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Herald Examiner

MONDAY, JUNE 16, 1924



Prize Fighter Lured and Shot
Down in Dark Corridor of His
New York Cabaret by Two
Gangsters, Former Patrons
State Trooper Who Followed
Slayers After Fatal Shot Is
Victim of Gunmen's Bullets
Which Were Aimed at Actress

"BILL" BRENNAN, pugilist,
shot to death by gangsters in
his New York cafe yesterday.

Bill Brennan

By James Whitaker.

_ NEW YORK, June 15. -
"Bill" Brennan, the pugilist,
was enticed into a black corri-
dor outside his Tia Juana cab-
aret, at Broadway and 171st
st., early today, and was shot
to death by two armed thugs.
_ The killers are in the hands of
the police, and refuse in sullen si-
lence to tell what grudge out of
Brennan's pugilistic past demand-
ed the life of the man who had
come to be known in Washington
Heights as the "fighter without an
_ Indeed two lives paid that score.
the two men seeking to escape
after the first crime from determined
pursuit by Brennan's beautiful act-
ress sister and James Cullen, his
friend, shot once toward the voice
of the woman, and the bullet brought
Cullen down with a fatal wound in
the neck. Cullen, who is a war vet-
eran and state trooper, died this
afternoon in Columbus hospital.
_ _Both Have Criminal Records.
_ The prisoners now held by the
police on the double murder charge
are james Hughes and Frank Rossi.
_ Each name is one of countless
aliases, both men having criminal
records in which are included matri-
cide and the whole list of minor
crimes of violence.
_ The crime, which was accurately
timed by its perpetrators to coincide
with the closing of the tia Juana
after the Saturday night rush, failed
iin the matter of subsequent escape
only through the remarkable hero-
ism of Bill Brennan's sister, whose
stage name of Shirley Sherman is
well known in theatrical circles.
_ She last appeared in the Shubert
musical comedy, "The Lady in Er-
mine," in which she had a promi-
nent singing and dancing part. Since
the closing of that production she
has been acting as chief entertainer
in the Tia Juana, an occupation to
which her stage success made her
professionally superior and which
she undertook only to help Brother
Bill's bank account across to the
profit side.
_ _Sister Seated With Brennan.
_ The girl, who has been making
her home with Brennan, Mrs. Mary
Brennan and Brennan's 3-year-old
daughter, ever since Brennan
marked his definite retirement from
the ring two months ago by the
purchase of the Tia Juana, was
seated with Brennan in the cabaret
at 3:30 a.m.
_ During the evening the two men
under arrest had been undesired
guests in the cabaret.
_ Shirley was congratulating her
brother on the receipts from the
crowd, which had then thinned down
to two or three belated couples, and
also on the fact that the "two
strangers" had been among the first
to leave.
_ Then Harry Kennedy, the assistant
manager, brought whispered word
that "those two bums" were demand-
ing audience with the boss in the
_ Brennan rose with that same heavy
good-natured determination with
which he twice faced a world's cham-
pion and reassured his sister:
_ "I'll take care of them - easy."
_ _ Meet in Dark Corridor.
_ There were no eye-witnesses to the
shooting. Alone in the dark cor-
ridor which runs the length of the
Flat Iron Building in which the
Tia Juana occupies a corner of the
second and top floor, Brennan met
his opponents. The sister heard
voices mounting in the crescendo of
_ The two shots fired into Brennan
at six-inch range entered his body in
the chest and abdomen.
_ The corridor in which Shirley, a
moment later, stumbled over the ex-
tended body of her brother as she
gave chase, is not the regular en-
trance to the cabaret, but leads to a
distant flight of steps and the busi-
ness exit from the building. In
that fact and also in the fact that
the two murderers sat for several
hours in the cabaret before the crime
the police find the basis of their
theory that the crime was well con-
sidered and put into execution only
after weeks of study of the prem-
ises on which it was committed.
_ _ Sister in Pursuit.
_ Down the corridor fled the two
gunmen with a courageous girl at
their heels. Behind her and shout-
ing to the crazed women to let him
pass came Cullen. But the girl was
a marionette on the string of an
instinct which told her to leap, as
she came to the corridor's bending,
and tackle the hindmost of the
bandits. This was Hughes, owner
of the gun.
_ And, as the slim bare arms en-
tangled him and he found himself
facing defeat by a girl in an evening
gown, he turned and shot once more,
blindly, to the rear. The move of
his shoulder flung Shirley to safety
behind an angle made by the plaster
walls of the ywo confluing corridors.
The bullet found its mark in Cullen.
_ The two men, having thus disposed
of their pursuers, ran down the stair-
way leading to the Broadway en-
trance to the building and there,
using a heavy glass ash tray, later
identified as property of the cabaret,
battered their way through thick
plate glass in the locked door. They
emerged to fall into the arms of
Lieut. John F. Haggerty of the
Highbridge station, who was walking
through Broadway to his home. hag-
gerty, knowing nothing of the char-
acter of his quarry except that their
act was obviously criminal, grappled
with them and was felled. He was
knocked unconscious by a blow from
the same glass ash tray which had
served to batter through the glass
_ For the next few seconds the way
of escape was clear.
_ The fugitives profited by stopping
and commandeering, at gun's point,
an automobile in which fred Marx
was driving two friends to a Sunday
of fishing off the Jersey coast.
_ Meanwhile, however, the swift
process of police intervention had
been completed, a telephone call
having been relayed to the two po-
trolmen. These two, in a com-
mandeered taxicab, cornered Marx'
car just as marx had decided to obey
Hughes' command, backed by a gun:
_ "Step on it before I kill you."
_ Hughes and Rossi made violent re-
sistance to capture and were brought
to a police station in a bruised and
subdued state. When brought out
of their cells to be taken to police
headquarters for finger-printing, the
two men again fought viciously and
were again subdued. They will be
arraigned in Homicide Court tomor-
_ Hughes' record includes two sen-
tences served in Sing Sing and he
was at the time of the crime a fugi-
tive from justice on charges that he
killed his sister and mother. Rossi
is also wanted in Guttenberg, N.J.,
where he is known as Terrence
O'Neill, on the charge that he at-
tacked a young girl of that town.
_ Detectives were unable to advance
their search for the crime's motive
very far. At the cabaret, indica-
tions were found that liquor had
been served on the premises. In the
kitchen a barrel full of smashed
whiskey bottles started the rumor
that the cause of the shooting was a
bootlegger's feud. However, it was
pointed out that the bottles were
more probably smashed by some
zealous waiter in the cabaret, since
the crime brought the police swarm-
ing into the place. The storeroom
in which liquor was said to be kept
is a small room located at the end
of the corridor down wich the gun-
men fled.
_ _ Detectives See Grudge.
_ One of the detectives working in
the case said:
_ "This is not a flareup or some
fight over a supper check, as some
have stated. Those shots paid off
some old grudge and we're going to
have to look back in Bill's life to
find their cause."
_ The Tia Juana cabaret is a small
dance resort occupying one part of
the building. Its neighbors on the
same floor are a poolroom and sev-
eral real estate and lawyers' offices.
_ Brennan bought the place two
months ago with money earned in
Coney Island, where Brennan owned
another cabaret.
_ _ "Lamb Among Wolves."
_ Brennan's purchase of the place
was considered foolish by his wiser
Broadway friends. Indeed, he had
among them the reputation of a
lamb among Broadway wolves, and
the Tia Juana was considered one
incident in the process of his
_ Brennan's fortune came from one
hundred and twenty-one purses for
as many fights in which he figured
during his ring career. he was 31
years old, too old for the ring, too
young for Broadway.
_ His heroic sister and his wife
were both in states of collapse today,
the sister's condition being serious.
They were attended at the Brennan
home. Brennan has two brothers.
One, in Chicago, who has been noti-
fied and is on his way east. The
other is in Europe.

