Giosue Gallucci

by Jon Black


Born: 10th December 1865

Nationality: Neapolitan

Died: May 17th 1915

Where: 318 E109th St

Cause: Shot


Giosue Gallucci emigrated from Naples in 1891. He was arrested in New York in 1898, along with two of his brothers, in connection with the murder of  ‘Josephine Inselma’. The papers noted his previous nine convictions of ‘theft and blackmail’ in Italy.

Gallucci was based at 318 E109th, where his brother Gennaro had been killed in 1909. The building was a three storey brick house, the lower floor had a bakery shop at the front with living apartments above.  He had various businesses based around Harlem.

Gallucci was described in police records as ‘The Mayor of Little Italy’, he held strict control over other the policy games in the area, nobody ran numbers without paying tribute to Gallucci. He used his image and wealth to become politically powerful, and was noted to be ‘very active’ during political campaigns. His status and wealth was always hugely exaggerated in the press. Titles such as ‘King’, ‘Leader’ and ‘Millionaire’ were always common when his name hit the headlines.

In July 1913, Assistant DA Murphy and Deputy Police Commissioner Dougherty began to attack the Italian ring of policy shop proprietors. Over 40 arrests were made around Mulberry Bend and upper Harlem. Among those captured was Giosue Gallucci, the police described him as ‘The leader of the Italian criminals in Harlem’ and that ‘his consent was consent was necessary before anything out of the way could be done in Harlem’s Little Italy’. The real reason of the arrests was speculated to be to try and smash Galucci’s vice ring. Gallucci was well known for his dealings with prostitution and was nicknamed in the press as ‘King of the White Slavers’.

Several letters were received by the District Attorney after the arrest of Gallucci:

On last Saturday a big number of the worst men belong to the worst gang of the world were arrested. The head of this gang that was also arrested the name is Gesule Lugariello, alias Gallucci. He is the head of the Italian Lottery. He is the man who gives the order to his men to kill.

Last Saturday night or Sunday morning the Italian Squad succeeded in arresting one of the worst criminals of our day, and the charge against him is carrying concealed weapons. The name of this man is Gesue Gallucci, held in $5000 bail for the Grand Jury. He is an ex-convict in Italy and is responsible for over a dozen murders. He killed his own brother in his place of business at 318 East 109th Street”

Several attempts had been made on his life, but Gallucci was finally killed on May 17th, 1915. Gallucci, and his son Luca, left the family bakery and walked over to the coffee shop Gallucci had recently purchased. Four men entered the shop and began shooting. Giosue was hit in the neck and stomach, his son Luca was shot in the stomach. Fifteen men were in the coffee shop at the time, mostly friends of Gallucci, some returned fire but the shooters escaped. More than seven shots were fired in total.

When the police arrived they arrested everyone in the coffee shop, they then found Luca, who had managed to stagger back across to the family home. Luca died the following evening in hospital. His funeral was given three days later, 800 carriages left the ‘Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel’, 22 carriages were for flowers alone. The precession went along E 115th Street heading for the cemetery, carrying the $500 coffin. That evening Giosue Gallucci died in hospital. He had still been on $10,000 bail for carrying a concealed weapon, a case that dated back to 1913 and had not yet reached court, a fact that many attributed to his political connections.

The killing of Gallucci was formulated by the Morello family and Brooklyn Neopolitan gangs, mostly in an attempt to take control of his business empire. The supposed killers were Joe ‘Chuck’ Nazzarro, Andrea Ricci and Tony Romano. The lucrative gambling rackets left behind by Gallucci were now free for the taking, and they soon passed over to the Morello gang.