Joseph Strephone, a builder and contractor, of 158 East 113th Street, one of the
most influential Italians in Harlem's Little Italy, who had helped the police
trace many a crime among the law-breakers there, said to a friend a week ago, on
learning of the assassination of a wine merchant who lived near him:
"I'll be the next one to get it."
Last night he called with his father at his saloon at Second Avenue and 113th
Street, and spent half an hour chatting with his brother, Matty, the barkeeper,
Albert Maher, and several others. Then he started to go home. He stepped through
the front door, and an instant later staggered back, exclaiming: "I'm shot."
"Who shot you?" cried Matty, springing toward him.
"I don't know," stammered Strephone. "I did not see a soul."
"His cousin, Joseph Jarrito, who has a fruit stand in front of the store, helped
carry him into the saloon. He declared that, though he had seen him fall, he did
not hear a sound.
An elevated train, he said, passed just about that time, and this had probably
drowned the sounds of the shots. Besides, as there had been considerable Fourth
of July shooting in the neighborhood, he might have missed noticing the
They carried Strephone into the inner room of the saloon, where he died before a
surgeon from the Harlem Hospital could reach him. He had been struck by two
bullets, each of which entered his left shoulder near the back and ranged
downward through the heart.
The news of Strephone's death spread quickly through Little Italy, where he was
known to nearly every man, woman, and child. In a few minutes Capt. Corcoran and
the reserves of the East 104th Street Station were on the scene, with their
hands full in quieting the clamorous throng in the street. They made a careful
search of nearby houses and questioned all the people living there, but nowhere
could they find a trace of the murderer or find any one who had even heard the
Detective Archipoli said that as he neared the corner from Jefferson Park he had
heard two faint shots, which may have been the ones that killed Strephone. The
police were inclined to think the shots were fired from a rifle from the upper
story of a building.
Strephone, they say, had almost unlimited political power among his country-men
in that district and was known as the well-spring of all political jobs there-abouts.
He was an associate, they say, of Paul Kelly years ago, and knew every gang in
Harlem. Because of this special acquaintanceship, as well as of his familiarity
with all the methods and conditions among the Italians, gained in a residence of
twenty-five years in the quarter he had become one of the chief allies of the
police in tracking crime in the district.
Only a month ago his father, also a man of power in the neighborhood, was
accosted by a stranger at the very spot where last night his son was shot. The
"You are Joseph's father, are you not?"
When the old man replied that he was the stranger whipped out a razor and
slashed him across the face, crying: "Then take that!" He was never caught.
Only an hour before Strephone went to the saloon he had appeared at the East
104th Street Station to give bail for Francesco Carillo and his wife of 226 East
111th Street, the former of whom was charged with assault, for pulling the hair
of Mrs. George Gallo of 252 East 110th Street, and the latter with felonious
assault for biting Mrs. Gallo in the arm. Gallo, the police say, was present at
the time of the quarrel.
No arrests had been made early this morning.