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 610 year sen­tence in June 1918.

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