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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Shoulda stayed in the Bronx Lefty

Though only 26 years old at the time of his death on this date in 1925, "Lefty" Kanter was a veteran of Gangland. He had sold drugs and committed a number of robberies one of which resulted in his being sent to the Elmira reformatory on May 4, 1915. "Lefty" was also a former member of the Johnny Spanish gang until it's name sake was killed by "Kid" Dropper in 1919. In 1921 he was picked up for the murder of Hymie Kellerman, a member of Kid Dropper's gang who may have played a part in the murder of Spanish, but was released.
At the time of his death Kanter had been living in the Bronx and had been keeping away from the old neighborhood but for some reason he began revisiting his old haunts. On the last of these visits he was seen walking through Forsythe Street nervously smoking a cigarette and glancing side to side with his hands in his pockets. He stopped in front of a building that was used as a musicians lodge and listened to the music for a moment before continuing along. When he was in front of 79 Forsythe St. two men approached him and they began to talk. After a moment an argument broke out and Kanter stepped back just as a woman came up and said something to one of the men "Lefty" had been speaking with. That man, who had a gun up his coat sleeve, stepped forward and placed the gun against Kanter's chest and fired. "Lefty" staggered but before he dropped the gunman fired again hitting him in the neck. In the short time it had taken the police to arrive "Lefty" was dead. All the cops knew him on sight and felt that he was murdered in revenge for the death of Hymie Kellerman.

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