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Thursday, April 28, 2016

And the winner is...neither

Was on this date in 1927, it was, when Timothy Looman (a citizen of no-goodness) was walking on the lower West side. Approaching from the opposite direction was Thomas O’Brien, (another citizen of non-upwardness). When the two men were about thirty feet away from each other, each pulled out a roscoe and started blasting away at each other in true old west fashion.

Witness’s said up to thirty shots were fired, (but who can trust them, really?) and then Looman collapsed on the corner (not unlike Rocky Raccoon who collapsed "in" the corner) but before dropping dead he managed to hit O'Brien. Severely wounded, O’Brien tried to run away but only got as far as the St. Bernard’s Roman Catholic Church, before crumpling to the sidewalk in true Hollywood fashion. A Monsignor and a priest (who bore striking resemblances to Pat O'Brien and Bing Crosby were the first ones to reach O’Brien and after viewing his wounds, administered the last rights, which was good cause he died the following day.

Monday, April 11, 2016

All in a Days Work

One hundred and two years ago today, at 5:30p.m., officer Hughes was standing on the corner of 116th and First Ave.when a woman came up to him and said a gang had just stolen her purse. Hughes followed her back and she identified one of the gang -Louis Pietro- as one of those who had robbed her so Hughes grabbed him.

Within a couple of moments Pietro's confederates started pelting Hughes with rocks and anything else that could be used for a missile. Pietro's gang mates then attacked the officer and, taking his nightstick,  freed their pal who took off running into a six story tenement.

Hughes pulled away from the mob and chased Pietro up the six flights to the roof and caught him just as he was trying to jump onto a fire escape. A good old fashioned Hollywood type brawl ensued as cop and robber duked it out on the roof. Each one getting the better of the other. After a bit Hughes finally subdued Pietro and dragged him down the six flights of stairs. Back on the street Pietro's boys once again started to pelt the officer with bricks & whatnot. (whatnots really hurt by the way)

Having enough Hughes pushed Pietro up against the wall, pulled out his pistol and held the other gang members at bay. Fortunately during the melee somebody in the neighborhood called the police and soon the gong of a paddy wagon could be heard approaching.

One of the gang members slipped out of the crowd and pushed the stolen purse back into the original owner's hands and everyone took off, save Pietro who was taken to the station.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Harlem Shuffle

On this date in 1931, Andrew D'Amato,the twenty-four year old proprietor of The Bible Club, a Harlem speakeasy, was put on the spot.
Three bullets had been fired into his skull and then a tablecloth was wrapped around his head to prevent a bloody mess. His body was then loaded into a car, driven outside of the city and tossed out near Mt. Vernon where a passing milkman found him early in the morning.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Clang clang clang went the trolley, bang bang bang went the gun

Ninety-nine years ago today, Mafia man Joseph "Joe Chuck" Nazzaro was lured to Yonkers by his "friends" under the pretext of killing one of their own. This was a lie however because Navarro was the one on the spot. The four men were seen walking down the street at 10:00pm when the supposed victim complained of a stomach ache and fell behind. When he was in the rear he pulled out a pistol and fired into Nazzaro's back. The remaining gangsters took out their guns and fired into the doomed hoodlum as well. In an attempt to obliterate his identity the killers dragged the dead man onto some street car tracks. A car came along and ran Nazzaro over and dragged him for about a hundred feet. Although he was badly mangled (it took a crew about a half hour to remove "Joe Chuck" from the front of the car) his finger prints were still intact and he was properly indentified.

For more on Joe Chuck and his pals check out Gangster City

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Dead Baron

On March 14, 1930 twenty-nine year old William "Baron" Simpson was added to the list of murder victims in Brooklyn's White Hand* territory when his body was found in an alleyway leading from Furman Street to pier 16 on the East River. Someone had come up behind him and placed a .38 to the back of his head and pulled the trigger. Although the murder took place at around noon next to a tin can factory with two hundred employees that were on lunch break there were no witnesses.
"Baron" was the boss of a small group of dock workers and had a reputation as a fierce street fighter. According to his brother, "Whitie" Simpson, "Baron" had gotten into an argument with three men at a near by pier about an hour before the murder. The argument turned into a fistfight and "Baron" proceeded to savagely beat all three men until they ran away. Simpson was last seen, alone, turning into the alleyway in which he was found a short time later.
Even with the story about the fight with the three men, police stated that they believed that Simpson was another in the long line of Irish thugs murdered in the unending battle for leadership of the dock rackets.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Mad Men

On this date in 1927 Sam Raplansky, a thirty-year old member of the Madison Street Boys, was hanging out at the mobs HQ, the Madison Street Boys club. At about 10:00 p.m. he left for a while but returned around midnight.

At that time the club was crowded with various gang 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.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Jersey Devlin

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 from with 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.