Leader of infamous Gambino crime family Francesco 'Franky Boy' Cali gunned down in New York

Police and fire crews responding to a report of shots fired in New York Credit: Joseph Ostapiuk/Staten Island Advance via AP

A man said by federal prosecutors to have been a top leader of New York’s notorious Gambino crime family has been shot and killed on Staten Island.

Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali, 53, was found with multiple gunshot wounds to his body at his home in the borough’s Todt Hill section.

Cali was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn had referred to Cali in court filings in recent years as the “underboss” of the Gambino organisation, related through marriage to the Inzerillo clan in the Sicilian Mafia.

Police respond to a report of shots fired in the Staten Island borough of New York Credit: Joseph Ostapiuk/Staten Island Advance via AP

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 only mob-related criminal conviction came a decade ago, when Cali pleaded guilty in an extortion conspiracy involving a failed attempt to build a Nascar track on Staten Island. He was sentenced to 16 months in federal prison and was released in 2009.

The last crime family boss to be shot in New York was Paul Castellano. The Gambino crime boss was assassinated outside Sparks Steakhouse in Manhattan in 1985.

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