Lured By "Faked" Crash, Gambino Boss Frank Cali Rushed Into An Ambush

A “faked” car crash caught the attention of Gambino boss Frank Cali Wednesday night at around 9:15 pm while he was inside his red-brick Staten Island house eating dinner with his family.

Investigators load SUV onto a flatbed on Staten Island  on Thursday, March 14.

Multiple police sources say the shooter drove up to the mobster's home, stopped, and then reversed, crashing into Cali’s silver Cadillac Escalade SUV, prompting the mobster to rush outside. Surveillance video caught Cali talking and shaking hands with the suspect, apparently sensing no danger. Cali then turned his back before he was shot.

Video is too grainy for police to identify the gunman, the multiple sources said. The NYPD is now  searching the neighborhood for more possible video.

The shooter pumped at least six 9mm bullets into Cali before hopping back into the vehicle and speeding away. (Cops would recover 12 shell casings at the scene).

Yesterday, the NYPD combed surveillance footage of Staten Island’s bridges but found no trace of the vehicle leaving the borough. Apparently, the truck had already been abandoned before such an exit; the truck had been dumped at a demolition site, as per a police source.

Cali was declared dead at Staten Island University Hospital Wednesday— and his murder has raised questions about the possibility of a civil war within the Gambino crime family or a mob war with another family, there’s four others, take your pick…..

At a press conference Thursday at police headquarters, Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea noted that investigators were looking into multiple theories about Cali’s assassination.

“Certainly Mr. Cali’s prior dealings — he has been arrested prior by the feds — are a focal point at this point of the investigation. We are ruling nothing out at this point,” said Shea, who said the gunman was somewhere between 25 to 40 years old.

Some law enforcement immediately thought of Gene Gotti, 73 (as did this blogger), brother of ex-Gambino head John Gotti who brutally took out Paul Castellano in 1985.

Gene Gotti was released from federal prison about six months ago after serving 29 years for dealing heroin.

He might have wanted to take Cali out in a dramatic power play of his own, two police sources have revealed. “It’s total speculation,” one of the sources said about a possible Gotti link. “But it’s also something to look out for. Was Gene trying to reclaim some of his business and Cali wasn’t going for it?”

Gotti couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday by at least one newspaper reaching out to him.

While Shea cautioned that the investigation is still preliminary, other early theories included a planned rubout by Cali’s underlings, a killer with a personal vendetta with the mobster, or even a classic mob hit by the new wave of Russian and Albanian wiseguys looking to muscle into the family business.

Frank Cali, aka Franky Boy.
Frank Cali, aka Franky Boy.

“Looking at it from the outside, it makes no sense that Cali was killed — he seemed like the perfect guy to be the leader of a prominent family like the Gambinos,” mob expert Howard Abadinsky, a criminal justice professor at St. John’s University told the Boston Herald.

“He was low-profile, born in Sicily and worked his way up the organization — he didn’t have to kill anybody to get there. He’s going to be very hard to replace,” said Abadinsky. “It raises all kinds of questions about who authorized his murder. It makes sense to somebody, but who?”
Abadinsky said it would be unlikely that a rival New York crime family orchestrated the execution.

“We haven’t seen a mob war across the families since the 1930s, I think,” he said, adding it was more likely an internal hit. “Obviously someone made the decision that he should be killed, but it wouldn’t have been a one-person decision — there would have been consultation. It was not spur of the moment.