John Annese , Thomas Tracy and Larry Mcshane
New York Daily News
A Staten Island man busted Saturday as the cold-blooded killer of a mob boss was locked up in a Jersey jail as sources suggested a personal vendetta ignited his murderous rage.
Anthony Camello, 24, was arrested down the Jersey Shore for the execution of reputed Gambino family boss Frank Cali outside his Staten Island home, said NYPD Chief of Detective Dermot Shea. The truck used to create a ruse that lure Cali into the line of fire was also recovered in Brick Township, N.J. — about 50 miles from the site of the fatal shooting.
The low-key Cali, who took over as head of the Gambino crime family in 2015, was shot 10 times and left to die behind the rear bumper of his Cadillac Escalade SUV.
A non-organized crime issue between the killer and Cali is an “angle that is being explored,” a high-ranking NYPD source told the Daily News. A separate source had earlier told the News that the killing “appears” to be unrelated to any Mafia feud.
But Shea declined to comment on what happened prior to the Wednesday night slaying in the Todt Hill section of Staten Island.
“Let me reiterate this (investigation) is far from over,” said Shea. “Was he acting alone? Was he acting for other people? Were others involved? What was the motive?
“I do not have all the answers for you.”
Camello was snatched up by the New York/New Jersey Regional Task Force three days after the mobster known as Franky Boy was murdered outside his Staten Island home, the sources said.
While the NYPD has an arrest warrant and believes Camello was the killer, authorities will need to extradite the shooter back to New York before he is officially charged in the murder, said Shea.
The suspect’s fingerprint was lifted from Cali’s car — possibly off the license plate of the mobster’s Cadillac Escalade SUV, a source told The News.
The Sicilian-born Cali, 53, was lured to his death when the killer staged a car crash, plowing a pickup truck into the SUV parked outside his house around 9:15 p.m. Wednesday night, cops said.
When Cali left his family at the dinner table to investigate, the truck driver jumped from the vehicle and opened fire — pumping 10 bullets into the doomed boss.
Video surveillance of the hit showed the man inside the truck coming out with his gun blazing, his muzzle fire clear in the clip as Cali dove desperately for cover beneath his Cadillac.
The hitman jumped back into the truck and sped off, with cops recovering a dozen shell casings outside Cali’s home.
The killing marked the city’s first murder of a sitting mob boss since the December 1985 hit on Gambino boss Paul (Big Paul) Castellano, who lived in the same Todt Hill neighborhood where Cali was targeted. Castellano and his driver were gunned down outside Sparks Steak House in Midtown as they arrived for a scheduled dinner with five fellow mobsters, including the one who set him up.
Cali rose quickly through the ranks of the Gambino family after arriving in New York, moving up to the rank of capo before the age of 40. He was bumped up to acting boss in 2015 after serving on a panel that led the once-mighty crime syndicate named for the late, legendary Mafioso Carlo Gambino.
Cali had a rap sheet with just a single arrest, serving 16 months in an extortion scheme before his release in April 2009. The Mafia was a Cali family affair: His wife is the niece of a Gambino capo, while his brother and brother-in-law are reputed Gambino soldiers.
With Rocco Parascandola
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