If this conversation occurred, and
there’s no reason to believe it didn’t, it was another indication that Rosenthal had no intention of going to Whitman’s office in a few hours.
Rosenthal was going to take the money and run.At about 1:20 a.m., Rosenthal exited the Hotel Metropole, and from a newsboy out fronthe bought seven copies of the morning edition of the
New York World
, in which Rosenthal’s
story was splattered across the front page. He went back into the Café Metropole, sat at his table,and his shirt buttons bursting with pride, Rosenthal showed his pals the front page of thenewspaper.
“How’s that for a headline?” Rosenthal said to anyone who’d listen.
Right about then, a strange thing happened outside the Hotel Metropole. For no apparentreason, a police lieutenant, not named Becker, started shooing people away from the entrance of the hotel -
including cars that were in the vicinity of the hotel’s entrance. Some of these cars
were cabbies waiting for a late-night fare and they protested some, but not too much.About 1:30 a.m., a New York City newspaper received an anonymous phone call, asking,
“Is Rosenthal dead yet?”
The person was never identified, but at 10 minutes before two, a well-dressed manentered the Café Metropole and told Rosenthal that someone was waiting for him outside thehotel. Without question and with a huge smile on his face, Rosenthal immediately departed thehotel - as if he had expected such a request.As soon as his feet hit the pavement outside, four men (later identified by Bald Jack Rose
as “Big Jack” Zelig’s henchmen Harry “Gyp the Blood” Horowitz, Frank “Whitey Lewis”Muller, Lewis “Lefty” Rosenberg and Frank “Dago Frank” Ciroficci
) rushed up to Rosenthal andopened fire. Five shots blasted into Rosenthal, all which could have been fatal. But the one thathit him over the bridge of his nose and entered his brain killed Rosenthal instantly.A comedy of errors ensued, as it was obvious to all in the vicinity of the Hotel Metropolethat a murder had been committed.The four shooters jumped back into the gray Packard, and ordered the driver, LouisShapiro, to hightail it out of there quick, or suffer the same fate as Rosenthal. Shapiro did as hewas told, and the killers escaped down Forty-Third Street. Even though there were fivepolicemen within a few yards of where Rosenthal lay dead, not one of them attempted to stop thegetaway car. In fact, all five policemen later gave a different license plate number for the car.And oddly, none of the policemen immediately went over to where Rosenthal was lying dead, tosee the identity of the victim.The first responding officer was Policeman William J. File, who was off-duty at the timeand drinking with friends at the Café Metropole when he heard the shots. As Policeman Fileascertained that Rosenthal was indeed dead, a known gambler pushed his way through the crowd
surrounding Rosenthal’s body. The man bent down, stared into Rosenthal’s unseeing eyes andsaid, “Hello Herman.” Then the man straightened up, smiled, and said, “Goodbye Herman.”
Just as quickly as the man appeared, he disappeared into the crowd.
The news of Rosenthal’s murder spread like wildfire throughout New York City. At 2:30
a.m., Police Commissioner Waldo was awaken at home and told Rosenthal had been murdered.Waldo briefly entertained the thought of waking Mayor Gaynor and telling him the bad news,
but then he decided a good night’s sleep was more important, and he went back to bed.
Herbert Bayard Swope was up and about when he heard the news about Rosenthal.Swope immediately rushed to the 16th Precinct on West Forty-Seventh Street to find out thedetails. He was not too shocked to discover that the police were bumbling along, not even being