Tuesday, October 23, 2012


10/23/1935 - One of the most famous hits in mob history takes place when thirty-four-year-old Jewish gangster Arthur Flegenheimer, better known as Dutch Schultz, and three of his men are gunned down at the Palace Chophouse in Newark, New Jersey.


                                                       Scene of the crime
                                                          The Dutchman

The murders are set in motion by Schultz's need to get rid of his nemesis, New York Special Prosecutor Thomas Dewey.  Not a very good salesman, after discussing the pros and cons of killing Dewey for six hours (there is a plan, compliments of Albert Anastasia, to assassinate the man during his daily morning walk with a silenced pistol) with Louis "Lepke" Buchalter, Jacob "Gurrah" Shapiro, Charles "Lucky" Luciano, Abner "Longy" Zwillman, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, and Meyer Lansky, the leaders of organized crime in New York City known as The Commission of which Schultz is a member, the gangster brings about his own death by refusing to accept the decision that is made to let the lawyer live.

                                                    Prosecutor Dewey

"Dewey's gotta go," Schultz screams over and over, upset that he is the target of the lawyer's investigation into selling restaurant "protection" policies, but when the irate mobster finally leaves, the men instead then vote that it is the Dutchman that must be go.

                              Lepke                                       Shapiro                            
                               Bugsy                                    Lansky

Anastasia, there already for his presentation on how Dewey could be hit, gets the assignment, and in turn gives the contract to a three-man death squad of his Murder, Inc. killers ... twenty-eight-year-old gunman Emanuel "Mendy" Weiss, twenty-seven-year-old gunman Charles "The Bug" Workman, and a driver that will be known to criminal history only as "Piggy."


The stage is set for the Dutchman's murder when he as usual goes to his favorite restaurant that night for dinner, drinks, and back room business with a group of his associates (through the evening others will be present, like Schultz's wife, twenty-one-year-old Frances, but will leave before the bullets begin flying) ... Otto "Abbadabba" Berman, a mathematical wizard and numbers cruncher for the gang, bodyguard Bernard "Lulu" Rosenkrantz, and chief henchman Abe Landau.


After numerous drinks and a dinner of steaks and fries, the men are discussing gang business at their normal back room table, the same spot they'd occupied nightly for three straight weeks, when at about 10:15 they are joined by the members of Murder, Inc.  A double whammy of death, Workman enters the restaurant, walks to the back and fires a .38 into the three men sitting at the table, Landau, Berman, and Rosenkrantz, while following, Weiss fires at the same group with a double-gauge shotgun.  Thirty-six-year-old Rosencratz takes seven hits from his chest down to his foot, Berman is hit six times on his left side, in wrist, elbow, shoulder, and neck (a bullet that exits through the side of his face), and Landau takes hits to his wrist, right arm, and shoulder (a bullet that exits through the right side of his neck, severing an artery).  Accurate targeting, only two bullets seem to miss, shattering a wall mirror.  Then making sure that they haven't missed anyone, Workman goes into the bathroom and confronts a man standing at the urinal peeing ... Dutch Schultz (an alternate tale has the bathroom events taking place first).  In the unequal battle that ensues, the mobster actually has only brought a knife to a gunfight, a 3.5-inch switchblade called a Chicago Spike.  Reaching for the weapon, Schultz is hit by one of the two bullets Workman fires his way before retreating ... a steel-jacketed .45 slug kept rusty on purpose to cause infection that goes into Schultz's chest, tears through his abdominal wall, and does massive damage to the mobster's large intestines, gall bladder, and liver.  While this is going on, amazingly, Landau and Rosenkrantz fight back, firing at the fleeing Weiss until both collapse from their wounds, Rosenkrantz on the restaurant floor and Landau outside, sitting on a trash can.  Also amazingly, Schultz zips himself up, and calling for help, stumbles to the murder table and collapses ... help request heard, Rosenkrantz gathers enough strength to lift himself from his position on the floor, go to the restaurant's phone booth, and call the local police switchboard for help, but not before actually demanding the frightened bartender make change for the quarter he is holding so the phone company won't receive a twenty cent bonus the frugal mobster doesn't think they deserve for a five cent call.  Not as big a penny-pinch as his bodyguard, when help finally arrives, Schultz tips the emergency personnel twenty bucks to take good care of his friends.

                                                    The Dutchman

Taken to the hospital, the bullet-riddled men will linger for various amounts of time as police question them as to who has done the shooting (different members of a twenty-man operating team will spend 27 hours and 20 minutes trying to salvage the four men).  No one tells the police anything.  Abbadabba is the first to leave, exiting at 2:55 in the morning of the 24th, as dawn is breaking, Landau checks out a few hours later at 6:30, and Rosenkrantz, despite massive blood loss, lasts until 3:20 of the morning of the 25th.

Thought at first to not be mortally wounded, Schultz develops peritonitis, and fever fueled, babbles gibberish for hours (all of it taken down by a police stenographer) before succumbing at 8:35 in the evening, about twenty-two hours after being shot.  The gangster's last words are, "Max come over here ... French Canadian bean soup ... I want to pay, let them leave me alone ..."

                                                     Still lucid Dutch
                                                 Adios Arthur

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