Saturday, June 18, 2016

Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll

Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll (born Uinseann Ó Colla, July 20, 1908 – February 8, 1932) was an Irish mob hitman in 1920s New York City.

Dutch Schultz needed ruthless, violent young men with a talent for intimidation and killing. Vincent Coll had all of that in spades and started out as an enforcer for Schultz when he was still in his mid-teens. In 1929, without Schultz's permission, Coll robbed a dairy in the Bronx of $17,000. Schultz later confronted Coll about robbery, but rather than being apologetic, Coll demanded to be an equal partner; Schultz declined.

By January 1930, Coll had formed his own gang and was engaged in a shooting war with Schultz. On July 28, 1931, Coll unsuccessfully attempted to kidnap Joey Rao, a Dutch Schultz underling. The resulting shootout left a five year old child dead and several children wounded. After this, New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker dubbed Coll “Mad Dog”.

Coll retained famed defense lawyer Samuel Leibowitz to fight charges on the Vengalli killing. Leibowitz destroyed the credibility of the prosecution's main witness, George Brecht, a man who made a covert living as a witness at trials. In December 1931, Coll was acquitted.

Dutch Schultz and Owney Madden put a $50,000 bounty on Vincent Coll's head.

On February 1, 1932, four or five gunmen invaded a Bronx apartment which Coll was rumored to frequent and opened fire with pistols and submachine guns. Three were killed and three others were wounded. Mad Dog himself did not show up until thirty minutes after the shooting.

A week after the Bronx shootings, at 12:30 a.m. on February 8, Mad Dog Coll was using a phone booth in the London Chemists drug store at Eighth Avenue and 23rd Street. He was reportedly talking to Madden, demanding $50,000 from the gangster under the threat of kidnapping his brother-in-law. Madden kept Coll on the line while the call was traced.

Three men soon arrived in a dark limousine. While one waited behind the wheel, two others stepped out. One of them waited outside while the other walked inside, drew a Thompson submachine gun from under his overcoat and opened fire on Coll in the glass phone booth.

A total of fifteen bullets were dug out of Vincent Coll's body at the morgue.

Dutch Schultz
Vincent Coll leaving homicide court surrounded by police officers, 1931