Meet Kiki

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Gotchya!

John Lewis, known to his Lower East Side contemporaries as Spanish Louis, was walking along Second Avenue early on this date in 1910. As he was making his way somebody came up and said a "friend" wanted to see him around the corner. Louis made the turn and walked a couple yards up the block when, April Fools!!!, the "friend" turned out to be three rival gangsters hired to kill him. Louis caught on to the joke at the last moment because he managed to draw his gun before a bullet pierced his head. Ah, those funny gangsters.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Out Like A Lion

Thirty-seven year old Louis Greenberg had a long police record and was known as a bookie. On this date in 1924 he was hanging out in an East Village pool hall when somebody outside called for him. He and his friend, Max Kanowitz, proprietor of said pool hall, went outside to see what was what. Across the street stood a taxi. Two men were inside the cab and two men were standing on the running board; All opened fire on the duo. Greenberg dropped dead with a bullet in the head and Kanowitz dropped with a couple of wounds and died en-route to the hospital. Police felt that the killers had intended on just getting Greenberg and that it was Kanowitz's bad luck for following him outside. The only motive the cops could come up with was that it was either a bootlegging feud or some more warring between the "Little Augie" gang and the remnants of "Kid Dropper's" gang.
 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Elmer's Tune

Called a "card sharp and petty racketeer" by police, Forty-three year old Elmer Johnson was also a bandit and it was his part in a speakeasy robbery that cost him his life on this date in 1933. Johnson had been rushed to the hospital at 2:00am with five bullet wounds in his back after being shot down on the street. Since he was just a petty racketeer, Elmer did not feel bound by the unwritten rules of the underworld and broke the first gangster commandment, Though Shalt Not Squeal, and named his attackers. They were Ernest Snyder and Carl Christianson. A squad car was sent out and the two men were quickly apprehended and brought to the hospital where Johnson identified Snyder as the actual shooter before dying. Snyder of course remained mum on the issue but Christianson, impressed with Elmer's singing ability, let go with an aria of his own entitled I Saw Snyder Shooting Santa Claus Elmer Cause (he participated in speakeasy robbery last night).

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Pulpy Goodness

"Any last request before we pull the switch Muggsy?"

"I'd like a blonde with a tommy gun and a crooked cop with a revolver and a knife. That about does it...oh and, if it's not asking too much, a gat for myself."

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sam I Was

On this date in 1927 Sam Raplansky, a thirty-year old member of a gang called the Madison Street Boys, was hanging out at the mob's HQ, the Madison Street Boys club, until about 10:00 pm when he left for a while. At around midnight Sam returned to the clubhouse, which was crowded with various club members including his brother Harry. While in the hallway somebody came up to Sam and shot him in the face twice and once in the body.  Rushing into the hallway, Harry and other gang members found Sam and carried him outside to a cab for a rushed trip to the hospital. All was for naught however as Samuel had been killed instantly.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Fat lady sings for the Fats

The day after Frank Devlin's body was discovered in 1929 [see yesterday's entry] Thomas Walsh, another portly New York gangster, was knocked off in Coral Gables, Florida. Besides girth, "Fatty" or "Fats" as he was also called, had another thing in common with Devlin, both men had ties to Arnold Rothstein.

Walsh, who was thirty-three at the time of his death, was a former body guard of Rothstein's who moved to Florida a few weeks after the latter's death. In the Sunshine State Walsh and another New York gangster, Arthur "Chick" Clark, owned a piece of a gambling room ran out of the Biltmore Hotel. In addition to an anonymous partner two other men, K.L. Gaylord and Eddie Wilson were also involved in the enterprise.

At 12:20 a.m., as Walsh and Clark were seated amongst the gamblers watching the nights play, partner Eddie Wilson appeared in the doorway brandishing a pistol. Once he sighted Walsh he raised the gun and fired five times. Two of the bullets hit the stout gangster in the abdomen and one nicked Clark in the arm. Walsh tried to get on his feet but fell forward on his face dead. The first reaction of the press and the police was to say that the killing was some how related to the Rothstein murder but as the investigation went on it was determined that Eddie Wilson was unhappy with Walsh because the latter was trying to shake down Wilson's share in the gambling enterprise.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Frankie goes to Whitehouse

On this date back in 1929 a man was walking in a field near what was known as the Somerville-Clinton Highway in Whitehouse, New Jersey when he saw what he thought to be a pile of clothes near a clump of pine trees. [Long time readers of DGIS have probably already figured out what it was]. Investigating, he made the grisly discovery that it was a frozen DGIS who had been shot in the left temple three times.

Police identified the dead man as Frank "Blubber" Devlin and figured that he had been "taken for a ride" roughly forty-eight hours earlier. The condition of his pants and coat showed that he had been dumped from a car and dragged to his resting spot by the pine trees.

"Legs" Diamond was credited with killing Devlin although it was never proved. Revenge was given as the reason because Devlin, supposedly on orders from Arnold Rothstein, was sent to Denver, Colorado with fellow gangsters Eugene Moran and Joe Piteo, to kill Legs' brother Eddie who was convalescing there with a case of tuberculosis. [Moran and Piteo were definitely on the hit team. There was a third man but as of yet he hasn't been positively identified]

Devlin had an extensive record dating back to the September 6,1921 murder of Walter Vogel with whom he shot it out with at the Transfer saloon. Since that time police said that he had been involved with Owney Madden's gang as well as keeping busy as a robber. When he left his home for the last time on February 6, he had three indictments against him from the previous year, one for assault and robbery, one for robbery  and one  for grand larceny. Where he was going that February 6, is unknown but after he said good-bye to his mother and brother he went to the bank, withdrew $1000 and disappeared.