2004-09-16 / Little Old Canarsie

Canarsie Shoot-out, Circa 1925

Current photo of Remsen Avenue near train trestle. At one time there was a bar and cabaret there but, because of the trains, no one complained of the noise.             Current photo of Remsen Avenue near train trestle. At one time there was a bar and cabaret there but, because of the trains, no one complained of the noise. Charles Rogers

When the city opened Remsen Avenue around 1925, and lots all along it were sold at a cheap price, among the buyers was Patsy Moodzi, who built a small house on it and opened a small gas station in front for an easy route to and from the city.

As more people came to Little Old Canarsie, and President Frank-lin Roosevelt had promised when elected to have the prohibition-law repealed, he, along with Con-gress, legalized the sale of wines, liquor and beer on or about May of 1933. It was then Patsy decided to do away with the gas station and opened up a bar and cabaret, which was right alongside of the L.I.R.R. and would not get any complaints of too much noise from the neighborhood.



After a couple of years, Patsy sold the business to one of the famous fighters from Brownsville - the late Al (Bummy) Davis-who with his brother-in-law had just about taken over when the place was held up by three or four gunmen. When this happened, one of New York’s finest, Patrol-man Edwin Fritz, had stopped in to see his friend George Miller, the bartender, both of them well known Canarsie boys. At this time, it was kind of bad for a commissioner dismissed over three hundred times to be seen in patronizing the places.

When these fellows walked in, Eddie was quick enough to drop his gun among some empty cases of bottles, for if they searched everyone and found out he was a cop, they might have killed him, so while one jumped over the bar to grab the money in the till, Al Davis pleaded with the leader to take it easy as his brother-in-law had just taken over the place. He was told to shut-up and stay where he was, but he followed them out of the place and Eddie Fritz quickly grabbed his gun and went out after them. Lots of shooting went on, and poor Al Davis fell mortally wounded. And it was thought that they got away.

The next day, Eddie was suspended for being in the place and letting them get away. Everything looked pretty bad for Eddie and his lovely wife, Charlotte. In the excitement of his being suspended, she fell and broke her arm. Then came some good news over the radio and in the press. It seems one of the hold-up team had been shot by Eddie Fritz and had a friend trying to cure his bullet wound when finally he had to go to the hospital, where they removed it and was found to have come form Eddie’s gun. Another one of the stickup guys had been driven out west by a pair of friends. He also had a bullet of Eddie’s in his spine and was paralyzed form it.

A detective from the 69th Pre-cinct had to fly out west and bring him back for trial. I think the detective was the popular Lou Wirtz of the 69th Squad. Then what a different attitude of the Mayor, the late Fiorello LaGuardia, who heaped lots of praise and awarded a medal on the City-Hall steps to Eddie of New York’s finest for doing a great job.

John Denton

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