The first killing of a New York City mafia boss in more than 38 years may have nothing to do with the mob at all, according to police sources who spoke to The New York Daily News. Cops on Saturday nabbed a 24-year-old suspect in the killing, Anthony Comello, at a home in Brick Township, New Jersey, a town less than an hour south of Staten Island, New York, where the murder took place.
Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali, believed by law enforcement to be the boss of New York’s powerful Gambino crime family — one the five New York City mafia “families” — was gunned down in the driveway of his own home in the Todt Hill neighborhood of Staten Island on Wednesday night, as The Inquisitr reported.
Security camera footage showed that the killer struck Cali’s parked SUV with his blue pickup truck. When Cali came out of his house to investigate, the man handed him a license plate that had fallen off the SUV — then pulled out a 9mm handgun and fired 12 rounds at Cali, striking him 10 times.
But that license plate provided cops with the break in the case that they needed, according to law enforcement sources who talked to The Daily Beast. When investigators ran fingerprints obtained from the license plate through a police database, they produced a match with Comello.
This is 24-year-old Anthony Comello, of Staten Island, arrested in connection with the murder of reputed mob boss #frankcali . According to the #NYPD, the investigation is only beginning. #StatenIsland #gambino #mob pic.twitter.com/h8oaclep2f
— Stacey Sager (@staceysager7) March 16, 2019
But despite earlier suspicions that the killing was a mob “hit,” and may even have been carried out on orders from Gene Gotti — the brother of now-deceased former Gambino boss John Gotti — the law enforcement sources who spoke anonymously to media outlets Saturday said that Comello had no known mob ties, and that a romantic dispute may have driven him to kill Cali, according to a New York Post report.
Cali, “had told the suspect to stay away from his niece, who was inside the mob boss’ home at the time of the killing,” according to what one source told The Daily Beast.
Gene Gotti came under suspicion because he had been released from prison after 29 years just six months ago, and had reportedly vowed to reclaim control of the Gambino family once he was freed, according to a New York Times report. Cali, who was raised in Brooklyn, New York, but was born in Sicily, was part of a Sicilian faction of the Gambino organization that rose to power sometime around 2011. Gotti, on the other hand, represented the “old guard” of the mafia family, once commanded by John Gotti.
Comello was described by law enforcement officials as “a complete nut,” The Daily Beast reported.
John Gotti Jr., the 55-year-old son of John Gotti and nephew of Gene Gotti, demanded an apology from police on behalf of his uncle, after the arrest of Comello and reports that the Cali killing may have been unrelated to mob activity, according to The New York Post.
One law enforcement official told The New York Post that police would apologize to Gotti only after the Gottis themselves apologize to “all the families whose relatives they killed and got away with.”