Francis Crowley – New York City’s most dangerous mobster

Francis Crowley was nicknamed ‘The Puny Killer’ and ‘Half Pint Moron’ as well as ‘Two Gun’. For a brief period of three months, he was considered to be New York City’s most dangerous man.

His early life

It was on 13th October 1912 in the city of New York that he was born to an unmarried German mother, who later had put up little Francis for adoption. Probably his father was police official, the reason for his hatred for those in blue uniform. Anna Crowley, woman adopted him and raised him. It was Anna that he called his only mother.

His entering the mafia world

He stool 5’ 3” at the age of 18 and was about 130 pounds in weight. At this time, he was a full time criminal as well as a murdered, teaming up with Rudolph Duringer, who was considered the largest man to sit on the electric chair in Sing Sing.

Crowley along with Fats and other mobster had busted into Bronx’s American Legion Dance Hall on 21st February 1931. He fired with 2 guns, the reason he derived the nickname of ‘Two Gun’ Crowley. Although no one got killed, the police hunted him for attempted murder and got him cornered within an office building. But he had made his escape killing Detective Ferdinand Schaedel.

His criminal activities

He was involved in numerous criminal activities within a very short span of time.  Along with his crew, he robbed a New Rochelle bank, and then staged home invasion of Rudolph Adler, a wealthy real estate investor. Rudolph was shot five times. He drove a stolen car on 27th April 1931 with Fats who killed a dancer named Virginia Brannen inside the vehicle and had her body discarded later.

His rise to fame

On 29th April, when he was driving a Crysler, he got spotted by the police officials, who shot at him.  But again he gave the slip. On 6th May at a secluded spot, Crowley was spotted by patrolmen along with his girlfriend. When asked for identification, he took up the revolver and shot at both, to flee the scene. It was then he got branded as cop killer, which brought him instant fame.

On 7th May, at 90th Street West took place the most fierce of all gun battles in New York City’s history, with the episode being termed ‘Siege of West 90th Street’, where Crowley was holed up along with Helen Walsh and Fats Duringer. He was greeted by 100 cops and 15,000 onlookers. Crowley was overcome only to be sent to electric chair on 21st January 1932.