The reputed head of a notorious mafia family has been shot dead outside his home in New York City, in the first targeted killing of a mob boss in the city since 1985.
Frank Cali was believed to be the head of New York’s Gambino crime family, once among the nation’s most powerful criminal organisations.
Cali was shot in front of his mansion in Staten Island just after 9pm on Wednesday (March 13). He died later in hospital.
As reported by The New York Times, police said they received a report of a shooting outside 25 Hilltop Terrace in the Todt Hill district of Staten Island around 9.20pm. There were also reports of a blue pickup truck leaving the scene around the time of shooting.
Witnesses at the scene said the killer shot the mafia boss at least six times and then ran over his body before fleeing the scene, BBC News reports. Family members reportedly rushed into the street and were seen sitting crying next to his body.
Cali was taken to Staten Island University Hospital, but was pronounced dead shortly afterwards. Police say the motive of the killing is not known.
#BREAKING: Source tells @PIX11News reputed #Gambino crime family boss Francesco #FrankCali was shot and gravely wounded on Staten Island after 9 pm tonight. Cali at SI University No. Hospital after shooting in Todt Hill. He has ties to Sicilian mob. pic.twitter.com/CgiRyO2jSb
— Mary Murphy (@MurphyPIX) March 14, 2019
A neighbour of the supposed mafia boss, Salvatore, 58, told The New York Times he heard a burst of gunshots – approximately seven – shortly after 9pm.
He said he ‘just heard the pow-pow-pow-pow-pow’ before he rushed to his window, but could not see anything. Two other neighbours, who didn’t want to be named, agreed with Salvatore’s version of events.
Cali’s murder is the first killing of a family crime boss in NYC since 1985, when Paul Castellano – from the same Gambino family – was shot dead outside a restaurant in Manhattan, New York media reports.
Police released a statement which said there are currently no arrests, obtained by CBS:
Wow. Gambino Crime Family Boss Frank Cali was shot and killed outside his Staten Island home tonight. NYPD confirmation: pic.twitter.com/GtbPBtIdrc
— Mosheh Oinounou (@Mosheh) March 14, 2019
The Gambino family was once the largest and most influential organised crime group in the U.S., The New York Times reports, until several of its leaders were convicted in the 1990s for crimes such as murder and racketeering.
John Gotti – who ordered the murder of former family boss Paul Castellano – headed up the Gambino family until he was convicted of racketeering and five counts of murder in 1992. He died in prison in 2002.
Cali himself served 16 months in prison in 2008 for conspiring to extort money; this is believed to be the former mafia boss’s only criminal conviction.
Police say the investigation is ongoing.
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