In what was New York’s first mob-boss whacking in 35 years, footage of Francesco ‘Franky Boy’ Cali’s slaying shows he shook hands with his killer before being shot – and now police have a suspect in custody, sources say.
According to Staten Island Live, NYPD apprehended a 25-year-old white male from Staten Island on Saturday morning, who’s currently being questioned in relation to the murder.
No further information is being issued by the police department at this time.
The deadly interaction was captured in full from a surveillance camera installed at Cali’s Staten Island mansion.
The 53-year-old can be seen heading out the front door of his home on the evening of March 13, after a blue pickup truck reversed forcefully into his stationary Cadillac Escalade.
According to Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea, the footage – which had to be obtained by a warrant – shows Cali and the man engaging in a conversation, before shaking hands.
The man then passes Cali a licence plate that had fallen off his Escalade.
But as the crime boss turns his back to place the plate in the trunk of his car, the hitman, believed to be between 25 and 40-years-old, unsheathes a 9mm pistol and opens fire.
The murder of Gambino crime family boss Frank Cali has stoked fears that the Mafia may be returning to New York City after more than three decades of peace. Cali, 53, was seen shaking hands with his killer moments before being shot dead
Hand prints, likely caused by officers dusting for fingerprints, is seen on the side of a Cali’s Escalade being pulled from the scene
The 53-year-old can be seen heading out the front door of his home on the evening of March 13, after a blue pickup truck reversed heavily into his stationary Cadillac Escalade
Cali’s home in the Todt Hill neighborhood of Staten Island is pictured
‘It’s not like they came out, started a fistfight,’ a police source told the New York Post. ‘The importance of that is — it’s almost as if proof of the concept that hitting the car was contrived.
‘It doesn’t look like there was any rage.’
The gunman pulled the trigger 12 times, striking Cali at least six.
Attempting the flee the onslaught of bullets, Cali tried to hide beneath his car, which initially led investigators to believe he’d been run over in the hit.
But on Friday, the city’s Medical Examiner’s Office determined he had died from several gunshot wounds.
Family members poured out of the house. ‘Papa! Papa!’ wailed one man before lying on the grass, sobbing.
Investigators with the NYPD were forced to obtain a warrant to review the surveillance video, after the victim’s relatives’ were allegedly unwillling to comply with the probe.
And on Thursday, authorities descended on the home in abundance, collecting cellphones, laptops and other digital devices to help aid their search for Cali’s killer.
Investigators are seen with forensic equipment outside the Cali’s home on Thursday
Cali’s murder is the first hit on a Mafia boss since John Gotti arranged the assassination of then-Gambino head Paul Castellano outside a Manhattan steakhouse in 1985
Cali’s murder is the first hit on a Mafia boss since John ‘Dapper Don’ Gotti arranged the assassination of then-Gambino head Paul Castellano in 1985.
‘We thought those days were over,’ Mayor Bill de Blasio said of the slaying. ‘Very surprising, but I guess old habits die hard.’
For Cali’s slaying, the police were thought to be considering Gene Gotti, John’s younger brother, who was released from prison after 29 years just six-months ago.
One of the theories apparently under consideration is that Gotti, 72, is possibly trying to assert his authority over the Gambino crime family, but so far, he has not been named a suspect, or even a person of interest.
His older brother had assumed control of the criminal organization after ordering the assassination of his predecessor, Paul Castellano, outside a Manhattan steakhouse in 1985.
John Gotti stood at the helm of the Gambino family until his conviction on murder, racketeering and conspiracy charges in 1992. He died in prison of cancer in 2002.
For Cali’s slaying, the police are thought to be turning their attention to Gene Gotti (above), John’s younger brother, who was released from prison after 29 years in September
Cali kept a much lower profile than John Gotti (above) and was killed in far less spectacular fashion than Paul Castellano, who was gunned down outside a Manhattan steakhouse in 1085
Gotti was convicted in Castellano’s murder and a multitude of other crimes in 1992
Cali, who had close ties to Sicilian mafia, was believed to have taken the reigns of the criminal enterprise in 2015.
