Three Times the Gambino Crime Family Has Made Headlines

Minnie Murray
March 15, 2019

The reputed boss of New York's Gambino crime family was shot to death in front of his home by a gunman who may have staged a vehicle accident to lure him outside, dying a virtual unknown compared with his swaggering 1980s-era predecessor, John Gotti.

Shortly after, emergency responders arrived on the scene and Cali, who was born in New York City, was transported to Staten Island University North Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Mr. Castellano and Mr. Bilotti were each shot about six times in the head and upper body and fell dead beside the open doors of their black Lincoln limousine, which had been parked moments before on the south side of 46th Street in a "no standing" zone.

Cali became the notorious crime family's acting boss in 2015, replacing Domenico Cefalu, then 68, according to the New York Daily News.

Gotti died of cancer in prison in 2002.

Sources said the getaway vehicle was a blue pickup truck, reported NBC New York.

The day after Castellano's December 1985 murder, The New York Times called the Mob boss' death "highly stylized", but Giuliani dismissed such morbid romanticism. But at the age of 89 - roughly five years after he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for his role in 11 murders, Bulger was found dead in 2018 a West Virginia prison.

In 2008, Cali was arrested and charged with federal racketeering as part of Operation Old Bridge - a code name for the February 7 arrests in Italy and the USA that targeted the Gambino crime family.


Detective Shea said that Cali's Cadillac SUV, which was parked outside the home, was struck resulting in him rushing outside to investigate.

Francesco Cali, supposed leader of the Gambino crime family, was shot to death on Wednesday night.

According to the New York Daily News, a family member of Cali's called 911, telling a dispatcher that the gunman's getaway vehicle ran him over.

"We thought those days were over", Mayor Bill de Blasio said of Cali's slaying.

Charges against members of Mafia operations, including Gambino family operatives, have included murder, loan sharking, gambling and illegal drug distribution, Reuters has reported. "But I guess old habits die hard".

Last October, 71-year-old Sylvester Zottola of the Bonanno family was shot dead while waiting in his auto for an order from a Bronx McDonald's. Paul Castellano also owned a home there.

The reputed Colombo boss, Carmine "The Snake" Persico died about a week ago, aged 85. His son Salvatore had been shot three months earlier outside the family home, but survived.

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