Suspect arrested in shooting death of reputed New York mafia boss

Evarado Alatorre
Marcha 17, 2019

Police apprehended Anthony Comello in New Jersey on Saturday and expect to charge him with murdering Cali, the New York Police Department's Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea told a news conference. "Was the person paid to do it?"

Surveillance video of the killing showed a man, allegedly Comello, crash his vehicle into Cali's parked SUV, drawing Cali outside in what might have been a ploy to lure him out of the house, Shea said. Shea said Cali was shot 10 times.

The suspect "is now being held in jail in New Jersey pending court appearances, where we anticipate we will have him returned to Staten Island to face murder charges for the death of Francesco Cali, which occurred on this past Wednesday evening", Shea said.

The truck involved in the encounter has since been recovered, though the murder weapon has not, according to the police official.

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Asked about Comello's arrest record, Shea said he "crossed paths in some limited circumstances with the NYPD" including getting a parking ticket on Staten Island the day Cali was killed. No other details about the arrest were immediately available Saturday afternoon.

The Gambino family was once among the most powerful criminal organizations in the USA, but federal prosecutions in the 1980s and 1990s sent its top leaders to prison and diminished its reach. News accounts since 2015 said he had ascended to the top spot.

His only mob-related criminal conviction came a decade ago, when Cali pleaded guilty in an extortion conspiracy involving a failed attempt to build a NASCAR track on Staten Island.

It was the first assassination of a New York City mob boss since an upstart John Gotti had Gambino boss Paul Castellano whacked outside Sparks Steak House in 1985.

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