Known as "The Clutching Hand" because of gnarled fingers on his paralyzed right mitt, Giuseppe Piraino was most likely a victim of the Castellemmarese War. Piraino came to America around 1911 after escaping from a prison in Palermo where he was sentenced to 25 years for an undisclosed offense.
Piraino lived in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn and by 1930 he was said to have been in charge of the Bay Ridge area's wholesale liquor traffic. A trade he inherited from Frankie Uale after the latter's death. Although they didn't say how they knew, the New York daily's said that Piraino was attending a gathering of bootleggers just prior to his death 78-years ago today. When the meeting broke up "The Clutching Hand" was walking down the south side of Sackett Street in Brooklyn, sporting a $2000 diamond stickpin and $1000 diamond pinky ring. As he crossed the street and approached no. 151 numerous shots rang out. Three bullets pierced his heart, two more slammed into his chest and a fifth and final came to rest in his thigh. The Brooklyn crime boss dropped to the gutter dead.
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