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· This Week in Mob History…Extra
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· This Week in Mob History
This Week in Mob History…Extra
I was always amazed that the death of Dutch Schultz didn’t create more controversy due to the fact that there were really, historically speaking, two official versions. Each version leaves us with its own set of unanswered questions. In addition, there are a few myths about the shooting that are still in circulation to this day.
First myth, on October 23, 1935 at the Palace Chop House in Newark, New Jersey, as some movies and books suggest, the four men who were shot that night did not die where they sat, blasted into eternity by the guns of the sinister killers of Murder, Inc. In fact, none of the men shot in the restaurant actually died there. In reality it was quite a shoot out in the true sense of the term – with both groups firing back and forth and chasing each other through the restaurant.
Selected to carry out the hit on Schultz were Murder, Inc. stalwarts Charles "Charley the Bug" Workman, Emanuel "Mendy" Weiss, and the driver, an individual, never identified, who will be remembered throughout the ages simply as "Piggy." Weiss and Workman never revealed to law enforcement what happened that evening, but over the years they talked about their experience to their confederates in Murder, Inc. However, the stories that later came to light were provided by rats bailing out of the killing gang as the law came crashing down on them.
According to Burton Turkus in his book Murder, Inc., Workman "strolled" into the Palace Chop House while Weiss provided cover, and "Piggy" sat poised behind the wheel. Workman walked the length of the bar and then flipped open the door to the men’s room. Inside was a man washing his hands who Workman thought was a Schultz bodyguard. He shot the man who immediately dropped to the floor.
Workman then darted into the back dining room and opened up on Schultz’s men – Lulu Rosenkrantz, Abe Landau and Abbadabba Berman – wounding all three. Not seeing Dutch among the wounded, Workman realized Schultz must have been the man washing his hands. He then went back to "rifle" Schultz’s pockets for cash, which was said to be Workman’s custom.
Paul Sann provided a different description of the shooting in his book, Kill the Dutchman. He states that both Weiss and Workman blasted away at the three men in the dining room first. Then, after not spotting Schultz, Workman went into the men’s room and found Dutch relieving himself at the urinal. Workman fired twice with one bullet hitting Schultz and causing a mortal wound. Again, Workman was said to have searched Schultz for money.
Rosenkrantz, who was believed to have been sitting with his back to the doorway, was hit seven times. He suffered wounds in the chest, abdomen, right arm, and right foot. Berman, the oldest and heaviest of the shooting victims, was hit six times – body, neck, wrist, elbow and shoulder. He dropped to the floor and remained there. Abe Landau, who the newspapers originally identified as Leo Frank, took three bullets – in the back, left arm, and right wrist.
Landau, although wounded in his shooting arm, pulled a .45 and gave chase, with Rosenkrantz behind him firing with his .45. Landau shot wildly as he staggered after Workman. Landau made it to the street, but with his gun empty, he fell backwards landing in a garbage can in a sitting position. Rosenkrantz had collapsed momentarily on the floor of the restaurant.
After Schultz staggered out of the men’s room he collapsed at a table. He moaned, "Get a doctor, quick." At this point, according to legend, Rosenkrantz pulled himself up from the floor and gave the restaurant owner a quarter and asked for change so he could make a nickel phone call. He then dialed O on the restaurant’s payphone before collapsing again.
All four men were transported to Newark City Hospital and were surrounded by police officers asking questions.
"Who shot you?" asked Newark Police Chief John Harris.
"Let me alone," replied Schultz. "You’re killing me. I’m getting weaker."
Rosenkrantz was even less cooperative. "Get the hell away from me," he hollered. "Go out and get me an ice cream soda."
Berman was the first to die, passing away at 2:55 a.m. about four and half hours after the shooting. Landau followed him at 6:30 a.m., as too much blood was lost from a severed artery in his neck. Rosenkrantz held out the longest of the four victims. He passed away at 3:20 a.m. on October 25.
Schultz showed some signs of rallying, but by 2:00 p.m. on October 24, he began to fade. As he did he began to ramble. Police officials in the room began to write down what the Dutchman was saying. By four o’clock, Police Chief Harris assigned a stenographer to record the statements of Schultz who was passing in and out of consciousness with a 106-degree temperature. His last words were spoken at 6:00 p.m. and then Schultz fell into a deep coma. At 8:20 p.m., the Dutchman’s young wife was allowed to enter the room to say her farewell. At 8:35 Schultz passed into eternity.
