News of Frank Cali’s death has spread, as reports are saying that the Gambino crime family boss was shot fatally outside of his Staten Island home. His full name was Francesco Cali. His death is being described by news reports as the first major New York gang and mob boss killing in more than 30 years.
Cali died on Wednesday night.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Frank Cali Was Fatally Shot by an Unidentified Man, According to Reports
Cali, who was 53 years old, was outside his car in Staten Island after 9:00pm EST, according to news reports.
Police reports say that a man, who has not been identified, shot Cali then fled the scene immediately afterward. The reportedly unidentified suspect had been driving a blue car, which some reports are saying was a pickup truck.
According to news sources, a few witnesses told their local media that they heard at least six shots from outside when Gambino was shot. “There were like six shots, and then there were three more,” witnesses reportedly told New York Daily News. “The man was on the ground face-up. His head was by his SUV, and the truck was open.”
Another man told The New York Times that he heard seven shots, identifying himself as “Salvatore.” Witnesses also said that Cali’s family members rushed outside to his body in tears.
Reports do not have a name of the accused shooter, and police have not announced any arrests at this time. Police reportedly confirmed Cali’s identity. Cali was pronounced dead at Staten Island University Hospital. Reports say he was shot in the torso.
“Frank Cali is the first mob boss to be shot and killed in New York City in 34 years,” tweets Spectrum News NY 1 above. “The last was Paul Castellano, assassinated outside Sparks Steakhouse in 1985.”
2. Frank Cali Was Known as ‘Franky Boy’
Reports say that Cali was known throughout his life as “Franky Boy,” by his circle.
According to PEOPLE, Cali is the nephew-in-law of the Sicilian mobster John Gambino.
Cali had close ties to the Sicilian Mafia family led by Salvatore Inzerillo–and then married Rosaria Inzerillo, according to reports.
PEOPLE magazine says that Cali was identified as the new underboss of the Gambino crime family, by 2012, and that he was named boss in 2015. Cali replaced 68-year-old Domenico Cefalu, when the latter reached an older age, according to reports from New York Daily News and USA Today.
3. Frank Cali’s Death Coincides With a Mob Boss’ Acquittal & More Coincidences, According to News Reports
The New York Times says that the assassination of Cali happened on the same day that an acting boss of the Bonanno crime family, was acquitted at trial (Joseph Cammarano Jr.).
The New York Times also says that Cali’s death happened one week after the boss of the Colombo crime family, Carmine J. Persico, died at age 85. Persico died in prison.
4. Cali’s Death Is Reportedly the First Mafia Boss Attack or Killing in Recent Years, but Other Mafia Members Have Faced Attacks
The New York Times reports that it has been decades–roughly three, as news reports are saying–since a mafia boss has been killed in New York. However, members who are ranked lower than bosses have still been attacked or killed in recent years, says The New York Times.
The New York Times reports, for example, that Sylvester Zottola, who was an associate of the Bonanno crime family was shot and killed last year. Zottola, a reputed associate, had been waiting in his SUV at a McDonald’s drive-through in the Bronx when he was reportedly murdered, just this October.
Roughly three months before October, The New York Times reports that his son, Salvatore Zottola, was ambushed by a gunman outside his family’s Throgs Neck home, but the younger Zottola survived.
5. Cali Had Been Home Having Dinner With His Family When His Shooting Happened, Reports Say
DailyMail.com states that a police source told them that Cali had been “home having dinner with his family,” when a truck pulled up to shoot him outside the family home.
Cali kept a low profile, according to the New York Post.
Cali’s low-profile style was different from the flashier style of the late former boss John Gotti, according to the New York Post.
“He was a real quiet old-school boss,” a police source told the Post, speaking with regard to Cali’s death.
Reports note that the Gambino Family was once among the most powerful criminal organizations in the U.S. However, federal prosecutors in the 1980s and 1990s destroyed its reach, when they sent top leaders of the family to prison, according to news sources.
The New York Post said that Cali was considered a unifying figure in the family.
Cali has been credited with recruiting new immigrant gangsters from Italy; he also contained his focus to the heroin and Oxycontin business, according to the New York Post’s reporting.