Frank Shaeffer (also known as Grey) and Dave Bacharach were standing near a Westside bar at 2:00am on this date back in 1934 when a taxi-cab brimming with gunmen pulled up and opened fire. Frank and Burt, I mean Dave, took off running. The cab followed them and the gunmen continued shooting causing bystanders to dive to the ground or jump into doorways for cover. After a brief chase Frank pitched forward on the sidewalk and lay still while Burt, I mean Dave, kept running. With Shaeffer down the taxi took off and disappeared into the Broadway traffic.
When the coast was clear people came out of their hiding spots and crowds began to pour out of the nearby restaurants, nightclubs and other buildings. They gathered around Shaeffer and rolled him over. It appeared to them that he fell down and cut his head and was unconscious. An ambulance was called and the doctor who arrived with it informed them that what they thought was a cut was actually a bullet wound and that the man was in fact dead. An examination showed that he had also been hit under the left armpit.
Dave, I mean Bur-, I mean Dave took a superficial wound to the chest and walked to the hospital for treatment. The police were notified and took the wounded man into custody and at first he said that he was a Bronx real estate man and he didn't even know that he’d been shot until he undid his coat to get a nickel for a newspaper and found blood. After more questioning however, he broke down, identified himself then clammed up.
What Shaeffer was involved with at the end is unknown but when killed he was “shabbily dressed” and only had a few dollars on him. He had a record of fourteen arrests and five convictions and was known to the police as a forger and mail thief who in 1921 was sentenced to the Atlanta Penitentiary. In 1923 he gained a bit of notoriety when he managed to escape from there with the infamous robber Gerald Chapman. His freedom, however was short lived as he was captured a short time later.
The story of Frank Schaeffer’s escape from the Atlanta big house with Gerald Chapman is included in my next book Bad Seeds in the Big Apple: Bandits, Killers & Chaos in New York City 1920-1940 which should be released this summer.