Here are some of the questions that have remained unanswered for over six decades. First, most people don’t realize that Schultz and his men were not the only people in the restaurant that night. The New York Herald Tribune reported, "They [the Schultz gang] were the only persons in the back room, but in front a dozen persons, including three women, sat at tables before the sixty-foot bar, at which Jack Friedman [bartended]." When Weiss and Workman entered the restaurant they ordered everyone to, "Get down." That’s how we know there were only two men and not three as we were told in the GQ - BS article from Joe Stassi.
The two killers, as is the custom in a hit, had to have been given a layout of the restaurant and knew where Schultz and, or, his men would be sitting. (I don’t believe it was the intention of the hitmen to kill Schultz’s men. There was no guarantee that they would have been there to begin with and they were only after Dutch. But since they were there and Schultz was believed to be sitting with them, why not blast them all – especially since they were in the process of drawing their weapons once the shooting began.) Back to my point, the gunmen had to have known there could be other patrons in the restaurant and upon entering they encountered twelve of them. That being said, when Workman allegedly "flipped open" the bathroom door how did he know it wasn’t an innocent patron in there as opposed to one of Schultz’s bodyguards, which was the Turkus version.
Also, if Turkus’s tale is true, it seems amazing that two gunmen, who could react while riddled with bullets, didn’t hear Schultz getting shot first and react then. All the crime scene information indicates that the three men were sitting when they were fired upon.
If Sann’s account is true, that the men in the back room were fired upon first, why didn’t the unarmed Schultz react by trying to hide or escape when he heard all the blasting going on outside? Sann states that after Workman emptied his .38 he looked in the men’s room and found Schultz relieving himself. Certainly the cautious thirty-five year old Schultz would have heard the shots, tucked it away, and been on the move. Also, with Landau and Rosenkrantz after him, how could Workman have had the time not only to shoot Schultz, but to go through his pockets?
The story of Workman "rifling" through Schultz’s pockets for cash is most certainly a myth. First, how could he possibly have had the time with Landau and Rosenkrantz in pursuit? Second, in the ambulance on the way to Newark City Hospital Schultz pulled out his wallet, which contained $725, and handed it to Bernard Allberg, an ambulance attendant.
I’d rather you had this than the state," Schultz moaned. "See that I get the best of care."
Once at the hospital Schultz pulled a roll of bills from another pocket. The roll, containing $325, he also gave to Allberg. The ambulance attendant then handed the entire amount over to the police. What was Workman looking for? Change? How could he have missed over $1,000 in his "rifling" of Schultz?
Witnesses in the restaurant reported that the shooting in the back room was over "instantaneously." Berman, Landau and Rosenkrantz were all hit with .38 caliber bullets. A more likely scenario is that Workman walked into the back room and began firing with two .38s, while Weiss backed him up from a distance using a shotgun to cover the remaining customers and employees in the restaurant.
With return fire coming from Landau and Rosenkrantz, both wielding .45s, the two hitmen fled the restaurant. Hearing the initial gunfire coming from the back room, Schultz came out of the bathroom only to be hit by a wild shot coming from one of his own bodyguards. The hospital confirmed that Schultz was the lone victim to be hit with a .45 bullet. The only problem with this theory is that police found another bullet from a .45 had been fired into the bathroom. This I can’t explain, not knowing the layout of the restaurant.
I feel that the first shots were fired in the back room and not in the bathroom. My conclusion to this is that Landau and Rosenkrantz would have reacted and had their guns at the ready if this were the case. If Workman had the time to enter the bathroom, shoot Schultz and go through his pockets, like Sann states, why didn’t this experienced hitman shoot the Dutchman in the head?
Lastly, we have been told that Weiss and "Piggy" took off leaving Workman to find his way back to Brooklyn on foot. Again, it is this writer’s belief that when Weiss, who I suspect was in a back-up role, saw two pissed-off gunmen headed his way with .45s blazing he jumped into the getaway car and ordered "Piggy" to step on it. His decision to leave Workman behind was either made out of cowardice or because he thought the Schultz gunmen would kill "Charley the Bug."
