Arrest of Francis 'Two Gun' Crowley

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Combination - 4, 1 on the spot, 3 left

In 1930 there was a wee bit of a gang warfare going on in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn between the established hoodlumism of the Shapiro brothers, Meyer and Irving, and the upstarts Abe Reles, Buggsy Goldstein, Harry "Pittsburgh Phil" Strauss and the rest of their click which included their counterparts of Ocean Hill (the two gangs united under the moniker of the Combination) who would join the war as allies against the Shapiros.

There were shootings on both sides but on this date back in 1930 it was the Combination that took the fatality when Reles, Goldstein, two other guys named George DeFeo and Joe Ambrosia stopped into a candy store to pick up the profits of a slot machine.

While the quartet was in the store a Shapiro man crept up to their car and slit the rear driver's side tire. When the hoodlums reappeared Reles began to change the tire while his associates loitered about. Moments later a car drove by and a Thompson machine-gun began to spit a fiery death as the pulps might say. All four gangsters took a dose of lead but it was DeFeo who got the worst of it with bullets to the heart and head. Reles, Goldstein and Ambrosia lived to fight another day but DeFeo was done.

The full story on the Shapiro/Combination's battle for Brownsville can be found in Gangster City.