Vincent Coll


July 20, 1908 Gweedore,County Donegal, Ireland


February 8, 1932 Eighth Avenue and 23rd Street U.S.





Cause of death

Cerebral hemorrhage

Resting place

Saint Raymonds Cemetery New

Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll (born Uinseann Ó Colla, July 20, 1908 – February 8, 1932) was an Irish mob hitman in early 20th-century New York City. Coll gained notoriety for the accidental killing of a young child during a mob kidnap attempt.

Coll was born in Gaoth Dobhair, an Irish-speaking region of County Donegal, Ireland; his family emigrated to the U.S. a year later. Coll was a distant relative of Northern Ireland MP Bríd Rodgers. Coll grew up in the The Bronx, where he joined The Gophers street gang and befriended mobster Dutch Schultz. Vincent was brought to New York at an early age and raised by his sister in a cold-water flat on 11th Avenue.

Expelled from one Catholic reform school after another, he dropped out of school and joined The Gophers where he became a protege of Dutch Schultz before he had hit puberty. Coll's gleeful ruthlessness made him a valued enforcer to Schultz at first. He was nineteen when police charged him with having murdered the owner of a speakeasy who refused to sell Schultz's bootleg alcohol. He was eventually acquitted of the charge, though it was suspected to be from Schultz's influence. Dutch started to resent his prized protege; after Coll pulled a robbery at the Sheffield Farms dairy in the Bronx without his authorization, Schultz upbraided the young gangster. Rather than back down, as might have been expected, Coll had the audacity to demand that Schultz cut him in as an equal partner. "I don't take in nobody as partners with me. You're an ambitious punk, but you take a salary or nothing. Take it or leave it." "Okay", said Coll, with his customary toothy grin, "I'm leaving it."

As Schultz's criminal empire grew in power during the 1920s, he employed Coll as an assassin. Coll would also kidnap powerful gangsters at gunpoint and hold them for ransom. He knew that the victims would not report the kidnappings; they would have a hard time explaining to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (later, IRS), the taxation agency in the U.S., why the ransom cash hadn't been reported.

Before too long, Coll and Schultz had a serious falling-out. After Coll had been arrested, Schultz paid Coll's bail bond to free him from jail. However, Coll never showed up in court and Schultz lost the bond money. Schultz wanted Coll to compensate him for the loss. An initial attempt to collect this debt became a shooting war between the Schultz and Coll gangs.

On July 28, 1931, Coll unsuccessfully attempted to kidnap Joey Rao, a Schultz underling. The resulting shootout left a five-year-old child, Michael Vengali, dead and several children wounded. After this atrocity, New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker dubbed Coll "Mad Dog" and the whole city started looking for him.

In the aftermath of the Vengali killing, Salvatore Maranzano, the mafia boss of all bosses in New York City, planned to hire Coll to murder his Underboss, Charles "Lucky" Luciano. Luciano had previously helped Maranzano win the infamous Castellammarese War in New York and gain control of organized crime. However, Maranzano suspected Luciano of wanting to control the crime families.

Coll agreed to murder Luciano for a $25,000 payment in advance and a $25,000 payment on completion of the job. On September 10, 1931, Maranzano invited Luciano to visit his office. The plan was that Coll would turn up and kill Luciano. However, Luciano had received a tip-off about this plan (although probably not the identity of the hitman), so he instead sent over a squad of his own hitmen who stabbed and shot Maranzano to death. Coll finally arrived for brifering, only to find Maranzano dead and Luciano's hitmen fleeing the scene.

Owney Madden, boss of the Hell's Kitchen Irish Mob, soon put a $50,000 bounty on Coll's head. It was later discovered that two freelance hitmen, Leonard Scarnici and Anthony Fabrizzo, accepted Madden's bounty and went after Coll.

On February 1, 1932, both Scarnici and Fabrizzo invaded a Bronx apartment which Coll was rumored to frequent. The hitmen burst in with pistols and submachine guns blazing, killing three people outright and wounding three others. Vincent Coll didn't show up until thirty minutes after the shooting. On the next attempt, Dutch Schultz sent Abraham "Bo" Weinberg with Scarnici and Fabrizzo to help identify Coll and drive the getaway car.

At 12:30 a.m. on February 8, a week after the Bronx slaughter, Vincent Coll was using a phone booth in the London Chemists drug store at Eighth Avenue and 23rd Street, reportedly talking to none other than Owney Madden, who kept Coll on the line while the call could be traced. Soon enough, a limousine pulled up outside.

While Bo Weinberg waited behind the wheel, Leonard Scarnici and Anthony Fabrizzo stepped out. One of them waited outside and the other walked inside. After telling the cashier to "Keep cool, now", the killer drew a Thompson submachine gun from under his overcoat and went back to the phone booth where Coll was. The triggerman opened fire, raking up one side of the glass booth and down the other. A total of fifteen bullets were dug out of Vincent Coll's body at the morgue; even more may have passed clean through him. The killers were chased unsuccessfully up Eighth Avenue by a detective squad that had pulled up just after Coll was killed.

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