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of Jonathan Dienst and Corky Siemaszko
A New York mob could have been lured to death by a hit man who deliberately backed off in the gangster's SUV with a van, police said.
Francesco "Franky Boy" Cali emerged from the safety of his home on Staten Island to see what was happening and was confronted by a man who fired him fatally six times, said New York police detective chief Dermot Shea.
"It appears with what we know at this point in time that was part of the plan," said Shea. "His car is involved in an accident with an individual who ends up shooting at him."
Shea said Cali's fatal shooting was captured by the security camera, but it's too much soon to say if the Gambino gangster, 53, was the victim of a crime.
"Needless to say, with the potential organized crime corner of this story, it is of utmost importance to the NYPD and the detective office," Shea said. "I think it's a little preliminary with motivation."
That said, Cali's past is a "focal point of the investigation," he said.
"Of course, we are exploring what his previous or current life has incident connections last night," he said. "It may also have nothing to do with it. We are in a very preliminary stage. We do not exclude anything from this side."
Cali was an underboss in the Gambino crime family, two senior sources of the forces of the order reported to NBC News. He was killed around 9:00 am Wednesday after his parked Cadillac SUV was hit.
"Get out of his house," said Shea of Cali. "There is a conversation with an individual in front of that residence. The individual pulls a weapon and shots were fired."
Cali was hit by six of the dozen shots fired with a 9mm pistol and tried to escape from the assassin by crawling under a vehicle, leading to erroneous reports that he had been run over, said Shea.
"Someone thought he had been hit, but he was probably trying to evade the blows of firearm going under a car, "he said, referring to a panicked call of 911 made by someone inside the Cali home.
Twelve casings were found and the police are looking for a blue or silver pickup truck that was seen behind closed doors away from the scene – as well as the suspected shooter, Shea said.
Cali's name appeared in the federal court records as the sub-item of the Gambino organization, as reported by the Associated Press.
Born in Sicily, Cali's wife is the niece or f Gambino head John Gambino, the New York Daily News reported. His brother Joseph and his brother-in-law Peter Inzerillo are reputed Gambino soldiers.
The Gambino family was headed for many years by John Gotti, known as "Dapper Don", who died in prison in 2002. Gotti's brother, Gene, was released from prison six months ago after serving 29 years of commercial heroin.