The New York Post reported that Cali had increased the Gambino family's involvement in drug trafficking, particularly in opioids.
Shea said there has been a slight uptick in alleged mob-related violence in NY within the past year. News accounts since 2015 said he had ascended to the top spot. They also ran over him with a truck in what the New York Daily News called "a gory hit".
Unlike the well-dressed Gotti, Cali kept a low profile.
Gambino family mobster Francesco "Frank" Cali has been murdered in what local media say is the first major NY gang killing in more than 30 years.
He began ascending within the ranks under capo John D'Amico, who went by Jackie and became the family's acting boss in 2005 - after which Cali became an acting captain, according to court documents.
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Castellano, the Gambino family head at that time, was shot in the street on Manhattan's East Side while on trial for conspiracy to commit murder, among other charges.
Cali becomes the first Mafia boss murdered in NY since Paul Castellano was gunned down outside Sparks steakhouse in Midtown in 1985. "So, if the theory of Gene Gotti stepping forward and being angry enough to take this kind of action, he couldn't take it without believing that the majority of the captains in his own family were supportive of it". "Very surprising, but I guess old habits die hard".
Police confirmed the identity of Cali, who was pronounced dead at Staten Island University Hospital. In October, reputed Bonanno associate Sylvester Zottola was fatally shot while waiting for a cup of coffee at a McDonald's drive-thru in the Bronx.
Cali had been considered a unifying figure in the years after then-Gambino boss John Gotti, "Dapper Don", was convicted of murder and racketeering in 1992 and sent to prison for life, CNN affiliate WPIX reported. He was sentenced to 16 months behind bars and was released in 2009. At a 2008 bail, a prosecutor said Cali was seen "as a man of influence and power by organised crime members in Italy".