Frank Cali, thought to have headed the Gambino crime family since 2015, was shot and killed in Staten Island on March 13, 2019 (HANDOUT)
New York (AFP) – The reputed boss of New York Mafia family the Gambinos, Francesco “Frank” Cali, has been shot dead outside his home on Staten Island, police said Thursday.
The 53-year-old, thought to have been de facto godfather of the Italian crime family since 2015, suffered “multiple gunshot wounds to the torso” in the attack on Wednesday evening, police said.
The New York Daily News reported Cali, also known as “Franky Boy,” was shot six times then hit by a blue truck in which the suspects fled.
Police added he was taken to Staten Island University North hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“There are no arrests and the investigation is ongoing,” police said.
The Gambino family is one of New York’s five historic Italian Mafia families — along with the Genovese, Lucchese, Colombo and Bonanno families.
US media reported that his death marked the first murder of a New York mob boss in 34 years, since the death of Paul Castellano — another Gambino family boss — by order of John Gotti.
Following Castellano’s murder, Gotti headed the Gambino family until his incarceration for conspiracy and murder in 1992. Gotti died in prison in 2002.
Last October, 71-year-old Sylvester Zottola of the Bonanno family was shot dead while waiting in his car for an order from a Bronx McDonald’s. His son Salvatore had been shot three months earlier outside the family home, but survived.
Cali had served 16 months in prison following a 2008 extortion conviction.
According to local media in New York, he took the helm of the Gambino family in 2015, replacing Domenico Cefalu.
– ‘A certain type of evil’ –
Also on Wednesday night, a Gambino family associate of over a decade, Anthony Pandrella, was arrested for robbing and murdering his friend Vincent Zito, 78, the US Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn announced Thursday.
Pandrella, 59, is accusing of shooting Zito in his own home and stealing money from him — before returning to the scene of the crime hours later to grieve with the older man’s family.
But he had been caught on CCTV cameras leaving and entering the house at the time of the murder, and his DNA was discovered from the trigger of the gun used to commit the crime.
“It takes a certain type of evil to murder a friend in their own home, and then console the grieving relatives,” said FBI assistant director in charge William Sweeney.
Pandrella was set to appear before Brooklyn federal judge Ramon Reyes Wednesday afternoon to enter a plea.
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