Head of Gambino Crime Family Gunned Down in Front of Home

Frank Cali was first mob boss to be killed since Paul Castellano in 1985
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2019 6:14 AM CDT
Updated Mar 14, 2019 6:58 AM CDT
This five-picture composite from 2008 shows Frank Cali, second from the left.   (AP Photo/Italian Police, HO)

(Newser) – Less than a week after the head of the Colombo crime family died, the Gambino crime family has lost its own reputed boss. The demise Wednesday night of Francesco "Frank" Cali, however, was much more violent and untimely than the passing of Carmine "The Snake" Persico, who died in a North Carolina medical center at age 85 last Thursday: Cali was shot six times in front of his Staten Island home by someone in a blue pickup truck, shortly after 9pm, the New York Daily News reports. A 911 caller said the 53-year-old was mowed down by the perpetrator's vehicle before he was shot, though that hasn't been confirmed. Cali was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The New York Times notes it's been more than three decades since a Mafia boss was murdered in New York, although lower-level mobsters have recently met that fate.

In fact, several outlets have made comparisons between Cali's shooting and that of erstwhile Gambino boss Paul Castellano, who was gunned down in front of a New York City steakhouse in 1985, a killing orchestrated by John Gotti, who then took over the family. CNN notes that since taking over the crime syndicate as acting boss in 2015, Cali stayed under the radar more than the flashier Gotti, who was put away for murder and racketeering in 1992 and died in prison a decade later. The Daily News reports that Cali's ascension in the crime family was a rapid one, with the feds even trying (to no avail) to keep him away from other mobsters after he got out of prison in the late 2000s after serving time for an extortion scheme. "There are no arrests and the investigation is ongoing," a police statement notes of his death, per the BBC. (Read more Gambino crime family stories.)

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