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The Long Island History Project

It’s a long island with a long history. Want to hear it? Interviews with historians, scholars, authors and anyone with a story to tell and a passion for this unique region of New York.

Dec 14, 2020

Over the span of a few short months in 1931, 19-year old Francis Crowley was on the minds of everyone from the Bronx to Long Island. Known for always packing an extra pistol and steeped in life on the streets, Crowley conducted a crime spree that culminated in North Merrick with the murder of Nassau County Patrolman Fred Hirsch. On today's episode, Jerry Aylward relates the whole story as detailed in his book, Francis "Two Gun" Crowley's Killings in New York City & Long Island (History Press, 2020).

Aylward, a former Nassau County detective and criminal investigator for the Department of Homeland Security, provides a look at Crowley's life of petty crime: boosting cars, sticking up drugstores, and haunting the dance halls of Depression-era New York. He also details the work of the Nassau County police, founded in 1925, as they confronted the rising violence around them.

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