There’s something about high-profile mob hits that’s almost thrilling to the general public. On March 13, 2019, Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali, the 53-year-old leader of the Gambino crime family was shot and killed in Staten Island, New York, in front of his home.
It was a stark reminder that although the heydays of mob hits may be behind us, these kinds of “hits” can (and do) still happen.
In light of recent events, we thought we’d bring you a list of 5 of the most famous mob murders in history.
1. Carmine Galante – 1979
Galante was known to have a psychopathic personality and led the Bonnano crime organization, one of the Five Families. The heads of New York’s other families were not happy with the way Galante conducted business and they finally decided he had to go.
On July 12, 1979, Galante was gunned down as he ate lunch on the patio of an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn. A photo of the gruesome crime scene showed Galante dead on the ground with his ever-present cigar dangling from his mouth.
2. Paul Castellano – 1985
70-year-old Castellano was the head of the Gambino crime family and his 1985 assassination outside a steak house in Manhattan signaled the rise of John Gotti, who organized the hit.
Many in the family were unhappy with the way Castellano ran the organization, so it was determined that he had to be taken out.
3. Albert Anastasia – 1957
Anastasia was one of the founding fathers of the American Mafia, and he also was the head of Murder, Inc., a ruthless gang of hired killers. He was the head of what became the Gambino crime family.
On the day of his death, Anastasia sat in his barber’s chair in Manhattan for a shave and a haircut and was shot down by two masked gunmen.
4. Bugsy Siegel – 1947
Siegel learned his trade on the mean streets of New York but later headed West to handle mob business in Las Vegas and California. Siegel was one of the original financiers of the casinos in Las Vegas.
Siegel promised his mob boss associates that their investments in Las Vegas would pay off, but the opening of the Flamingo Hotel was a flop and the writing was on the wall for Bugsy.
On June 20, 1947, Siegel was shot and killed through a window of his girlfriend’s house in Beverly Hills, California as he sat on her couch. The identity of the shooter or shooters has never been confirmed.
5. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre – 1929
This was probably the most famous mob hit of all time – on February 14, 1929, seven members of Bugs Moran’s North Side gang were gunned down in a garage in Chicago.
The man behind the deadly affair: none other than the legendary Al Capone, whose gangs had fought against Moran and other enemies for years to control of the Windy City’s booze trade.
The men who carried out the vicious hit were dressed as police officers, which allowed them to line the seven victims up against a wall, where they blindsided them with machine gun fire.