Frank Cali, reputed Gambino crime boss, shook hands with killer before he was shot, report says

Francesco “Frank Boy” Cali, the reputed boss of the Gambino crime family, shook hands with his killer just before he was shot to death Wednesday night outside his New York City home, a report said Friday.

Authorities have been examining surveillance video that captured the 53-year-old Cali as he exited his home in the Todt Hill section of Staten Island around 9:15 p.m. after a man backed his vehicle into Cali’s parked Cadillac SUV. The accident appeared to have been a setup to draw Cali outside, police have said.

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Cali and the man, believed to be between 25-30 years old, were seen talking for about a minute and shaking hands, a law enforcement source told Newsday on Friday. Cali was then seen picking up a fallen license plate when the gunman fired about 12 shots at close range, striking Cali six times, police said.

Police have not determined a motive for Cali’s killing. It was too early to judge whether the murder was mob-related, as investigators were also looking into Cali’s private and business affairs, NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said at a news conference Thursday.

Detectives were working to examine video from the area’s surveillance cameras to trace the gunman’s vehicle, which appeared to be a pickup truck, another law enforcement source told Newsday. But the cameras in that part of Staten Island weren’t connected to any network, making the job more difficult, the source said.

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Meanwhile, the reputed Gambino boss’ murder continued to trigger speculation that the killing was part of an interfamily rivalry or even the “beginning of a mob war,” the Staten Island Advance reported.

“This is not common [anymore],” Christian Cipollini, organized crime historian and author, told the Advance. “It could be an internal strike or the beginning of a mob war.

“Going by history, this is not gonna be the last one,” he said, referring to possible retaliation for the killing of Cali.

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The last high-ranking Mafia figure killed in New York City was Paul Castellano, head of the Gambino family at the time. He was believed to have been assassinated at John Gotti’s direction while getting out of a black limousine outside Manhattan’s Sparks Steakhouse in 1985. Gotti then took control of the family.