Johnny Esposito

by Jon Black

Alias: Lefty Esposito

Born: 1893

Nationality: American

Died: Decemeber 31st 1924.

Where: New Jersey

Cause: Shot


Born in Brooklyn, Esposito grew up in New York. He used to hangout in Harlem around 105th St with the Del Gaudio brothers, occasionally roughing people up on their order. Esposito left Harlem after he received a 6 month jail term for a shooting. After moving back to Brooklyn he began to mix with the Navy St gang.

On June 24th 1916 a meeting took place at Coney Island between the Sicilian Morello gang, the Neapolitan Navy Street gang and the Neapolitan Coney Island gang. The idea of the meeting was to discuss the expansion of gambling dens in lower Manhattan. Nick Terranova and Steve LaSalle explained that Joe DeMarco would have to be killed before they could expand in the area.

On the morning of July 20th, 1916, the Navy St gunmen, including Esposito, made their way to the entrance of the James St gambling house. Nick Sassi, an employee of Demarco’s but also friend of the Navy St gang, got the gunmen inside. Joe DeMarco and Charles Lombardi were inside, they were sat next to each other playing cards with several other men. DeMarco was shot dead and the gunmen escaped.

Esposito was also involved in the later ambush of Nick Terranova and Eugene Ubriaco for which he received a 6-10 year sentence in June 1918.

He was later killed in 1924 while on parole in New Jersey.