Crime Scene: Black Hand Shooting

NYPD crime scene photos following a suspected Black Hand shooting.

Giuseppe Leto

In September 1915, nine men were playing cards at 203 Forsyth Street when a shotgun was fired through the rear door. Giuseppe Leto, 33, was killed and two others injured. The gunman had stealthily approached the gamblers by sneaking through the basement of 222 Chrystie Street, an infamous tenement known as the “House of Three Deuces” and home of Bonaventura “Joseph” Pinzolo who would later lead the Reina borgata.

The police believed that Leto had been a victim of Black Hand extortion after finding a letter in his pocket marked with a dagger symbol. They also claimed the murder may have been connected to the Morello gang. One of the wounded men, Jospeh Raffo, revealed that he had also been the recipient of Black Hand threats which he had chosen to ignore. 

Detectives later arrested three card players who had fled the scene and suspected they had purposely positioned Leto to be seated close to the open door. The shotgun used in the killing was later discovered discarded at the rear of the “House of Three Deuces” tenement.1

Rear of 202 Forsyth Street.
Door at the rear of the 203 Forsyth Street.
Giuseppe Leto.
Giuseppe Leto. 203 Forsyth Street.
Giuseppe Leto's apartment. 207 Forsyth Street.
Giuseppe Leto. 203 Forsyth Street.
Location where the shots were fired from.
Rear of 203 Forsyth Street, location where the gun was fired.
  1. The New York Times. Sept 10, 1915. p7
    The New York Tribune. Sept 10, 1915. p3
    The Sun. New York. Sept 10, 1915. p5
    The Evening Gazette. Port Jervis NY. Sept 10, 1915. p2
    State population census schedules, 1915. New York State Archives, Albany, New York. (Joseph Letto – #207 Forsyth Street. Manhattan.)
    Marriage certificate. Manhattan 1915-01-27. (Giuseppe Leto. Witnessed by Francesco Mauro and Domenico Disolino.)  ⇡