this day in crime history: october 23, 1935

On this date in 1935, Arthur “Dutch Schultz” Flegenheimer and three members of his crew were shot in the Palace Chophouse Restaurant in Newark, NJ. Word on the street was the hit on the Dutchman was ordered after he asked NYC mob chieftains for permission to kill prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey (he’s the guy who did NOT defeat Harry S. Truman in the 1948 Presidential election). But let’s face it, the Dutchman had a bunch of enemies, and they each had their own reasons for wanting him dead.

Schultz and his henchmen were taken to a hospital, where they all later died of their wounds. Schultz was reportedly worth about $7 million when he died, but no money was ever found. Rumor had it that Dutch and his bodyguard buried a waterproof safe somewhere in upstate NY.  I haven’t found it yet, but I’m still looking.

Further reading:

FBI History – Arthur Flegenheimer

GANGSTER CITY PROFILES – Dutch Schultz

J-Grit – Dutch Schultz – Jewish Gangster

Wikipedia – Dutch Schultz

this day in crime history: september 8, 1935

On the day in 1935, Senator Huey “The Kingfish” Long was shot in the Louisiana State Capitol.  He died two days later of complications from the wound.

Long was shot after a confrontation with Carl Weiss, a Baton Rouge doctor.  Weiss allegedly took exception to Long’s persecution of Weiss’s in-laws, who were Long opponents.  Weiss was shot multiple times by Long’s bodyguards and died at the scene.

The details of what actually happened aren’t clear, and several theories exist as to what went down.  The official story is that Weiss ambushed Long in the hallway of the Capitol and shot him.  But some people believe that Long was mistakenly shot by his bodyguards.  One theory has it that Weiss never even drew a gun, and that Long’s bodyguards overreacted, shooting Long and Weiss, then planting Weiss’s .32 automatic (which he usually kept in the glove compartment of his car) at the scene.

Thanks to a lack of modern forensics and a slipshod investigation, we’ll probably never know what really happened that night.

Further reading:

HueyLong.comAssassination

Wikipedia – Huey Long

this day in crime history: february 15, 1936

gutterball

On this date in 1936, former Chicago Outfit trigger man “Machine Gun” Jack McGurn was gunned down in a Chicago bowling alley.

McGurn was born Vincenzo Antonio Gibaldi in 1902 in Sicily. He changed his name as a teenager while trying to make it as a boxer. McGurn would later go to work for Chicago mob boss Al Capone. He was believed to be the mastermind of the 1929 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, but the cops were unable to pin it on him when Louise Rolfe – dubbed “The Blonde Alibi” by the press – claimed that she and McGurn had spent the entire day together.

By 1936, McGurn had been cut loose by the Outfit. His notoriety had made him too hot for the low profile the Outfit was looking to maintain.

A day after the seventh anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, McGurn entered a bowling alley with two men. Another man later joined the trio. After his arrival, a commotion ensued that resulted in Jack being shot dead and the three men leaving the bowling alley together. A Valentine card was left behind bearing the following poem:

You’ve lost your job, you’ve lost your dough;
Your jewels and cars and handsome houses!
But things could still be worse you know…
At least you haven’t lost your trousers!

The murder was never solved. Was it payback from Bugs Moran, whose men were killed seven years earlier? Was it revenge by a relative of one of Jack’s victims? Or was it the Outfit, fearful that Jack’s increasingly loose lips might sink their ship?

Further reading:

My Al Capone Museum – Machine Gun Jack McGurn

Deadly Valentines, by Jeffrey Gusfield

Wikipedia – Jack McGurn

Mafia Wiki – Jack McGurn

Find a Grave – Jack “Machine Gun Jack” McGurn

this day in crime history: january 16, 1935

On this date in 1935, Kate “Ma” Barker, matriarch of the infamous family of criminals, died along with her son Fred in a hail of gunfire near Ocala, FL. Far from the Tommy-gun toting outlaw she’s been portrayed as in popular culture, Ma Barker’s role in the Barker-Karpis gang was probably limited to providing logistical and moral (or is it immoral?) support.

On January 8, 1935, her son Arthur “Doc” Barker was arrested in Chicago. When he was searched, he was found to have a map of the area where his brother Fred Barker was hiding out with Ma. On the 16th, federal agents surrounded the house and ordered the Barkers to surrender. A gunfight followed. Both Ma and Fred were killed in the battle. When they entered the house, agents found a Tommy gun still in Ma’s hands. Or so they claimed.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – Ma Barker

Find a Grave – “Ma” Barker

FBI – Barker-Karpis Gang

Poughkeepsie Eagle-News, January 17, 1935 – “Fred Barker and Mother Slain in Florida Hideout”

this day in crime history: december 9, 1935

walter-liggett

On this date in 1935, newspaperman Walter Liggett was murdered in an alley behind his home in Minneapolis. Liggett, editor and founder of a weekly newspaper called The Midwest American, published stories that exposed the links between government officials and organized crime. Liggett persisted, even after multiple warnings that included an assault and a trumped-up prosecution for a rape that never happened. On December 9th, Liggett’s enemies took action to silence him once and for all: they shot and killed him as he returned home from a shopping trip that evening. Liggett’s wife and 10 year old daughter witnessed the shooting. Mob boss Isadore “Kid Cann” Blumenfeld and one of his associates were identified as the shooters, but a (possibly intentionally) sloppy prosecution prevented their conviction.

Further reading:

“Hunt Gang in Slaying of Crusading Editor”Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 10, 1935

Stopping The Presses: The Murder Of Walter W. Liggett, by Marda Liggett Woodbury

Wikipedia – Walter Liggett

Wikipedia – Kid Cann

this day in crime history: october 23, 1935

On this date in 1935, Arthur “Dutch Schultz” Flegenheimer and three members of his crew were shot in the Palace Chophouse Restaurant in Newark, NJ. Word on the street was the hit on the Dutchman was ordered after he asked NYC mob chieftains for permission to kill prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey (he’s the guy who did NOT defeat Harry S. Truman in the 1948 Presidential election). But let’s face it, the Dutchman had a bunch of enemies, and they each had their own reasons for wanting him dead.

Schultz and his henchmen were taken to a hospital, where they all later died of their wounds. Schultz was reportedly worth about $7 million when he died, but no money was ever found. Rumor had it that Dutch and his bodyguard buried a waterproof safe somewhere in upstate NY.  I haven’t found it yet, but I’m still looking.

Further reading:

FBI History – Arthur Flegenheimer

GANGSTER CITY PROFILES – Dutch Schultz

J-Grit – Dutch Schultz – Jewish Gangster

Wikipedia – Dutch Schultz

this day in crime history: september 8, 1935

On the day in 1935, Senator Huey “The Kingfish” Long was shot in the Louisiana State Capitol.  He died two days later of complications from the wound.

Long was shot after a confrontation with Carl Weiss, a Baton Rouge doctor.  Weiss allegedly took exception to Long’s persecution of Weiss’s in-laws, who were Long opponents.  Weiss was shot multiple times by Long’s bodyguards and died at the scene.

The details of what actually happened aren’t clear, and several theories exist as to what went down.  The official story is that Weiss ambushed Long in the hallway of the Capitol and shot him.  But some people believe that Long was mistakenly shot by his bodyguards.  One theory has it that Weiss never even drew a gun, and that Long’s bodyguards overreacted, shooting Long and Weiss, then planting Weiss’s .32 automatic (which he usually kept in the glove compartment of his car) at the scene.

Thanks to a lack of modern forensics and a slipshod investigation, we’ll probably never know what really happened that night.

Further reading:

HueyLong.comAssassination

Wikipedia – Huey Long