Though his family denied it, Eugene Smith was said to be a member of one of the lower Eastside gangs. His record showed that he was arrested twice in 1909 for assault and robbery and again in 1910 for the same. He also worked as a bartender.
On this date in 1913 Smith was on his way to a ball being held by the Italian Democratic Club of Tammany Hall when he stopped to talk to some friends at the corner of Park Row and New Chambers Streets. After he finished his conversation he walked down to the next corner not realizing that the four men he just saw step into a door way were there to kill him.
As Smith passed the building one of the four, Michael Sullivan, age twenty-seven, fired a bullet that entered Eugene’s left temple and exited at the base of his skull. The gangster pitched forward dead and Sullivan and his amigos jumped over the dead man and ran away.
The murder most likely would have gone unsolved, police assumed that Smith was involved with a gang of bandits currently ripping off Cigar stores and bumped off by said bandits, but Sullivan, wracked with guilt, turned himself in the next day after confessing to a priest. He told authorities that it was a case of self-defense saying that Smith was out to get him and if he didn’t strike first Smith would surely have killed him