Gambino crime family boss Frank Cali shot, killed
NEW YORK — Gambino crime family boss Frank (Franky Boy) Cali was gunned down and run over Wednesday night in a gory hit in front of his Staten Island home, police sources said.
Cali, 53, was shot six times in the chest, and run over by a blue pickup truck on Hilltop Terrace near Four Corners Road in Todt Hill about 9:15 p.m. Medics took him to Staten Island University Hospital, where he died.
A panicked family member called 911, telling a dispatcher Cali was deliberately run over before he was shot, sources said.
Police were searching for the pickup truck that raced from the grisly scene, sources said.
“There were like six shots, and then there were three more,” one witness, who asked that her name not be used, told The New York Daily News. “The man was on the ground face-up. His head was by his SUV, and the truck was open.”
Cali’s distraught family members rushed outside after the shooting.
“Papa! Papa!” one man cried before laying down on the grass, sobbing, the witness recounted.
One woman yelled into her phone, “Why doesn’t the ambulance come? He’s not breathing!” the witness told the Daily News. Another woman “was just making loud noises,” she said.
“The cops came, and they were pushing on his chest, but he wasn’t responding,” the witness said.
A man answering Cali’s wife’s cellphone hung up on a reporter Wednesday night.
Cali, who served on the family’s ruling panel for several years, was elevated to acting boss in 2015, replacing then 68-year-old Domenico Cefalu.
A native of Sicily, Cali has deep mob roots, and his wife is the niece of Gambino capo John Gambino. His brother Joseph and brother-in-law Peter Inzerillo are reputed Gambino soldiers.
He rose quickly through the ranks of organized crime, becoming a powerful capo before the age of 40, less than a decade after he became an inducted member, according to court papers.
Federal authorities tried to put a stop to Cali’s rise to power in the late 2000s, after he completed a 16-month sentence for an extortion scheme connected to a failed bid to build a NASCAR track on Staten Island.
After his release, the feds tried to bar him from meeting with members of the Sicilian Mafia, and demanded that he avoid contact with his uncle, Giovanni Gambino — the nephew of late boss Carlo Gambino, for whom the family was named — except at weddings or holiday celebrations approved in advance.