Gotti took over the crime organization; he died of cancer, in prison, in 2002.
The reputed boss of the US Gambino crime family was shot to death in front of his NY home by a gunman who may have staged a auto accident to lure him outside, dying a virtual unknown compared with his swaggering 1980s-era predecessor, John Gotti.
Cali was the first NY crime family boss shot since 1985, when Paul Castellano, who owned a mansion on Todt Hill, was executed as he arrived at Sparks Steakhouse in Manhattan.
Business Insider reported in 2013 that Cali had reportedly turned down an offer to head the crime family. Investigators haven't made any arrests in the hours that have passed but insists the case remains an open book until they publicly state otherwise.
"There were like six shots, and then there were three more", one witness told the Daily News.
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Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn had referred to Cali in court filings in recent years as the underboss of the Gambino organization, related through marriage to the Inzerillo clan in the Sicilian Mafia, according to The Associated Press.
Cali lived in the Todt Hill section of Staten Island, on a leafy street near the private Richmond County Country Club golf course - and not far from where Castellano lived in a mansion when he ran the Gambino family.
"It takes a certain type of evil to murder a friend in their own home, and then console the grieving relatives", said Federal Bureau of Investigation assistant director in charge William Sweeney.
Castellano was killed on Gotti's orders, in what was seen to be a major break from Mafia protocol, which forbade the unsanctioned murder of a family head. He was arrested in 2008 as part of a sweeping indictment by the Justice Department against organized crime but has mostly kept a low profile since. "He's not breathing!" the witness told the Daily News. He died at the Duke University Medical Center last Thursday. Sylvester Zottola, 71, reportedly of the Bonanno crime family, was gunned down at a McDonald's drive thru in the Bronx last October, according to WABC. But at the age of 89 - roughly five years after he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for his role in 11 murders, Bulger was found dead in 2018 a West Virginia prison.
Cali was first reported to be in charge of the Gambino family in 2015.