THE END FOR LITTLE AUGIE – OCTOBER 16, 1927
A mere 34 years old at the time of his death, Jacob “Little Augie” Orgen was already a legend. He started his career in the early 1910s as a labor slugger under the equally legendary Benjamin “Dopey Benny” Fein, survived the three labor slugger wars and outlived fierce rivals like Nathan “Kid Dropper” Kaplan and Johnny Spanish. With the advent of Prohibition, Orgen expanded his empire to include ambitious gunmen and future organized crime legends like Jack “Legs” Diamond, Louis “Lepke” Buchalter and Jacob “Gurrah” Shapiro, the latter two being instrumental in the formation of the infamous Murder, Inc.
Unfortunately for Orgen, it would be his contentment with arcane labor slugging and not having the ambition to infiltrate and take over labor unions that likely lead to his final betrayal.
While walking with bodyguard Diamond down Delancey and Norfolk streets around 8:30 p.m., Orgen was ambushed by two assailants, reputed to be Buchalter and Shapiro. A dozen shots were fired at Diamond and Orgen before they could run. Orgen was killed instantly by a bullet through the right temple. A wounded Diamond managed to return fire and hit the getaway car, which was later found abandoned.
A former police captain had ran into Orgen two weeks before his slaying and had urged the gangster to leave New York.
“If you want to live, go west to some small town and settle down there,” the captain reportedly said. “You’ve been a man-slayer and it’ll come back to you, if you don’t get out of the way.”
“I’ve been going straight,” Orgen laughed. “I’ve cut out all that stuff and I want them to forget me.”1
- “Bury ‘Little Augie’ Today Under Guard” The New York Times, October 17, 1927