|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2007)|
Abraham "Abe" Landau (December 25, 1895 – October 24, 1935) was the chief henchman for New York gangster Dutch Schultz. Landau was Schultz's most trusted employee, often given tasks that required coolness and cunning rather than gunfire and brutality. It is very likely that he never actually killed anyone during his gang years.
Landau, along with Schultz, Otto Berman, and Lulu Rosenkrantz, was shot to death on the night of October 23, 1935, in a Newark diner called The Palace Chophouse. Since fleeing New York, Schultz had converted the back room of the Chophouse into his hideout, and held regular meetings there with his associates.
Schultz had excused himself to the bathroom when Charles Workman, aka "Charlie the Bug," Emmanuel Weiss, and a third, unidentified man known to this day only by his alias Piggy, hitmen working for Albert Anastasia's Murder, Inc., entered the back room. Accounts of what happened next vary from person to person; what is known for certain is that Emmanuel Weiss carried a sawn-off twelve gauge shotgun loaded with buckshot, and Charles Workman was armed with a .38 special revolver and a .45 automatic loaded with rust-coated bullets. It is unknown whether or not "Piggy" was armed, if he fired any bullets, or if he was simply the getaway driver.
The most accepted story has Emmanuel Weiss and Charles Workman opening fire on the three men they found there: Berman, Landau, and Rosenkrantz. In the bathroom, Schultz apparently heard the shots but had difficulty cutting off his urine stream to come to his men's aid.
Charles Workman opened fire with his .38; before either of the Schultz gunners had been able to get off a single shot, Charles Workman had re-loaded his .38 twice, and all twelve bullets hit their marks: five bullets entered Rosenkrantz, from his chest down; four went through Berman's neck (which exited the side of his face), wrist, elbow, and shoulder; and three struck Landau, in the wrist, right arm, and left shoulder (which exited the right side of his neck, severing an artery). In addition, Weiss shot Rosenkrantz twice from long-distance with the shotgun (ricocheting pellets even ripped apart one of his shoes), and shot Berman once in the torso.
Workman found Schultz in the bathroom, trying to finish up his business at the urinal. With his free hand, Schultz reached for a three-and-a-half-inch "Chicago Spike" style switchblade knife, the only weapon he had on him at the time; he'd been intending it to be an uneventful evening and had been planning on returning soon to the hotel room he was sharing with his wife. Before Schultz could retrieve his knife, Workman fired off two shots from his .45; one missed, one struck Schultz slightly below the heart. The bullet ricocheted off a bone, damaging his spleen, stomach, colon, liver, and gall bladder before tearing out his back; it is likely that the rust off of the casing entered his blood stream in the process.
Workman returned to the back room, whereupon he discovered that Mendy Weiss had run out of the Palace Chophouse, followed miraculously by Rosenkrantz and Abe Landau, the latter of whom was clutching his neck to stop the spray of blood from his severed artery. Landau fired all the bullets from his .45, none of which did any serious damage to his targets; as Weiss and Piggy sped away in the getaway car, Landau sat down on a trash can outside the door of the Palace Chophouse. Rosenkrantz finally collapsed, his body ripped open from two shotgun blasts and five bullets. Workman stepped over Rosenkrantz and ran into the night.
Shortly after Workman had fled, Dutch Schultz, clutching his side, staggered out, not wanting to be found dead with his pants unzipped on the floor of a men's room. He picked up his hat, staggered back to his seat, sat down, and slumped over the table. He called for someone to get an ambulance; Rosenkrantz dutifully pulled himself to his feet, and rather than go immediately to the phone booth near the bar, he demanded that the bartender — who had hid behind the register the entire duration of the shootout — change his quarter for five nickels; Rosenkrantz didn't want the phone company getting twenty more cents than they were owed. Rosenkrantz called for an ambulance before collapsing against the wall of the phone booth.
When ambulances arrived, the first man they found was Abe Landau, still sitting on the trash can, his arms dangling at his sides and blood faintly coming out of his neck. His last bits of strength were used to give the police a fake name and address before he expired of blood loss, shortly after twelve a.m. on the morning of October 24.