Brooklyn Daily Eagle/July 3, 1928
Killing of Friend of Dead Lovett Gangster Linked to Death of Notorious Racketeer—Police Watch Abandoned Auto All Day in Hope for Killer’s Return.
As detectives established a link today between the murder of a man in a vacant lot at Meeker Ave. and Varick St., and the killing of Frankie Uale, often called “Yale,” Brooklyn’s most notorious gang leader, the motorcar used when Uale was killed was found.
The victim in the latest murder, believed by the police to be a gang killing, was James “Hickey” Senter of 238 Kent St., an acquaintance of the late Eddie Lynch, one of Bill Lovett’s former lieutenants, who was murdered in the same section of Brooklyn about six weeks ago.
Watch Car All Day
Actually the car used in the Uale shooting was found early yesterday morning, but throughout the day Inspector Sullivan refused to hint at it, as 25 detectives, hidden away in doorways and in flats, watched the machine constantly. This morning, however, the inspector admitted the car had been found and said that he was positive it was the machine used by the murderers of Frankie Uale.
This machine was a large black, or dark green, sedan, said to be worth about $3,000. Its windows were all closed. It bore a Tennessee license plate. It was first discovered at midnight Sunday on 36th St. between 2d and 3d Aves., but its finder, a citizen, did not notify the police until yesterday. Then detectives examined it and, elated with what they had found, watched it, hoping someone would come back after it.
Holes for Gun Muzzles
Bored through the sides of this machine were several holes, just big enough for the muzzles of revolvers. The inside of these holes were powder and smoke marked. The front glass was of the unbreakable kind. Under the seats in the rear the detectives found three sawed-off shotguns and five pistols, two of them automatics.
The inside and the outside of the machine were carefully searched, and, detectives said, yielded what is believed to be fingerprints. In any event the machine itself, with the guns aboard, was spirited by the police to a hiding place which was kept a close secret.
Uale was undoubtedly killed by sawed-off shotguns. Revolvers were also used as seven or eight shots were pumped into the gang leader’s body. Witnesses had said that the license plate of the murder car was from Illinois, but the detectives said today that an Illinois and Tennessee license would easily be confused in New York where few of them are seen.
Search Staten Island
It is believed that the murderers abandoned their machine, shortly after the murder, in 44th St. between 10th and 11th Aves. And the fact that it was abandoned just where it was, gave the detectives a hint that at least one of the men may know Brooklyn. It is only a short two blocks from the spot where the car was found to the 39th St. ferry from which the murderers could have easily gone either to the Battery in Manhattan or to Staten Island.
For that reason detectives were sent this afternoon to Staten Island in the hope that some “hide out” might be found there. But the entire situation convinced the detectives that a vicious gang fight is going on, and that it is being directed from outside this city.
Two Gangs at War
Adding to the facts on which they base their belief was the murder of Senter. They have no evidence that he was an active gang leader, but they have learned that he knew Eddie Lynch well. Lynch was murdered by “unknowns” at N. 14th St. and Wythe Ave., six weeks ago.
But there has been a war between the remnant of Bill Lovett’s gang and the Uale gang is also known to the police, and it has been hinted that Eddie Lynch, once a Lovett lieutenant, had gone over to the Uale banner. In any event, police today felt certain that there was some connection between the Senter and the Uale murders, but they admitted that they could not trace it clearly as yet.
Senter was identified by his brother, Joseph, who was promptly taken away for questioning by detectives of Inspector Carey’s Homicide Squad. Inspector Coughlin, chief of all the detectives, and Inspectors Carey and Sullivan led the investigation into Senter’s death.
Detectives on Anxious Seat
At Manhattan Police Headquarters detectives were whispering to each other in great worry and anxiety, as rumor followed rumor that the big shakeup, hinted at when Edwin Jerge was killed and the detectives couldn’t find his murderer, is now actually at hand. Heads of some departments were as worried as their men, because the word is out that the high police officials are indignant and disgusted at the work of their detectives.
Meanwhile, down at 42 Lafayette Ave. men from all walks of life, well dressed and poorly dressed, old and young, and women and children were staging an exhibition that stunned even “hard-boiled” detectives. They were filing in a steady line, from 6 o’clock until long after midnight last night, and resuming their march again today, before the $15,000 silver coffin of Uale.
Henchmen Utter Threats.
And as they marched in this tribute to a man who has been accused of two murders and who had been suspected of being embroiled in several others, his grim, angry followers strolled and strutted about the place uttering murderous threats.
These men, mostly young and mostly Italians, did not try to hide their anger. They announced so that anyone who wished could hear—and there were a score of detectives around the place—that they would fill the guy who bumped Frankie off “full of holes.” There were suspicious bulges on the hips of these young men. Not all of them carried flasks there.
Await Politicians’ Attitude
Uale will be buried Thursday in Holy Cross Cemetery in a funeral which, his friends insist, must be “more lavish” than that of Dion O’Banion in Chicago. The body will be kept at the Boyertown Chapel at 42 Lafayette Ave. until Thursday morning at 9:30, when it will be taken to St. Rosalie’s Church, 14th Ave. and 62d St. for requiem high mass.
