Thursday, July 23, 2009

Italian Harlem's Police Report #2

Topic: Armed Gangster Shot to Death 1913

A young Italian known as "Charley Baker," said to be a notorious gangster of Harlem's Little Italy, walked into the saloon of Umberto Vespasiano, at 324 East 115th Street, last night and demanded of the saloon keeper $5 for five tickets he had left with him to sell for an "association" ball to be given next week. When Vespasiano pleaded that he had been unable to sell the tickets, and that being a poor man he could buy only one for himself, Baker snatched the four tickets out of his hand, saying:"All right. I'll collect for the other four when I see you at the ball."Then he went into the rear room of the saloon and began to p lay pool. A few minutes later there was a rush of several men into the rear room, and immediately thereafter a succession of shots. Wespasiano, running into the rear room, found Baker dead on the floor. Policeman Conway, hearing the shots, ran to the saloon, too late, however, to see any of the escaping assassins.When they lifted Baker from the floor a revolver, fully loaded, dropped from his pocket, and in two other pockets were found ten cartridges. The saloon-keeper was held in the East 104th Street station as a material witness. He could give no description of the men who had done the shooting. There were five shots fired, and five bullet wounds in Baker two in his chest, one under his chin, one in his right temple, and one in his left temple.The police theory is that the shooting was a gang's revenge, deliberately carried out for the satisfying of some grudge. The police believe that the assassins took places around their victim before they attacked him. Baker, the police say had been arrested several times. Under the name of Charles Marrone, he was held in $1,000 bail in Special Sessions last January for carrying concealed weapons, but forfeited his bond.

Source: The New York Times December 6, 1913

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