New York City detectives announced Saturday the arrest in Brick of a 24-year-old man in the slaying of reputed Gambino family boss Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali.
Officials with the NYPD identified the man as Anthony Comello, and said he was in custody in New Jersey pending extradition to Staten Island to face murder charges.
Comello was held Saturday in the Ocean County Jail on a murder count, according to authorities, who also confirmed the early Saturday arrest in Brick.
The U.S. Marshals Service made the arrest at a private home in a waterfront neighborhood on Barnegat Bay, where a heavy police presence remained Saturday night.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot F. Shea said Saturday that Comello had multiple residences, including one in Staten Island. He also said that Comello had “crossed paths” with New York police multiple times — including receiving a parking summons the day of the murder.
Cali, 53, died at a hospital after being shot multiple times in the torso in front of his home at 25 Hilltop Terrace in Staten Island. Shea said the suspect used a 9mm handgun.
Police found Cali wounded after receiving a 911 call reporting an assault in progress about 9:15 p.m. Wednesday.
Fingerprints were recovered from multiple locations at the scene, including Cali’s car, Shea said.
Anthony Comello, 24, was arrested in a major law enforcement operation in Brick Township, New Jersey, on Saturday morning. He is in custody in the Ocean County Jail pending extradition to New York to face murder charges in Staten Island.
Erik Larsen and Stacey Barchenger, Wochit
Police have released few details of how they identified Comello as a suspect and whether Cali’s death was related to organized crime. Shea said the shooting did not appear to be a random act.
“At this point our investigation will turn to (if there were) other parties involved in this, gathering future and additional evidence, and working on the motive for the particular crime,” Shea said.
“There are multiple, multiple angles that we are exploring,” Shea said at a news conference at police headquarters. “Was the person paid to do it? Were others conspiring to do this crime?”
“We are well aware of Mr. Cali’s past, that will be part of this investigation.”
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READ MORE: Frank Cali, reputed Gambino crime family boss, gunned down outside his Staten Island home
Federal prosecutors have referred to Cali in court filings as the underboss of the Gambino family, saying he was connected through marriage to the Inzerillo clan in the Sicilian Mafia.
Multiple press accounts since 2015 said Cali had ascended to the top spot in the gang, although he never faced a criminal charge saying so.
His death marks the first killing of a New York City boss in more than 30 years, according to reports. Former Gambino head Paul Castellano was famously killed in 1985 outside a midtown Manhattan steakhouse in a hit ordered by John Gotti, who seized control of the family.
Cali’s only mob-related criminal conviction came a decade ago, when he pleaded guilty in an extortion scheme involving a failed attempt to build a NASCAR track on Staten Island. He was sentenced to 16 months behind bars and was released in 2009.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Stacey Barchenger: @sbarchenger; firstname.lastname@example.org
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