Officer Hughes was standing on the corner of 116th and First Ave. ninety-six years ago today at 5:30p.m. when a woman came up to him and said a gang had just stole her purse. Hughes followed her back and she identified one of the gang -Louis Pietro- as one of those who had robbed her and 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. Then Pietro's gangmates attacked the officer and took his nightstick and 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 side walk Pietro's boys once again started to pelt the officer with bricks & co.
Having enough Hughes pushed Pietro up against the wall and pulled out his pistol and held the other gang members at bay. Fortunately during the melee somebody in the neighborhood had 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.