7/28/1931 - Continuing his ongoing war with gangster Dutch Schultz over respect, money, and revenge for the murder of his older brother Peter, Irish born killer Vincent Coll finds Schultz associate Joey Rao in front of the Helmar Social Club on East 107th and makes the snap decision to take the mobster out on the spot.
Dutch Schultx Vincent Coll
The choice is not surprising given that Rao is known to be after the $10,000 payday that Schultz has put on the head of Coll, but unfortunately the timing and place are not conducive to mano-a-mano mobster mayhem ... a sweltering evening of temperatures in the 90s, Rao is sharing the sidewalk and street with a host of innocent adults and children, outdoors hoping to encounter a cooling breeze. Bad decision, Top Shot winners the hoodlums are not!!!!! Firing from a moving touring car with a shotgun, while his buddy Frank Giordano blasts away with a .45 automatic, Coll misses Rao and his two bodyguards, when sensing danger, the men duck to the sidewalk. Sadly, he is much more accurate hitting the children that are playing near Rao ... two youngsters, five and fourteen years old are slightly wounded, a seven-year-old is hit five times, a three-year-old sleeping in a stroller is struck twice in the back, and five-year-old Michael Vengali is mortally wounded when hot lead rips through his stomach.
"Mad Dog" Coll
Instantly on the run, not only from Schultz killers, but now from every cop in the city too, Coll is labeled a "Mad Dog" by New York City mayor Jimmy Walker, and true, the name sticks In hiding, he will dye his blonde hair black and grow a mustache ... changes in his appearance that nonetheless fail to keep the police from eventually finding him at the Cornish Arms Hotel on October 4, 1931. Captured without a struggle, Coll and Giordano go on trial later that year for the death of Vengali, but are found not guilty when high profile defense attorney Samuel S. Leibowitz shows the shyster at his core and gets the guilty murderers off by destroying the testimony of the prosecution's star eyewitness, George Brecht.
Justice will be served though! On February 8, 1932, Coll spends so much time in a drugstore phone booth threatening mobster Owney Madden with the kidnapping of his brother-in-law unless he is paid $50,000, that the sometimes partner of Schultz has enough time to have the call traced back to the store. Still jabbering away, a group of Schultz and Madden gunmen that includes Rao, arrive and open up with machine guns on their trapped enemy, and unable to run or even draw his pistol, in the turkey shoot that ensues, Coll is turned into a slab of human Swiss cheese (fifteen slugs are taken out of his head and chest at the morgue and there are even more leaking holes in the corpse where rounds passed through).
Cops removing Coll from the London Chemist drugstore
The "Mad Dog" is all of twenty-three when he answers for his many crimes!