How Did Frank Cali Die? New Details About The Gambino Boss Who Was Found Dead Outside His Home

He was 53.

How Did Frank Cali Die? New Details About The Gambino Boss Who Was Found Dead Outside His Home getty

Francesco "Franky Boy" Cali is dead. 

The infamous Gambino boss was found dead outside his home in Staten Island on March 13 around 9:15 p.m. His death is what police are calling the first hit on an NYC Mafia don in over 30 years.

No arrests have been made in the mobster's murder yet, and police say the investigation is ongoing. The last Mafia boss hit was the assassination of "boss of all bosses" Paul Castellano on Dec. 16, 1985, by "Dapper don" John Gotti. His murder made Gotti the reigning ruler of the New York Mafia circle after he quickly took Castellano's title of Gambino crime boss. 


So how did Frank Cali die? Here's everything we know about this crime boss' murder. 

RELATED: How Did Frank Cali Die? New Details About The Gambino Boss Who Was Found Dead Outside His Home

1. He was shot to death.

According to police reports, Cali was shot 16 times in the torso before he was run over by a blue pickup truck. His family was inside when they heard the gunshots — including his children — and ran outside. One of his family members reportedly collapsed next to Cali's body and cried "Papa! Papa!"


"Why doesn't the ambulance come?" another woman screamed into her phone. "He's not breathing!"

The mobster was taken to Staten Island University North Hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

One witness told New York Daily News that there were "six shots and then there were three more."

“The man was on the ground face-up. His head was by his SUV, and the truck was open."

2. The manner of the shooting broke the mafia's code of honor. 

One source told the New York Post that killing Cali in his own neighborhood and outside his home where his family was just a few feet away breaks the mafia's code of honor. 


“Even Gotti had more respect… he did it out in Manhattan,” the source said, referring to how Castellano's assassination happened outside Sparks Steak House in Manhattan.

3. Police are looking into the possibility it was a hit. 

While everyone on the internet is speculating that Cali's death was a mafia-related hit, police have yet to confirm that. The police — along with the FBI — is currently investigating if his death was planned and approved by one the five Mafia families living in New York, or if it was done by a person outside the mobster's circle.

“I just heard the pow-pow-pow-pow-pow,” said Salvatore, one of Cali's neighbors. “You never know who your neighbors are.”


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4. He was lured out of his home by a staged car crash.

After doing a search of Cali's home, police found video evidence that showed the blue pick-up truck backing into his Cadillac Escalade. 

It shows Cali, who was in the house with his family, go outside and have a conversation with the man police believe to be the suspect in his murder. After a minute of talking, the suspect hands Cali his license plate back after his truck detached it in the staged crash.


When Cali turns around to put the plate in the trunk of his Escalade, the suspect takes out a 9mm handgun and fires. The video evidence contradicts earlier reports that he was run over by the truck.

5. Police gave a description of the suspect.

During a press conference on Thursday, police described the suspect to be between 25-40 years old. They also believe that the truck he was driving has significant damage.

“It remains a very active homicide investigation at this point,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said during the conference. He added that the accident was "quite possibly" done with the intention of getting Cali to come outside.


Cali was the son of Sicilian parents who grew up in Brooklyn and quickly climbed the Gambino family ranks, becoming a capo before he was 40. He's described by investigators as an "ambassador" to Sicilian mobsters due to his deep mob ties in Italy.

Emily Blackwood is a writer and editor living in California. She covers all things news, pop culture and true crime.