Cali was shot several times outside his car. The gunmen fled the scene in a blue pickup. Police responded to a 911 call. Medics arrived at the scene and transported Cali to Staten Island University North, where he was pronounced dead. No name or description of the killer was provided by police, if they have. Federal prosecutors have described Cali as a top leader of New York’s notorious Gambino crime family. He became the notorious crime family’s acting boss in 2015, replacing then 68-year-old Domenico Cefalu. Cali was a native of Sicily, and his wife is the niece of Gambino capo John Gambino. Cali was considered a unifying figure in the family, credited with recruiting new immigrant gangsters from Italy and focusing on the heroin and Oxycontin trades.
Cali’s only criminal conviction came from an extortion charge in 2008 for trying to shake down a trucker; he spent 16 months in prison. The Gambino Family was once among the most powerful criminal organizations in the United States, but federal prosecutions in the 1980s and 1990s sent its top leaders to prison. Cali is the highest-ranking organized crime figure to be murdered in New York City since 1985.