New York City police are investigating the bold, fatal shooting of accused Gambino crime boss Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali outside his Staten Island home, USA Today reports. Cali, 53, was shot six times in the chest by a gunman who then roared off in a blue pickup. Federal prosecutors have described Cali as a top leader of New York’s notorious Gambino crime family. His murder marked the most notable killing of a Gambino boss since 1985, when Paul Castellano was shot dead in front of the Sparks Steak House in Manhattan.
Cali was a native of Sicily, and his wife is the niece of Gambino capo John Gambino. New York media outlets have reported that since 2015 Cali had ascended to the top spot in the gang, although he never faced a criminal charge making the claim. Cali’s only mob-related criminal conviction was a decade ago, when he pleaded guilty in an extortion conspiracy involving a failed attempt to build a NASCAR track on Staten Island. He was sentenced to 16 months in federal prison and was released in 2009. 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. Gambino leader John Gotti died in federal prison in 2002. Gotti’s brother, Gene, 71, was released from prison last year after serving almost 30 years for dealing heroin. Another former group leader, Carmine John “The Snake” Persico Jr., died last week while serving a 139-year prison sentence. He was 85.