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|New York|  Umberto Valenti

Birth: 1895

Death: August 11, 1922












Rocco Valenti was one of the most notorious gunmen in New York during the early 1900's. At first he became a part of the Navy Street Gang under Leopoldo Lauritano and Andrea Ricci before associating himself with the Morello Gang.

Camorra association
At a young age Valenti got involved with crime and hung around Navy Street, which was the main base for a Camorra crew headed by Leopoldo Lauritano. On July 20, 1916, Valenti, along with Navy St. associate Nick Sassi, Tom Pagano and Joe Esposito, were involved in the murder of Joe DeMarco and Charles Lombardi. Valenti reputidly stayed outside the building during the shootout to guard the place. On September 7 that same year he was arrested in a local pool hall for carrying a concealed weapon several hours after the murders of Nicholas Terranova and Charles Ubriaco. However, the young Valenti was later released. On January 26, 1918 Valenti was arrested again in Troy, New York and convicted as an accessory in the murders of DeMarco and Lombardi, serving ten months until his release in November. He also testified on Charles Giordano's behalf in Giordino's trial in March 1919.

The D'Aquila alliance
Following the aftermath of the Mafia-Camorra War in 1918, Valenti, now considered one of the best gunmen in New York and suspected in the murders of over twenty gangsters, had become a member of the Morello gang. However, Sicilian boss of bosses Salvatore D'Aquila began to challenge the Morello gang in an attempt to whipe them out, by this Valenti had also became a target. D'Aquila was backed by several Mafia bosses including Joseph Lonardo, the Cleveland boss, and Frankie Yale. Valenti tried to safe his life by eventually siding with D'Aquila. He was ordered to kill Joe Masseria, a leading enforcer of the Morello's at the time. Valenti tried to murder Masseria a couple of times, but each time he and his men failed. Thanks to the failing murder attempts the only thing they got out of it was the increasing fame of Masseria in the Italian underworld. On May 10, 1922, Valenti and gunman Silva Tagliagamba ambushed Masseria but failed again. The unsuccessful murder attempt did wound Tagliagamba who later died in June. On August 9, 1922 Valenti once again attempted to kill Masseria on Second Avenue and, after killing both of Masseria's bodyguards, followed him into a local millinery store where Masseria managed to escape. However, in 1922 Valenti did succeed in murdering Morello's cousin Vincent Terranova.

Masseria eventualy had enough and made it clear that he wanted to make peace with Valenti. As Valenti walked towards the meeting, which would be held at John's restaurant, he started to realise he had been set up and attempted to escape. Suddenly a couple of Masseria's gunmen, amongst them Salvatore Lucania, opened fire. During the shootout, in which an eight year old girl and a street cleaner were injured, Valenti was murdered as he jumped onto a moving taxi. Joe Masseria was immediatly arrested afterwards and was charged with the murder. However, on August 13, 1922, he was released on bail. The period Valenti was murdered were violent days as on August 12, A day after Valenti's death, another murder occured when a 40 year old man named Ignazio La Barbara was shot in the neck only one block away from the Valenti shooting.


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