NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Investigators are poring over every lead in their investigation into the shooting death of a reputed Gambino mob boss.
Francesco Cali was gunned down in front his home on Staten Island on Wednesday night. It’s considered to be one of the biggest mob hits in decades.
Watch: NYPD News Conference On Killing Of Francesco Cali
Police have recovered video of the incident, but it is said to be grainy and shows a distant view of the shooting.
Authorities secured a second search warrant which allowed them to begin searching Cali’s home Thursday night. Investigators are hoping to find some clue in Cali’s computer, phone, or emails that will reveal if he was in contact with his killer before the shooting.
Sources tell CBS2 that investigators are also poring over license plate reader data collected in the area that night to see if they can track down the pickup. Red light and speed cameras are also being reviewed. MTA bus cameras in the area are also being checked.
The getaway vehicle has not yet been recovered.
The fact that there are limited ways to get on and off Staten Island is helpful in the investigation, sources said.
Investigators said it was around 9:17 p.m. on Wednesday when 53-year-old Cali was outside of his car in his driveway when the gunfire began.
The incident apparently began when a blue pickup truck backed up and hit Cali’s SUV, which was parked.
“You can see on video that that car belonging to the victim rocks significantly, so it took some force to do that,” Shea said.
The crash may have been a setup, according to investigators.
“It appears quite possible that that was part of a plan” to get Cali out of the house, Shea said. “Don’t read too far into that, it’s a little preliminary.”
Cali then came out of the house and spoke with the driver of the pickup. About a minute after the conversation started, the gunman – a 25-40 year-old man – opened fire.
Cali ran to the back of his SUV to try to elude the gunfire, Shea said.
“We do have a pickup truck that flees the scene and we’re very interested with that pickup truck and we’ll be putting out photos of that,” Shea said.
Cali’s wife and young children were reportedly inside their home when he was shot. The reputed mob boss was rushed to Staten Island University Hospital North, where he was later pronounced dead.
“We have executed a warrant at that residence. We have obtained video surveillance from that scene. We’re piecing together witness canvasses, extended video canvasses. There is reports of a car pulling away. That is accurate. Again, it’s a little preliminary to say that car is definitively tied to anything or that that’s the only car or that there weren’t additional people on foot. So this is a very early stage of this investigation and we have a lot of work to do,” Shea said.
Shea said what connection this may have to other suspected recent mob activity – such as the killing of a man at a drive-through at a Bronx McDonald’s – will all be part of the investigation.
Sources said since 2015 Cali, nicknamed “Franky Boy,” had been one of three members of the so-called “ruling council” of the Gambino crime family.
Before rising to the level of boss, Cali served a 16-month sentence in federal prison for extortion for a failed NASCAR racetrack project on Staten Island.
Cali was said to have kept a low profile while running a heroin and prescription drug operation.
“He was one of the most influential organized crime figures currently alive in the New York City metropolitan area,” said former FBI agent and organized crime expert David Shapiro. “I think Mr. Cali was worth more dead than alive. He posed a threat to someone.”
Police sources say cops are now looking into several theories, including the possibility that some Gambino family members disapproved of the family’s involvement in drugs, that a rogue member of the family had a personal beef with Cali and took him out, or that a rival organized crime group like the Albanians could be involved.
“We know there used to be a mob presence here,” neighbor Will Curitore said. “We thought this was one of the safer neighborhoods on Staten Island.”
“I guess unless you’re in the mafia,” Karen Curitore added.
Investigators added that since the only way to get off Staten island is by a bridge of ferry they’re hopeful that Friday’s electronic sweep of those transit records will provide police with a lead in the case.
Cali’s SUV was taken away by flatbed and under a cover. Police are hoping the gunman might have left fingerprints on the exterior of the vehicle.
The last crime family boss to be shot in New York City was Paul Castellano. The Gambino kingpin was assassinated outside Sparks Steakhouse in Manhattan in 1985.
The Gambino Family was once among the most powerful criminal organizations in the U.S., but federal prosecutions in the 1980s and 1990s sent its top leaders to prison and diminished its reach.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)