Bill Brennan Won Fame in
Chicago's Boxing Circles.

_ Until he started winning fame as a
pugilist, Bill Brennan was a Chica-
goan and a familian figure in North
Clark st. sporting circles.
_ His right name was Bill Shanks.
It is under that name that he was
known to Chicagoans. For several
years he worked as a bartender in
various North Side saloons and
cafes, including the old Puritan, the
Erie and Mcgovern's.
Brennan's native fighting ability
first attracted the attention of
"Tommy" Hanley, Forty-second
Ward politician and former prize
fight trainer. Hanley obtained sev-
eral minor matches against heavy-
weights for Shanks at clubs in and
around Chicago.
_ The young fighter bowled over
his opponents as quickly as they
were placed before him. hanley,
not caring to devote his entire time
to guiding his pprotege's ring ca-
reer, recommended him to Lee
Flynn, successful New York mana-
ger of prize fighters.
_ Flynn quickly recognized Bren-
nan's chances of success as a
fighter and accepted his manage-
ment. his first act was to change
the Chicagoan's ring name from
Shanks to Brennan as more typi-
cally suggestive of aggressiveness.
_ Brennan rapidly gained rank in
the forefront of American pugilists,
his carrer coming to a climax in a
sensational fight with jack Dempsey
in madison Square garden, New
York. Until the sudden knockout
that ended the fight, Brennan had
the champion in acute distress sev-
eral times.
_ Although Brennan moved his home
to New York several years ago, he
made frequent visits to Chicago
_ Among the leading boxers that
Brennan met are:
_ Jack Clifford, Battling Levinsky,
Tom Cowler, Tom McMahon, bart-
ley madden, Joe Bonde, Homer
Smith, Bob Devere, Jack Burke,
Andy Schmader, Billy Miske, Harry
Greb, dan O'Dowd, sailor Petrosky,
Hugh Walker, Bob Roper, Bands-
man Rice, bob Martin, Floyd John-
son and Luis Angel Firpo.
_ It was Firpo's knockout of Bren-
nan in twelve rounds that "made"
the "Wild Bull of the Pampas" in
the United States.


Russian Flappers Use Noose and
Ax to Subdue Victim; Gey
5-Year Prison term

_ LENINGRAD, Russia, June 15. -
Envy of a girl companion because
she was able to wear expensive
clothes caused Mary Poutzykina, 16,
and Nadya Feodorova, 17, to kill
Mary Goustshenkove, 18, the daugh-
ter of a postoffice official.
_ The two girls lured Mary Goust-
shenkove to their home, threw a
noose over her head, strangled her,
and then stripped her of her cloth-
ing and jewelry.
_ Finding their victim still showed
signs of life one of the girls slashed
her with a penknife. When she
still struggled the other girl got
an ax and completed the murder.
_ The decapitated body was hidden
in a neighboring street, where it
was found by the police.
_ The two girls were immediately
placed on trial and sentenced to five
years imprisonment.

Herald Examiner
JUNE 16, 1924

MONDAY, JUNE 16, 1924

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