In what was reputed to be the first murder of a high-ranking member of the Mafia in roughly 30 years, Frank Cali, reputedly the boss of the Gambino crime family, was shot to death in front of his Staten Island home on Wednesday night. Fox News noted, “Cali, who had roots in Sicily and ties to the Sicilian Mafia, was the highest-ranking organized crime figure to be murdered in New York City since 1985, when Paul Castellano was assassinated as he arrived as Sparks Steakhouse in Manhattan, according to WPIX-TV.”
Witnesses to the crime said the killers reportedly ran over Cali’s body with a blue pickup truck after he was shot to make sure he was dead, according to the police, as The Daily Beast reported. The New York Daily News stated that a family member called 911 and said Cali was run over before he was shot; one witness told the Daily News, “There were like six shots, and then there were three more. The man was on the ground face-up. His head was by his SUV, and the truck was open.”
The New York Post reported that police sources said the shooter hit Cali with multiple bullets and a 911 caller said they heard six or seven shots. The Post had reported last September that sources said that after Cali ascended to power, he centered on the heroin and Oxycontin trade.
According to The Daily Beast, Cali was made acting boss in 2015 after becoming a “made member” of the Gambino family in the late 1990’s. The Daily Beast noted, “Cali’s home is a two-minute drive from where one of his predecessors, late Gambino boss Paul Castellano, lived in an ostentatious mansion dubbed the White House until he was executed outside Sparks Steak House in Manhattan in 1985.”
Business Insider reported in 2013 that Cali had reportedly turned down an offer to head the crime family. Business Insider reported:
Four days before the meeting, “On The Inside” reported that Cali was the choice among his comrades, who respected Cali’s strong low-key, old-world approach to doing business successfully without attracting fanfare or agita. But Cali told his brothers that while he was moved by their support, he would not accept the promotion to run the family’s billion-dollar concerns. “I don’t need the money, the headaches. I am OK with things and I am below the radar and not an attention-seeker,” Cali told his Gambino brethren, according to sources.
The New York Daily News reported in 2015 that Cali had been made acting boss of the Gambino crime family: “Frank Cali, 49, of Staten Island, who has served on the family’s ruling panel for several years, has been elevated to acting boss, replacing 68-year-old Domenico Cefalu, the website Ganglandnews.com reported Thursday.”
Cali’s only criminal conviction came from an extortion charge in 2008 for trying to shake down a trucker; he spent 16 months in prison.
Business Insider said Cali essentially was in charge of New York City’s city’s food industry and was worth an estimated $30 million.