We will most likely never know how the shooting actually went down. Perhaps there is someone still alive who might be able to provide us with details – hopefully not the kind provided by Joe Stassi.
In the meantime does anyone else have a theory?
October 22, 1946 – Joseph Bruno, according to Organized Crime: 25 Years After Valachi, was the boss of the Philadelphia Family since August 1936. He died of natural causes in a New York City hospital and was succeeded by Joseph Ida. Under Bruno the area of South New Jersey, including Atlantic City, came under the control of the Philadelphia Family.
October 23, 1935 – Louis "Pretty" Amberg was one of three brothers who ran a small gang in Brooklyn. One brother, Mickey, committed suicide in the "tombs," a nickname given to the city prison, while Joey Amberg was killed by members of Murder, Inc. "Pretty’s" mistake was swearing vengeance on Joey’s killers. The Murder, Inc. gang made an example of "Pretty." He was slowly hacked to death and then placed in a car that was set on fire.
October 23, 1935 – Marty Krompier and Sammy Gold were shot and wounded in a Manhattan barbershop. Both men were associates of Dutch Schultz. Krompier, by some accounts, became Schultz’s second in command after the Dutchman had disposed of Bo Weinberg. See my story at http://www.crimelibrary.com/gangsters/schultz/
October 23, 1940 – Ignacio Antinori, a narcotics kingpin in the Tampa mob who had ties with Chicago, Kansas City and St. Louis, was killed by a shotgun blast to the head. His son Joseph, also involved in the narcotics trade, was murdered 13 years later.
October 25, 1937 – Lew Brunemann was a West Coast gambler who refused to share his profits with the mob. After one botched attempt to kill Brunemann by Frank Bompensiero, Leo "Lips" Moceri was brought in. Moceri, who didn’t trust Bompensiero, told famed informant Jimmy "the Weasel" Fratianno about the murder of Brunemann:
"I’ve got a forty-five automatic and the place’s packed with people. I walk right up to his table and start pumping lead. Believe me, that sonovabitch’s going to be dead for sure this time.
"Bomp’s supposed to be by the door, watching my back to make sure nobody jumps me. I turn around and I see this football player … coming at me. Bomp’s nowhere in sight. Now I’m either going to clip this (guy) or he’s going to knock me on my ass. So I blast him and run out, and there’s Bomp already in the fucking car … waiting for me. That guy showed me his color…"
Moceri then warned Fratianno, "If you ever work with Bomp, get him out in front of you instead of behind you." The police arrested another man for the murder of Brunemann who was convicted and sent to prison. See my column http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_5-15-00.html
October 25, 1957 – Albert Anastasia was the boss of what would become the Gambino Family in New York City, having gotten rid of the original boss, Vincent Mangano, and his brother Philip in 1951. In one of the most sensational gangland assassinations Anastasia, known as the "Mad Hatter" and the "Lord High Executioner of Murder, Inc." was blasted to death while sitting in a barber’s chair in the Park Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan. It was the same hotel that Arnold Rothstein had been mortally wounded at in November 1928.
October 27, 1928 – Pete Rizzito, according to police and organized crime historians, placed the telephone call that kept Antonio "Tony" Lombardo in his office while hit men took their places on the street on September 7, 1928. After the Unione Siciliano leader’s murder, police questioned Rizzito for hours during which time he adamantly denied putting Lombardo "on the spot." A month and a half after Lombardo’s death Rizzito was murdered while standing at the corner of Oak and Milton Streets, shot from a passing automobile. See my column http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_10-30-00.html
October 27, 1956 – Joseph T. Piriano, according to Organized Crime: 25 Years After Valachi, was the boss of the Dallas Family since the death of his brother Carlo in February 1930. Joseph committed suicide after a brief illness and was replaced by Joseph Civello.
October 28, 1943 – Charles Matranga, a one-time leader of the New Orleans Family, whose own family was involved in the bloody riot that resulted in the deaths of a dozen Italians in 1891, died of natural causes. He had been replaced as the boss of the family in 1925 by Sylvestro "Silver Dollar Sam" Carolla. See my column http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_12-20-99.html
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