A reputed New York crime boss was shot and killed outside his home Wednesday night.
Francesco Cali, 53, was found with multiple gunshot wounds to the torso in the borough of Staten Island, the NYPD said.
A law enforcement official confirmed to CNN that Cali was a high-ranking member of the Gambino organized crime family and is believed to be the acting boss.
Police are searching for a pickup truck that fled the scene, NY Police Chief of Detectives Dermot F. Shea said. No one has been arrested and the investigation is ongoing.
Cali was home with family members when the truck hit a car outside the residence, Shea said. It’s “quite possible” that the incident was staged to draw Cali outside and into a confrontation with the suspected shooter, he said.
About a minute into the confrontation, the suspect pulled out a gun and began shooting at Cali, Shea said.
When Cali tried to take cover behind his car, the pickup truck drove into it and “rocked” it significantly, possibly damaging the truck, Shea said.
Medics arrived at the scene and transported Cali to Staten Island University Hospital North, where he was pronounced dead.
Who was Frank Cali?
Cali had been considered a unifying figure in the years after then-Gambino boss John Gotti, “Dapper Don,” was convicted of murder and racketeering in 1992 and sent to prison for life, CNN affiliate WPIX reported.
Unlike the well-dressed Gotti, Cali kept a low profile.
Cali was the first New York crime family boss shot in 34 years, according to WPIX. In 1985, Paul Castellano was shot dead as he arrived at Sparks Steakhouse in Manhattan — a killing organized by Gotti, authorities said. Gotti, who then assumed control of the family, reportedly watched the action from nearby with his eventual underboss, Sammy “Bull” Gravano.
But Gravano would eventually testify against Gotti, leading to Gotti’s 1992 conviction in five murders — one of several major convictions that thinned the Mafia ranks in the 1980s and ’90s.
Cali served prison time last decade
Cali was an associate in the Gambino family, according to court documents, when he was indicted in 2008 with more than two dozen other Gambino members for a range of alleged crimes.
Later that year, he pleaded guilty to extortion conspiracy related to the planned construction of a NASCAR speedway on Staten Island — a plan that eventually was scrapped.
Authorities alleged Cali and others arranged, through force and threat of force, to receive cash payments from someone who had worked on the project.
Cali was sentenced to 16 months in prison and was released in 2009.