UMBERTO’S CLAM HOUSE
MULBERRY STREET , LITTLE ITALY
NEW YORK , NY
The flamboyant criminal career of Joey Gallo was ended early yesterday by a lone gunman who surprised the gregarious gangster in a downtown restaurant where he was continuing the celebration of his 43d birthday.
Gallo was struck only twice, but police estimated that about 20 shots, most of them fired by Gallo aides, were exchanged. Also wounded was Gallo bodyguard Peter (Pete the Greek) Diapioulas, 40. Police arrested him for possession of .32 caliber revolver.
The dramatic death of the Brooklyn mob boss – whose flair for violence earned him the nickname Crazy Joe – sent police to gangster haunts throughout the city in an attempt to head off a possible all-out mob war.
With Gallo in Umberto’s clam bar, 129 Mulberry St., when he was shot was his bride of three weeks, Sina, and her daughter, Lisa, 10. Also in the party, which had gone to the Little Italy restaurant after attending comedian Don Rickles’ opening night performance at the Copacabana, was the hood’s sister, Mrs. Ella Fiorella, and a friend, Edith Russo.
Diapioulas also sat at the table, which was on the right side and in the rear of the small restaurant. Police say that one and possibly two other Gallo men were seated on stools in the front of the restaurant.
Crazy Joe Gallo & Brother Larry
ENTERED TROUGH SIDE DOOR
Gallo had arrived at Umberto’s shortly after 5 a.m. and, according to witnesses, was loud and happy. The party ordered house specialties such as Scungilli, Calamari and Mussels. Wine was brought to the table.
A Plate of MUSSELLS CLAMS SCUNGILLI & CALAMARI
Besides the Gallo party, there were nine other customers in the restaurant, which opened three weeks ago. The gunman entered through a side door and went directly to behind Gallo’s table.
The man, described as about 5-foot-8, stocky, about 40 years old and with receding dark hair, fired twice, striking Gallo in the left shoulder and, as the hood fell over, in the left buttock. Diapioulas drove for cover but was also hit in the buttock.
The killer calmly turned and walked out into Mulberry St. to a waiting car. Diapioulas apparently fired three times at the gunman. Other Gallo hoods ran to the street and began blasting at the car as it sped away.
Gallo managed to stagger toward the front door. He stumbled and then fell, smashing the plate glass. Gallo then plunged through the entrance and staggered 15 feet more before collapsing in the middle of the intersection of Hester and Mulberry Streets.
Patrolman Felice Agosta of the Elizabeth St. station, summoned to the scene, found the gang leader, Diapioulas at his side, lying on the street. The cop took both to Beekman-Downtown Hospital, where Gallo was pronounced dead.
Police estimate that as many as four guns, including the still missing murder weapon, were used in the shootout. Only Pete the Greek’s weapon was recovered, police said. Several buildings, including Graziano’s funeral home, directly opposite Umberto’s side entrance, bear pock-marked evidence of being struck by slugs.
Although Gallo had recently said he was retired from all criminal activity and was writing a book, police sources said this was not true, that in fact the mobster had built up a considerable organization since his parole from prison last June.
or as da Boys would say, “Gal-a-Mar
Gallo, who had spent nine years in Attica prison after being convicted for an attempted extortion, from a Little Italy restaurant owner, quickly became engaged in extortion, shakedowns and shylocking on his parole, according to ranking police officer.
The swaggering tough guy reportedly attempted also to move in on several night clubs that were controlled by other mob factions, and this activity may have led to the rubout.
Gallo’s death was not mourned in Little Italy. Most of the shopkeepers and people in the neighborhood refused comment. Underworld figures simply shrugged and said, “It had to happen.”
Gallo first came into underworld prominence in the early ’60’s when he and brothers, Larry and Albert (Kid Blast), broke away from the Joseph Profaci “family” and engaged in a gang war that left 14 dead and four other hoods missing.
Profaci died of cancer in 1962 and Joseph Colombo reportedly took over the family and patched up the grievances with the Gallo gang. Larry Gallo also died of cancer, in the mid ’60’s.
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