In 1886 Danny Driscoll, who was co-leader of the Whyos gang was approached by 18 year old Bridget “Beezy” Garrity, who claimed she had been cheated by the owner of a bar operating within the Whyos territory in the Five Points in Lower Manhattan.
Daniel “Danny” Driscoll was co-leader of the Whyos gang along with Danny Lyons. The two held joint control over the street gang following the death of Mike McGloin in 1883. They were the last powerful leaders of the organization and after their downfall, the Whyos were eventually replaced by the Monk Eastman and Five Points Gangs.
When he was growing up in a Five Points Driscoll gained a considerable criminal record. By the time he had become a young adult he had been arrested 25 times for things like stabbings and shootings, he served a combined 16 years in prison.
He had become a prominent member of the Whyos by the early 1880s, at the time the most dominant street gang in the city, and became leader of the organization with Danny Lyons. In 1885, he was forced to leave the city and he spent some time on the West Coast before returning to New York in 1886.
Although Drsicoll had been previously barred from the bar he arrived at the bar with Bridget. Driscoll who had been barred by the bouncer John McCarthy, sent Garrity ahead to get in and let Driscoll in later. However, there was a some history and animosity between Driscoll & McCarthy though, two years earlier McCarthy had fired two shots at Driscoll in an attempt to kill him. John McCarthy spotted Driscoll outside and attempted to close the door. Driscoll was able to block the door open with his arm and, during the struggle, McCarthy allegedly drew his gun.
According to news accounts, Bridget “Beezy” Garrity attempted to stop McCarthy from using his gun. Alerted by her cries, Driscoll took out his own gun and tried to shoot McCarthy. His first shot hit the wall. Both McCarthy and Garrity ran, with Garrity going to the back room. As Driscoll entered the darkened hallway, Garrity ran out from a door leading from the back room. Driscoll apparently thought that this was McCarthy and fired into the dark, hitting Garrity in the body.
He fled the area but was pursued by police that arrived at the bar. Several warning shots were fired, but he did not stop. A search of the area was conducted and he was eventually found by police who found him hiding in an empty apartment. Garrity was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital, where she died that afternoon. Before she died, she identified McCarthy as her attacker. She told them John McCarthy had shot her, but the police had already confiscated McCarthy’s revolver and saw that it had not recently been fired.
“Do you know that you probably are going to die?” the police captain asked.
“Well, I ain’t going back on Dan, all the same,” she answered, “’twas McCarthy shot me.”
Beezy’s mother came in and tried to persuade her daughter not to die with a lie on her lips.
“I won’t split on Dan,” Beezy said, “McCarthy fired the pistol.”
The Catholic priest each tried to get her to tell the truth, but in each case she stuck to her story, murmuring in her dying breath that McCarthy had shot her.
Beezy Garrity’s dying statement didn’t condemn Dan Driscoll, but the prosecutors felt there was enough evidence to charge Driscoll with her murder.
On the morning of June 28, Driscoll and McCarthy were taken to the Tombs Police Court. They appeared friendly but once court was in session however, both men blamed each other for Garrity’s death.
Days before his conviction, Driscoll was moved to “Murderer’s Row” after it was discovered by the warden that Driscoll had been attempting to tunnel out of his cell. On the morning of January 23, 1888, Driscoll was brought to the yard of Tombs Prison, where he was publicly hanged.
Herbert Asbury – The Gangs of New York