Reputed Gambino crime boss shot and killed outside NY home

The reputed boss of New York's Gambino crime family, Francesco "Frank" Cali, was shot dead outside his NY home, police said.

Police responded to a 911 call Wednesday night of an assault in front of the home in the NY borough of Staten Island.

Police added he was taken to Staten Island University North hospital, where he was pronounced dead. New York City police had made no arrests as of 8 a.m. Thursday, the AP reports.

U.S. media reported the 53-year-old's death marked the first murder of a NY mob boss in 34 years, since the death of Paul Castellano - another Gambino family boss - by order of John Gotti.

Unlike the well-dressed Gotti of the late 80s and early 90s, Cali kept a low profile. In 1985, Paul Castellano was shot dead as he arrived at Sparks Steakhouse in Manhattan - a killing organized by Gotti, authorities said.

Federal prosecutors had previously referred to Cali as the underboss of the Gambino organization, and press reports suggest he had risen to the top of the organization in recent years.

The Gambino family was once among the most powerful criminal organisations in the U.S., but federal prosecutions in the 1980s and 1990s sent Gotti and other top leaders to prison, diminishing its reach.

Authorities alleged Cali and others arranged, through force and threat of force, to receive cash payments from someone who had worked on the project.

Cali had served 16 months in prison following a 2008 extortion conviction.

Vanessa Coleman