Frank Cali (otherwise known as "Franky Boy") was shot and killed on Wednesday night outside his home on Staten Island.
The reputed boss of the US Gambino crime family was shot to death in front of his NY home by a gunman who may have staged a auto accident to lure him outside, dying a virtual unknown compared with his swaggering 1980s-era predecessor, John Gotti.
Cali, 53, was fatally shot multiple times to his torso shortly after 9pm local time in front of his home, police said.
The murder reminded Mob fans of the last NY "hit" on a Mafia boss, almost 40 years ago.
It is believed he only had one criminal conviction, for conspiring to extort money in 2008 for which he served 16 months in prison.
It's unclear whether Cali's murder was carried out by a rogue actor or approved by other members of the Italian American mafia in New York City. They remain powerful players in the black market, however, in loan sharking, gambling, prostitution and the drug trade, according to law enforcement.
According to the New York Daily News, a family member of Cali's called 911, telling a dispatcher that the gunman's getaway vehicle ran him over.
Rising Gambino family mobster John Gotti allegedly ordered the hit on Castellano.
The U.S. Probation Department referenced some of those ties to "high-ranking" Gambino crime family members when it petitioned the court in 2009 to modify the conditions of Cali's supervised release.
The Gambino Family was once among the most powerful criminal organizations in the US, but federal prosecutions in the 1980s and 1990s sent its top leaders to prison and diminished its reach.
Castellano's murder came on the heels of a wave of high-profile New York Mob assassinations in the 1970s.
Detective Shea said that Cali's Cadillac SUV, which was parked outside the home, was struck resulting in him rushing outside to investigate.
The reputed leader of the Gambino crime family - once headed by infamous mobster John Gotti - was gunned down outside his home late Wednesday.
He was shot on a tree-lined street in one of New York City's less-glamorous outer boroughs, a short walk from ball fields, a country club and a day camp.
Last October, Bonanno crime family associate Sylvester Zottola, 71, was gunned down at a Bronx McDonald's drive-thru as he waited for a coffee.
Last week, Carmine Persico, the 85-year-old former boss of the Colombo organisation, died after serving 33 years of a 139-year prison sentence.