More than three decades of Mafia peace has been shattered by the murder last night of Gambino crime family boss Francesco ‘Franky Boy’ Cali.
Cali, 53, was shot six times and run over by a pickup truck outside his redbrick house in the upmarket Todt Hill neigborhood of Staten Island.
His wife and young children were inside the house and one man, believed to be a family member, ran outside, collapsed and cried, ‘Papa! Papa!’
Cali’s murder is the first hit on a Mafia boss since John Gotti arranged the assassination of then-Gambino head Paul Castellano in 1985.
‘Even Gotti had more respect… he did it out in Manhattan,’ one source told the New York Post.
Police responding to a 911 call about an assault in progress just after 9.15pm arrived to find Cali with six gunshot wounds to the torso. He was pronounced dead at a hospital soon after.
Investigators, including the FBI, are looking into whether the hit was was authorized by one of New York’s five Mafia families, or whether it was carried out by a ‘cowboy’ gunman.
It is understood Cali’s distraught family members ran outside after the shots were fired.
One man collapsed in front of the home crying: ‘Papa! Papa!’ as a woman shouted into her phone: ‘Why doesn’t the ambulance come? He’s not breathing!’
No arrests have been made and an investigation is ongoing as police search for a blue pickup truck that fled the gruesome scene after it is believed to have run Cali over.
A police source told DailyMail.com: ‘Cali was home having dinner with his family when this truck pulled up. He was shot outside the home.’
A witness told The New York Daily News: ‘There were like six shots, and then there were three more.
‘The man was on the ground face-up. His head was by his SUV, and the truck was open.’
One of Cali’s neighbors, 58-old-year Salvatore, told the New York Times he heard a burst of about seven gunshots. ‘I just heard the pow-pow-pow-pow-pow,’ he said, adding, ‘You never know who your neighbors are’.
And one resident, Prashant Ranyal, 39, who lives blocks from the scene, told the New York Post: ‘I’ve seen the [mob] movies . . . but I’ve never seen any activity that we feel at all that there’s something strange about this area.’
The Sicily native, who is married to John Gambino’s niece, served on the family’s ruling panel for several years before being promoted to acting boss in 2015, replacing the previous leader Domenico Cefalu, also known as ‘Greaseball’.
The organization reportedly focused its efforts on heroin and Oxycontin trafficking under his leadership.
Among law enforcement officials, Cali was known as a ‘real quiet old-school boss’ – one police source told the New York Post.
He was considered to be a foil of his former boss John Gotti because ‘no one ever sees him’.
Cali only had one criminal conviction, having spent 16 months for a 2008 federal extortion charge in connection with a failed bit to build a NASCAR race track in Staten Island.
The hit on Cali comes as New York has seen a resurgence in mob activity recently.
In October, Sylvester Zottola, 71 – an associate of the Bonnano crime family – was gunned down at a Bronx McDonald’s drive-thru.
And John Gotti’s brother Gene, 71, was recently released after spending 29 years in prison for dealing heroin.
Cali’s murder is the first hit on a Mafia boss since John Gotti arranged the assassination of then-Gambino head ‘Big Paul’ Castellano – outside Sparks Steakhouse – in 1985.
The notorious assasination saw Castellano, 70, and his underboss Thomas Bilotti, 47, both shot in the face by a three-man hit squad just after the two victims had stepped out of their car.
Castellano’s reign as kingpin had begun in 1976 after the death of Carlo Gambino.
The Gambinos were the most powerful of the five families of the New York City mafia and worth an estimated $500 million a year