The reputed leader of the Gambino crime family, once headed by infamous mobster John Gotti, was gunned down in a “well-thought-out execution” outside his New York City home late Wednesday — sparking an investigation into whether the hit was sanctioned or the revival of a “mob war,” sources told ABC News.
Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali, 53, was found with multiple gunshot wounds to his body outside his home on Staten Island, according to the New York Police Department.
“This was not some fly-by-night thing,” a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation told ABC News. “This was a well-thought-out execution.”
Police recovered 12 shell casings at the scene, sources said.
Cali is the first reputed mob boss murdered in New York City in 35 years. He was shot outside his home as many as 10 times by a killer who may have fled the scene in a pickup truck, police said.
His wife and children were inside the house when he was attacked.
Paramedics took Cali to Staten Island University North hospital after responding to the home at 9:17 p.m., police said. He was pronounced dead less than 40 minutes later.
A male witness who was driving nearby when the attack occurred told police he heard multiple gunshots that, at first, he thought were fireworks, a source told ABC News. The witness also told police he saw an individual run toward the driver’s side of a blue pickup truck while simultaneously keeping one hand near his waistband, the source said.
Additional witnesses told police they saw the pickup truck driving through the neighborhood around the time of the shooting.
A 911 caller reported a blue pickup truck driving away from the scene, New York ABC station WABC reported.
No one has been arrested and an investigation is ongoing. No gun has been recovered, authorities said.
A law enforcement official briefed on the investigation told ABC News that detectives are attempting to determine if Cali’s killing signaled the revival of a “mob war.” The shooting outside Cali’s home, the source said, suggests the killing was meant to send an ominous message.
Last October, Sylvester Zottola, 71, reportedly of the Bonanno crime family, was gunned down at a McDonald’s drive-thru in the Bronx. Zottola’s son, Salvatore, survived an apparent assassination attempt in July outside his home, also in the Bronx.
Cali’s family members told police he was inside his house when he heard something that sounded like his car being hit and went outside, the source said.
But a source told ABC News that Cali received either a call or text message on his cell phone that lured him out to the front terrace of his home.
As part of the probe, investigators are attempting to collect cell phone records to analyze as they attempt to identify the killer or killers, the source said. Detectives are also urgently reviewing security video from neighboring homes and other surveillance cameras that might show the killer coming or going from Cali’s home in the Tote Hill area of Staten Island.
The NYPD has also obtained a search warrant for Cali’s home to remove security camera footage from the house, a source told ABC News.
Aerial footage from the crime scene taken by a WABC-TV helicopter showed police searching a silver SUV outside Cali’s home with at least 17 evidence markers around it, some apparently noting the location of spent shell casings. It was not immediately clear if any surveillance cameras in the upscale residential neighborhood captured the shooting.
Cali is the highest-ranking alleged member of a crime family to be murdered in New York in decades, according to WABC.
The last mob boss to be killed was Paul Castellano, also the leader of the Gambino crime family at the time, who was murdered outside Sparks Steakhouse in Midtown Manhattan in 1985. That hit was ordered by Gotti, who later took over the family until being convicted in 1992 of racketeering and Castellano’s murder.
Gotti died of cancer in prison in 2002.
ABC News’ Mark Osborne contributed to this report.