Cali’s only mob-related criminal conviction came a decade ago, when he pleaded guilty in an extortion scheme involving a failed attempt to build a NASCAR track on Staten Island. He was sentenced to 16 months behind bars and was released in 2009.
In that case, authorities intercepted conversations shedding light on his quiet underworld command. At a 2008 bail hearing, a prosecutor said Cali was seen ‘as a man of influence and power by organized crime members in Italy.’
Mafia heir Giovanni Gambino told DailyMail.com that 53-year-old ‘Franky Boy’ was a constant feature in the New York charity scene and was someone he looked up to growing up.
‘Nobody gets away with anything’, warned Mafia heir Giovanni Gambino (left)
Former Gambino hitman John Alite, who has confessed to involvement in several murders, believes that retribution is inevitable
‘He was the good wise guy that went after bad wise guys’, Giovanni told DailyMailcom. ‘The wise guy that showed class. He was the one that had the ‘it’ factor, growing up with my friends. We all looked up to him. He gave a great impression.’
‘Nobody gets away with anything . Especially killing a good man,’ he added.
Former Gambino hitman John Alite, who has confessed to involvement in several murders, believes that retribution is inevitable.
If this is still the Mafia, that guy’s got to get killed that did the shooting,’ said Alite, 56, to USA Today.
‘And anybody that helped them. Anybody who was associated with this murder, whether it was mob related or not, a couple of guys got to get killed now.’
1985 MOB HIT ON GAMBINO BOSS PAUL CASTELLANO
Frank 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.
Gambino capo John Gotti (left) was part of a three-man hit squad that shot Mafia kingpin Paul Castellano (right) outside a steakhouse in 1985
Big Paul was made boss instead of the likely heir, the then-underboss Aniello Dellacroce – a decision which annoyed those loyal to Dellacroce.
They were further enraged by Castellano’s insistence on living as a recluse in his mansion in Todt Hill, Staten Island, which earned him the moniker, ‘the Howard Huges of the Mob’.
When Dellacroce died of cancer in 1985, Castellano disrepected the Family by not attending the funeral.
The final nail in his coffin was when he made Capo Thomas Bilotti his underboss.
John Gotti, who had been loyal to Dellacroce and didn’t think Castellano was worthy of being the Don, and the irate Gambinos then decided to whack Castellano.
At the time, Castellano had been on trial in Manhattan federal court on racketeering charges involving three murders and an international stolen car ring but the trial was in recess.
On December 15, 1985 Gotti and the Dellacroce devised a plan to assassinate Castellano and Bilotti – by luring the boss to a meeting at Sparks Steakhouse on 210 E. 46th St., between Second and Third Avenues.
The scene of the crime. Big Paul was made boss instead of the likely heir, the then-underboss Aniello Dellacroce – a decision which annoyed those loyal to Dellacroce
The bodies of Castellano and Bilotti lay in a pool of blood after they were gunned down outside Sparks steakhouse in Manhattan
At around 5.30pm, Gotti and Salvatore ‘Sammy the Bull’ Gravano were driving in Gotti’s Lincoln Town Car when they spotted the boss in his Black Lincoln Town Car.
Gotti drove on ahead and parked at a vantage point across the street from the restaurant.
At around 6pm, Castellano and his Underboss Thomas Bilotti pulled up at Sparks Steakhouse to attend a sit down with Frank DeCicco to apologize for missing Dellacroce’s funeral.
Just as they exited the car, the assassin shot Castellano six times. He fell to the pavement and died. Bilotti, who was in the driver’s seat was also shot dead.
Gotti then drove past the scene, while Gravano looked at Bilotti’s body, saying ‘he’s gone’.
Soon after, John Gotti became Boss, Frank DeCicco became Underboss, and Gravano became Consigliere in 1986.