The burial will not be until the afternoon at 2 o’clock. Special police guards will be placed about the chapel, the church and Uale’s Boro Park home, Inspector Sullivan said today.
Today there was speculation in the city. Will Brooklyn’s politicians, judges and public leaders turn out to the funeral of Frankle Uale, as Chicago’s leaders did when Dion O’Banion was buried, bringing an avalanche of criticism from other parts of the country? Will the men who boast their position of respect in the community, go to pay a last tribute to Frankie Uale, admitted gangster and troublemaker?
As these funeral plans were being made the air was full of trouble. Inspector John J. Sullivan, chief of Brooklyn detectives who is commanding the search for Uale’s slayer, felt it, and admitted it. District Attorney Dodd knew it was there. And detectives felt certain that the lid may blow off of gangland at any minute. The murder of Uale was a direct challenge, they figured, to his gang.
New Outbreak Feared
“It all depends on whether they’ve got a leader with any daring,” one of the detectives said last night, “if they have something is going to break. It may break in Chicago, though, next, but sooner or later it will come back here.”
There seemed no doubt today that the murder of Uale was Chicago planned and Chicago carried out. It was, to quote Inspector Sullivan, a typical Chicago job. But in it, the police have read evidences that the “racketeers” from Chicago have come East—or else New York gangsters have gone West—for lessons and, having been graduated from the school of the sawed-off shotgun, have begun to work for their higher degrees in this city.
The New York gangster has, in the past, ambushed his victim. That has been his outstanding “qualification.” But this killing wasn’t from ambush.
No Check on Underworld
Inspector Coughlin, chief of the city detectives, has been in constant communication with Brooklyn officers since Uale was shot down. There are several things he has wanted to know. Here are some of them:
Was there any rumbling under the surface before Uale was killed? Did anyone threaten to get him? Were there any Chicago gangsters in town two weeks ago, as has been hinted? Did Yale visit Chicago about ten days ago, as has been said?
Of course there are many more questions that the Inspector probably asked his men. But in the Uale murder there seems to be the same situation that was found in the Jerge murder—the detectives who are supposed to know what is going on in the underworld didn’t know. There were persistent reports that one of “Scarface Al” Capone’s chief aids from Chicago was in New York ten days ago, and that he went around openly. But the detectives who ought to know can’t tell definitely one way or another.
22 Unsolved Murders in Year
There was also a report to be heard last night that “Scarface Al” himself stopped in Brooklyn on his way to Miami recently. If he did, however, no definite report on his activities was available today.
There are at least two, and perhaps more, commanding officers in the police department whose jobs are very insecure today. There have been 22 unsolved murders in New York the past year and three of them have been very spectacular
Lovett Gangsters Quizzed
Some men known to have been members of the Uale gang were questioned informally yesterday. And today some men who had affiliations with the old Bill Lovett gang on the riverfront were questioned.
It was considered possible by some detectives today that Uale’s murder was a result of the killing of ”Peg Leg” Lonergan three years ago. But if that were true, the detectives admitted there were other factors in the case.
“Peg Leg” Lonergan, a Lovett lieutenant, was murdered at a Christmas eve party at Coney Island. “Peg Leg” made an insulting remark about one of Uale’s South Brooklyn followers.
War With Waterfront Gang
A pistol battle developed in which Mr. Lonergan was killed and one or two others were wounded. Most of the Uale men—accused of the murder by the police—fled the city. They went, it is firmly believed, to Chicago, where some of them enlisted under the banner of “Scarface Al” Capone and Mike Torrio.
Some from the other side also fled to Chicago. They enlisted, so the detectives say, with Dion O’Banion. Then Frankie Uale stretched out his hand to take part in the Chicago wars, and while he was in that city O’Banion was shot down by two strangers. The two strangers were known to have come from Brooklyn.
There has been a war between the Uale forces and the unled waterfront boys recently. Uale has not appeared on Union or Columbia streets in more than a year. Why? Because he had been told definitely and positively to keep away. The Red Hook section of Brooklyn was one section Uale could never win over.
Many stories are told of Uale’s “influence.” A Brooklyn tailor was robbed of several suits of clothing. The loss nearly ruined him. He told some one. The “someone” told Uale.
“Tell the guy not worry,” Uale said, “the suits will all be there when he opens up tomorrow.” They were.
In another case a 14th Ave. shopkeeper complained that a man was giving attention to his daughter, and threatening him for objecting. Uale heard about that. Almost overnight the “attention” of the young man was turned to someone else.
There is the story of the Coney Island resort which tried to compete last winter with a club which, it was said, owed allegiance to Uale. And one night the Coney Island resort burned down.
The body of Frankie Uale was claimed by both Maria Uale and Lucreida Julotta. Maria was his first wife, supposedly divorced this month. But he had been living for more than a year with Lucreida, who insisted she was Mrs. Uale. Lucreida, however, made a fine gesture last night and permitted Maria to be in control of the funeral services.