Wounds to the Torso’
New York police released a statement confirming that Frank Cali was shot to death in a homicide. They referred to him by his given name of Francesco Cali.
According to CBS, police said they responded to a 911 call of an assault in progress in front of 25 Hilltop Terrace and found Cali with “multiple gunshot wounds to the torso.” EMS responded and Cali was transported to Staten Island University North where he was pronounced deceased.
The New York Daily News initially reported that the mobster “was gunned down and run over Wednesday night in a gory mob hit.” However, the second part of that claim was not confirmed by authorities and the news site later hedged that account and said that a family member reported that Cali was run down but police were still investigating that detail.
The New York Times reported that Cali was shot six times.
Cali Was Gunned Down Outside His SUV
The hit occurred outside his home and he died at the hospital, after first barely clinging to life, Daily News reported.
The New York Post reports that, although a 911 caller heard six to seven shots, it was unclear how many times Cali was struck. Cali was “whacked,” the Post reported.
A witness told the Daily News: “The man was on the ground face-up. His head was by his SUV, and the truck was open.” A neighbor told the New York Times that it sounded like all of the gunfire came from one weapon.
Pix11 reports that the New York Fire Department received the call around 9:18 p.m. and responded to a home listed under the name of Rosaria Inzerillo “in the upscale Todt Hill section of Staten Island.”
Frank Cali Was Married to Wife Rosaria Inzerillo & Had Deep Ties in Sicily
Rosaria Inzerillo is Frank Cali’s wife, according to multiple published reports. Daily News reports that she is related to the Inzerillo crime family of Sicily, which was trying to rebuild inroads in the U.S.
Frank Cali’s roots in the Italian mob ran very deep and all the way back to Sicily and he was considered powerful on both sides of the ocean. According to About the Mafia, Frank Cali was born Francesco Paolo Augusto Calì in New York. His parents were Sicilian, and he’s related to John Gambino and Vito and Giovanni Bonventre of the Bonnano crime family, the site reports.
His wife Rosaria Inzerillo has ties to major crime figures.
Daily Beast reports that his wife “is the niece of Gambino capo John Gambino, and his brother Joseph and brother-in-law Peter Inzerillo are well-known Gambino soldiers.” Cali was initially a capo in the family.
According to Staten Island Live, in 1997, an FBI agent “notified Italian police of Cali’s distinctive standing as a member of crime families on both sides of the ocean, after he was ‘combined’ into the Gambino family.” This was unique and stemmed from his marriage to the daughter of a powerful Palermo Mafia family.
The Post reported then that Frank Cali “lives in Staten Island and has deep ties to Sicilian wiseguys.” According to the Post, he also allegedly “bulked up its heroin and OxyContin business.”
His only conviction was an old extortion charge, the Post reports, likely due to his low profile.