Eighty-two years ago today the body of twenty-nine year old William "Baron" Simpson was found in a Brooklyn alleyway leading from Furman Street to pier 16 on the East River. Someone had come up behind him and placed a .38 to the back of his head and pulled the trigger. Although the murder took place at around noon, next to a tin can factory with two hundred employees that were on lunch break there were no witnesses.
"Baron" was the boss of a small group of dock workers and had a reputation as a fierce street fighter. According to his brother, "Whitie" Simpson, "Baron" had gotten into an argument with three men at a near by pier about an hour before the murder. The argument turned into a fistfight and "Baron" proceeded to savagely beat all three men until they ran away. Simpson was last seen, alone, turning into the alleyway in which he was found a short time later.
Even with the story about the fight with the three men, police stated that they believed that Simpson was another in the long line of Irish thugs murdered in the unending battle for leadership of the dock rackets.