Suspect in murder of reputed Gambino boss wanted to date his niece: Source
WPIX / Law enforcement sources
Anthony Comello

By Mary Murphy, WPIX

New York CITY (WPIX) -- He left his fingerprints on the license plate and maybe wore his heart on his sleeve.

A law enforcement source told PIX11 News on Saturday that Anthony Comello, the 24-year-old suspect in the gangland-style murder of reputed Gambino crime boss Francesco “Frank” Cali, wanted to date one of Cali’s nieces.

Comello was allegedly upset by Cali’s family standing in the way of that.

Comello, of Eltingville, Staten Island, is accused of pumping ten bullets into Cali Wednesday night, after allegedly smashing into Cali’s Cadillac SUV with a blue pickup truck and exchanging tense words with the alleged godfather outside Cali’s stately Todt Hill home.

It was the first execution of a mob boss in New York City in more than 30 years.

Gambino godfather Paul Castellano was ambushed outside Sparks Steakhouse in December 1985, paving the way for John Gotti to ascend the organized crime ladder to the position of dapper don.

Cali allegedly had strong ties to the Sicilian mob.

Surveillance footage showed Cali’s shooter handing the 53-year-old crime boss the damaged license plate from his SUV and then firing on Cali. When Cali tried to hide behind his vehicle, Comello allegedly ran him over.

Comello was being held Saturday at the Ocean County Jail in New Jersey, after being picked up in the early hours of Saturday by federal marshals at a house in Brick.

Comello’s fingerprints were found on Cali’s license plate, sources said.

Sources said a murder warrant is expected to be drawn up by the Richmond County District Attorney’s office in Staten Island, and Comello will likely be transported to New York after an extradition hearing is held in New Jersey.

Comello was initially speaking to investigators but then retained a lawyer and stopped talking, officials said.

“This was not a random act,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said Saturday during a press conference announcing the arrest.

MORE: Suspect in murder of reputed Gambino boss wanted to date his niece: Source - WPIX