Arrest of Francis 'Two Gun' Crowley

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Eyes in the back of the head would have helped

Rosario Riggio was an ex-convict and racketeer who was paroled in May of 1934 after serving a ten year sentence in the Atlanta penitentiary for counterfeiting. Back in New York he opened a grocery store supposedly as a front for illegal activities.

Although they claimed he was a racketeer, police refused to say what racket he was involved in. His brother Joseph had been involved in the ice racket prior to being killed, possibly a victim in the Castellemmarese War, on March 19, 1930.

Police said that fearing for his life, Riggio, who also feared violating his parole, took to using twenty-six year old Alfred Seru as a "gun-toter". It was Seru's job to be near his boss and supply him with a gun should the need arise. On January 31, an adversary of Riggio's dropped into the grocery store and Seru fired on him but unfortunately killed a young woman who was in the store shopping and was then hauled off to jail leaving his boss defenseless.

On this day in 1935, Riggio went to a house down the block from his store supposedly to inspect some art he was thinking about buying. At about 4:00pm he left the premises and as he walked up to his car, two men, both carrying pistols, walked up behind him and fired simultaneously. Hit three times in the right side of the head and once in the neck, Riggio managed to stumble into his car before falling over the steering wheel dead.

One explanation for Riggio's murder is that it was an insurance hit. Perhaps the killers of his brother Joseph feared that he might make an attempt at retribution and so knocked him off just in case.

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