On this date in the year that Batman himself, Adam West, was born, Salvatore D’Aquila, said by his family to be a cheese importer, was at his doctor’s office in the East Village. D’Aquila and his wife had been visiting the doctor every day at the same time because of some heart disease and although he was cured his wife still needed treatment. On this trip the fifty-year old gangster drove down from his house in the Bronx, with four of his six children in addition to his wife.
Once at the doctor’s office he walked his wife and kids inside and then returned to the street because something was wrong with his car and he wanted to inspect the engine. According to a witness, D’Aquila was looking under his hood when three men approached him. The quartet conversed for a number of minutes when it escalated into an argument. Suddenly the three men each drew a pistol and fired a total of nine shots into the gangster killing him.
Seeing that he owned three cars as well as an “elaborately furnished” home in the Bronx the police felt he was surely involved in some illegal activity but couldn’t figure out what. They knew for certain that he had been arrested in 1906 for being a confidence man and again in 1909 for being a suspect but was discharged each time and even though the police could find no record for it they believed that he had been arrested in 1915 as well.
Little did police know at the time but Salvatore D’Aquila was actually the patriarch of what would one day become known as the Gambino crime family. Exactly why he was killed is unknown but since he was the head of the family and was replaced by Alfred Mineo, a Masseria loyalist, the hit was probably ordered by Joe “the Boss” Masseria. The reasons for the killing can be guessed at but may be some how related to the murder of Frankie Uale from the previous July. Up until 1926 D’Aquila lived in the Bath Beach section of Brooklyn, which was also Uale’s baliwick.