Hellburner In Rumble, or Not?

Before you get to the article…

On February 23, 2018, my book on the Mau Maus and Sand Street Angels, who were two Brooklyn youth gangs from the 1950s, has been completed.  It took 15 years of research and writing to complete Brooklyn Rumble: Mau Maus, Sand Street Angels, and the End of an Era.  This book is roughly 6″x9″ and has 370 pages and includes a look at the characters in the Mau Maus and the details of a gang killing that happened in February 1959 in front of the iconic Brooklyn Paramount Theater (now Long Island University).  If you want to buy a copy, click here and this link will take you to an online ordering page.


On another page on this website, the court-ordered diary of a Hellburner by the nickname of “Loco,” was presented, click here for more details.  As mentioned on this page, the diary was dry reading, except for two spots.  One of them I will quote again here and was found on July 12, 1960:

“…I went to a friends House till about 8:30 and got Home then I went to buy a newspaper and I got pick up by the police and went to court the next day got a dismissal case…”

Unfortunately, the details are rather paltry about what “Loco” got picked up for, and if it hadn’t been for another source shedding more light on this particular entry, we might never know what it was about.  It turns out that this Hellburner was very nearly pinched for an incident that had all the hallmarks of a gang fight, which could have been a big problem seeing as he was on probation for an earlier incident – or more truthfully incidents – of breaking into Eastern District High School with some cronies of his.

The incident was described as follows:

The complaint was that the defendant and 11 co-defendants and 4 juveniles at 10 P.M. on July 12, 1960, in a park located at Lee Avenue and Roebling Street, with intent to provoke a breach of the peace and under circumstances whereby a breach of the peace might be occasioned, engaged in an altercation with each other, running about the said park as well as the street and sidewalk thereat, causing annoyance to persons using the facilities of the said park, interfering with pedestrians on the sidewalk and motorists in adjacent streets.  The Officer could not state just what part, if any, this P. played in the proceedings or if he was in anyone else’s company when picked up…  None of the 16 youths and juveniles arrested were armed although police suspected a “rumble” was in prospect…

Taking a quick look at the map, there are two parks at Roebling and Lee, kitty corner to each other.  I’m not sure which park it was that they were causing the fracas at, but here is the bigger of the two as it looks today.

roebling playground


This was only two blocks away from the heart of Hellburner turf, so it could have been that the Phantom Lords had paid them a visit and the police were able to break up the rumble before anything serious happened.  “Loco” told the police he wasn’t involved and was merely entering a candy store to buy a newspaper.  Of course he would say this because if he were involved in a rumble, he could be sent to jail or prison for not following probation.  The judge dismissed the charges against all of the boys so this Hellburner escaped a close call.  The last word I will leave to the note of an authority involved in the case who made a skeptical comment on “Loco,” denying he was involved in the incident and only happened to be picked up with the other gang members while buying a newspaper:

Note from investigator on Hellburner

“and was only minding his own business!?”