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Mafia crime boss Francesco 'Franky Boy' Cali shot dead in New York

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Gambino crime family boss Francesco

The elder John Gotti grandson, also named John Gotti, was arrested on drug charges in the summer of 2016 in an investigation dubbed "Operation Beach Party".

Francesco Cali, 53, was found with multiple gunshot wounds to the torso in the NY borough of Staten Island, the NYPD said. Cali was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Witnesses to the crime said the killers reportedly ran over Cali's body with a blue pickup truck after he was shot to make sure he was dead, according to the police, as The Daily Beast reported.

According to NBC New York, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn had described him as the underboss of the Gambino crime syndicate and was related through marriage to the Inzerillo family in Sicily. News accounts since 2015 said he had ascended to the top spot.

The last crime family boss to be shot in New York City was Paul Castellano.

This is a breaking story.

A witness told The New York Daily News: 'There were like six shots, and then there were three more.

Cops retrieve evidence from the scene where Mob boss Francesco Cali was clipped late Wednesday. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Cops retrieve evidence from the scene where Mob boss Francesco Cali was clipped late Wednesday. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

"The Gambino crime family during Castellano's reign was the largest criminal organization in the USA, with law enforcement estimating it had some 250 "'made" members" and "more than 550 lower-ranking "associate' members".

Experts agree that Francesco Cali was the individual responsible for consolidating the Gambino family after John Gotti was sent to prison on murder and racketeering in 1992, leaving the mob outfit in a power vacuum so conspicuous, even the casual observer could sense their grip on the criminal underworld was on the fritz. He was sentenced to 16 months in federal prison and released in 2009.

The Gambino family is one of New York's five historic Italian Mafia families - along with the Genovese, Lucchese, Colombo and Bonanno families.

Police sources described Cali's murder as "disrespectful" because it happened right outside his family home. Unlike the well-dressed Dapper Don of the late 80s and early 90s, Cali had kept a low profile.

Last October, Bonanno crime family associate Sylvester Zottola, 71, was gunned down at a Bronx McDonald's drive-thru as he waited for a coffee.

Cali, who served on the family's ruling panel for several years, was elevated to acting boss in 2015, replacing then 68-year-old Domenico Cefalu.

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