For the first time since 1985, the reputed boss of a major New York City mafia crime family has been assassinated, as 53-year-old Francesco Cali was gunned down outside his home on Staten Island on Wednesday night, The New York Times reported. Cali, believed by law enforcement authorities to have been the boss of the Gambino Mafia family, was shot six times at about 9:20 p.m. outside his house at 25 Hilltop Terrace in Staten Island’s Todt Hill neighborhood.
The report of Cali’s killing was apparently the first mention of the powerful Mafia figure ever to appear in The New York Times, as Inquisitr noted.
Todt Hill was also home to a previous Gambino family boss, Paul Castellano, who was the last New York City “La Cosa Nostra” boss to be killed. Castellano was shot dead outside the Sparks Steak House restaurant on East 46th Street in Manhattan on December 16, 1985, on the orders of one of his top underlings, John Gotti, according to a New York Times account. Gotti then took over the Gambino family as boss until he was convicted of the murder in 1992.
Once known as “The Teflon Don” for his habit of winning acquittals in several previous trials, Gotti died of cancer in prison 10 years after being convicted.
Though police as of Wednesday night had not publicly identified any suspects in the murder of Cali, the slaying sparked fears of a new mafia inter-family war, coming on the same day that the reputed acting boss of the rival Bonnano organized crime family, Joseph “Joe C” Cammarano Jr., was acquitted after a trial on racketeering and extortion charges, according to The New York Post.
The reputed boss of the Gambino crime family is dead after being shot multiple times on Staten Island, the police said https://t.co/NWpFpuyYR4
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 14, 2019
The assassination of the alleged Gambino family boss also came just six days after the death in prison at age 85 of Carmine “The Snake” Persico, according to CNN. Persico was the longtime boss of New York’s Colombo crime family who in his heyday had risen to become one of the most powerful mobsters in the United States. The mobster was convicted in the 1980s in a prosecution led by Rudy Giuliani, when the future New York City mayor was United States attorney in Manhattan.
Persico reportedly ordered a “hit” on Giuliani in retalition, an order which was never carried out. The mob boss was serving a 139-year sentence when he died last Thursday.
Cali, a native of Sicily, rose to become Gambino family boss in 2015, according to a New York Post account. Unlike the flamboyant Gotti, Cali was known as an intensely private figure, and “a real quiet old-school boss,” according a Post police source.
For decades, the Gambino family was the most powerful of New York’s “Five Families,” and has origins dating back to a New York street gang run by Sicilian immigrant Salvatore “Toto” D’Aquila in the late 19th century, according to American Mafia History. The family’s current name came from legendary boss Carlo Gambino, who took over the family from Albert Anastasia in 1957, after Anastasia was gunned down while sitting in a barber’s chair in Manhattan’s Park Sheraton Hotel.