(NEW YORK) — The first mob boss murder in New York in 30 years may have nothing to do with the mob, multiple law enforcement sources told ABC News.
“We believe we have the shooter in custody,” said NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea at a press conference on Saturday where he named 24-year-old Anthony Comello as a suspect accused of the shooting death of Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali.
Comello, of Staten Island, with residences elsewhere, has not been formally arrested, but was taken into custody by police and the FBI’s organized crime squad in Brick, New Jersey. The police have secured an arrest warrant and the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office will be working on extraditing Comello to face the charges.
Comello has had “multiple discussions” with detectives since he was taken into custody 12 hours ago.
The alleged gunman made conflicting statements to police on Saturday, which has changed the motive to the fatal shooting.
Officials initially believed the killing was related to Cali’s alleged mob ties.
Sources now believe the suspect was dating one of the reputed mob boss’ female relatives and at some point Cali told the suspect to stop seeing her — sparking a conflict.
Comello has retained an attorney and the police’s questioning seized, Shea said.
Cali, who was allegedly the Gambino family boss, was gunned down in front of his Staten Island home on Wednesday night, reigniting focus on the mob for the first time in years.
Cali’s killing was captured on grainy surveillance video, which shows the suspect drive up to the home in a blue pickup truck, come to a stop, then suddenly reverse. The pickup truck then crashes into Cali’s parked Cadillac SUV, multiple police sources told ABC News.
The force of the impact knocked the license plates off the SUV, sources added.
Cali then came outside and talked to the shooter, police sources said. The two men shook hands, and then Cali turned his back to put the license plate inside the SUV.
Police are still investigating whether the accident in front of Cali’s house that preceded the shooting was a “ploy” to lure Cali outside.
That’s when the man pulled out a 9mm handgun and fired six bullets into Cali, police officials said.
Detectives discovered a fingerprint on Cali’s SUV and the suspect was tracked by his phone, sources said.
Shea confirmed forensic teams recovered fingerprints from Cali’s SUV.
The pickup truck eyewitnesses saw at the scene was with him when cops and FBI agents found him, sources said.
A witness told police he saw an individual run toward the driver’s side of the blue pickup truck while simultaneously keeping one hand near his waistband, a source told ABC News.
Comello, according to Shea, has “crossed paths with the NYPD in limited circumstances” through his driving record. “On the day of the incident his car received a parking summons,” Shea said.
The gun believed to have been using in the killing has not been found.
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