UPDATE: 12 Shots Fired, at Least 6 Strike Reputed NYC Mob Boss in Deadly Ambush Outside His Home
A man believed to be a ranking member in the notorious Gambino crime family was shot to death outside his home on Staten Island Wednesday night, police and a law enforcement official close to the investigation said.
Police responding to a 911 call around 9:20 p.m. found Francesco Cali, 53, shot outside his home on Hilltop Terrace in Todt Hill. The 911 caller had initially reported a man had been run over by a vehicle on purpose and that he was trapped; the caller then said he had also been shot multiple times. Cops found Cali with gunshot wounds to the torso; he was pronounced dead at a hospital.
A suspect fled the scene in a blue pickup truck, the NYPD said. Authorities canvassed the scene overnight, roping off the entire front yard as evidence markers littered the pavement near an SUV parked out front.
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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.
Multiple press accounts since 2015 said Cali had ascended to the top spot in the gang, although he never faced a criminal charge saying so.
His only mob-related criminal conviction came a decade ago, when Cali 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 last crime family boss to be shot in New York City was Paul Castellano. The Gambino crime boss was assassinated outside Sparks Steakhouse in Manhattan in 1985. The 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.