NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali was shot dead outside his home in the exclusive Todt Hill section of Staten Island Wednesday night by a young man who was romantically interested in the reputed Gambino crime boss’ niece, police sources tell CBS2.
Anthony Comello, 24, of Staten Island was taken into police custody at his family’s home in Brick, New Jersey early Saturday.
A joint task force from the NYPD and U.S. Marshals Service picked Comello up after his fingerprints were found on Cali’s car at the crime scene, police said.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea told reporters Saturday afternoon that the suspect was being held in New Jersey until he can be brought back to New York, where he’ll likely face murder charges.
The incident began Wednesday night when a blue pickup truck backed up and hit Cali’s SUV, which was parked outside his house as his wife and children were inside. The crash may have been a setup, according to investigators.
Cali, a member of the Gambino crime family’s “ruling council,” then came out of the house and spoke with the driver of the truck. About a minute after the conversation started, police say the gunman opened fire a dozen times, striking Cali ten times.
The 53-year-old was rushed to Staten Island University Hospital North, where he was later pronounced dead.
Sources tell CBS2 the suspect and Cali were involved in a spat over latter’s niece, who sources say is from Brooklyn and would sometimes stay at Comello’s home on Staten Island. The sources say Cali didn’t want his niece, who is attending college, to spend time with Comello, who has worked in construction.
“While we believe we have the shooter in custody for this incident, the investigation at this point is far from over,” Shea said, adding police have recovered the truck but have not recovered the gun used in the murder.
Crime scene investigators discovered a stash of weapons while searching Comello’s Staten Island home on Saturday, sources say.
When asked about Comello’s background, 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.
Comello claimed he was high on marijuana and was acting in self defense because Cali had a gun, but sources say police have so far found no evidence to confirm that claim.
Sources say investigators have all but ruled out a mob-related assassination.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)