Reputed Gambino crime boss shot to death in New York City

Gambino crime family boss Francesco

Gambino crime family boss Francesco"Franky Boy Cali was gunned down

NY police are hunting the hitman who gunned down Francesco "Franky Boy" Cali on Wednesday - witnesses and officials say the killer then made sure the 53-year-old Gambino mob boss was dead by running over him with a blue pickup truck.

Francesco "Franky Boy" Cali, 53, was found with multiple gunshot wounds to his body at his home in the borough's Todt Hill section just after 9 p.m. The New York Police Department confirms that medics arrived at the scene and transported Frank to Staten Island University North.

It's more than three decades since the last hit on a boss of one of the five families, but Cali's murder is a reminder that - at least as far as the rest of us know - the Mafia really did split up NY into five territories, and continues to operate that way despite huge numbers of arrests over the years.

Before losing his life, Cali - who usually kept a low profile - had been considered a unifying figure for the Gambino crime family.

Cops retrieve evidence from the scene where Mob boss Francesco Cali was clipped late Wednesday. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Cops retrieve evidence from the scene where Mob boss Francesco Cali was clipped late Wednesday. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Investigators are probing whether Cali's slaying was sanctioned by New York's five families, or whether it was the work of a rogue gunman, sources say.

"Cali is seen as a man of influence and power by organised crime members in Italy", US assistant attorney Joey Lipton told the court, the New York Daily News reported at the time.

One of the most notorious gangs of NY is at the center of a new mob murder mystery. The New York Post reported that Cali had increased the Gambino family's involvement in drug trafficking, particularly in opioids.

Mr. Castellano and Mr. Bilotti were each shot about six times in the head and upper body and fell dead beside the open doors of their black Lincoln limousine, which had been parked moments before on the south side of 46th Street in a "no standing" zone.

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Francesco Cali, supposed leader of the Gambino crime family, was shot to death on Wednesday night.

It is believed he only had one criminal conviction, for conspiring to extort money in 2008 for which he served 16 months in prison.

The Gambino crime boss was assassinated outside Sparks Steakhouse in Manhattan in 1985.

In 1992, Gotti was convicted in Castellano's murder and a multitude of other crimes. The others are the Bonanno, Colombo, Genovese and Lucchese families.

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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.

A week ago, Persico died after serving 33 years in prison.

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