Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Patrolman Walter Oliver DeCastillia

New York City Police Department, New York

End of Watch Saturday, March 15, 1930

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Patrolman Walter Oliver DeCastillia

Rest easy

Mark Mottola

March 15, 2020

A look back, 90 years later, at cop killed in Brooklyn; mobster charged but never prosecuted

Posted New York Daily News on Mar 14, 2020

Elaine Hough, great niece of NYPD Patrolman Walter DeCastillia holds a photos of him.

Patrolman Walter DeCastillia’s slaying in Brooklyn on March 15, 1930 — one of the oldest cop killings in which no one was brought to justice — still haunts the city and his family.

“I was not even born when it happened," said Elaine Hough, a great-niece who now lives in Texas. "The only thing I know is from what my mother told us. He was supposed to be off that day and supposedly another police officer was on the take and knew what would happen and didn’t come in to work.”

Ninety years ago, the killing was anything but a stone-cold whodunnit.

On the day of his killing, DeCastillia — assigned to the 84th Precinct, then on Poplar St. in Brooklyn Heights — was sent to the Martin-Weinstein Shoe Co. on York St., in what is now DUMBO. His assignment was to stand guard as cash was moved from a bank to the company’s sixth-floor offices so employees could process the payroll, stuffing brown envelopes with cash.

Four or five gunman showed up, stepping from the elevator and opening fire.

DeCastillia reached for his holster but couldn’t grab his gun in time. Shot, he hit the ground, then got to his knees in a second attempt to grab his weapon. He was shot again and killed — the seventh of 19 cops killed in the line of duty that year.

“This murder is another indication of the wanton disregard of the young gunmen of today for life and limb,” Police Commissioner Grover Whalen said. “They gave the officer no chance to defend himself.”

The suspects drove off in a getaway car, but left behind $7,267, the Daily News wrote, and police speculated DeCastillia, a nine-year veteran with a wife, child and clean service record, was the victim of a personal grudge.

That lead never panned out, but another one led to then 20-year-old Carmine Galante, a rising star in organized crime. He was busted in August 1930, but charges were dropped against the eventual Bonanno crime family boss over lack of evidence.

Four others with mob links were also charged but never prosecuted, including Michael Consolo, who became Galante’s bodyguard, and Angelo Presinzano, Galante’s cousin.

Galante wound up doing 10 years in prison after he was arrested in December 1930 for shooting and wounding an NYPD detective — and a 6-year-old girl — after another attempted payroll heist at a brewery in Bushwick, according to a News account.

But the NYPD apparently did not make any subsequent arrests in DeCastillia’s murder.

And in 1979, Galante, once the most intriguing suspect and then known as “The Cigar," was killed in a classic ambush, gunned down, with two others, while having lunch on the back patio of Joe & Mary’s Restaurant on Knickerbocker Ave. in Bushwick. His cigar was still in his mouth when he died.

Hough, born in Bedford-Stuyvesant and a retired Nassau County Police Department dispatcher, said she and her brother have never forgotten DeCastillia although they never met him.

“Thank you for your service,” she wrote on the Officer Down Memorial Page, an online remembrance for slain police officers. “You paid the ultimate sacrifice and will never be forgotten.”

But she told The News, “It’s really so abstract."

“It’s sad that it happened. It was my grandmother’s brother, but my grandmother died when I was 9 months old," she said.

Her brother Ralph Miller, 75, sees things differently,

“It’s not abstract to me,” he said, " and I’ll tell you why. My mother had his billy club in her house for many, many years. It was long and she had it in the house, on the wall."

“I heard the story from my mother maybe a dozen times through the years,” he told The News. “He [DeCastillia] was her favorite uncle and she was his favorite niece.”

DeCastillia, he always heard, was a clean cop at a time when there was a lot of corruption.

“But he could not be swayed. My mother never wavered on that," he said.

Retired Police Officer
NYPD

March 14, 2020

I can still remember my grandfather telling me about what happened to his father. If only he had the opportunity to see the beautiful lineage he left behind. Thank you for your service, and thank you to all of those who continue to serve.

Debra Fagerstrom
Great Grand-daughter

March 21, 2019

I never knew my grandfather he lost his life before his own son was to share his life with him and his family he was going to have as an only son .walters only son had thee sons and one daughter and from there became many. Always in our life Walter will be with us all . To all the men and women who serve and protect our prayers and respect go to you Respectfully Robert DeCastillia

Robert DeCastillia
Grandson

March 17, 2019

Of the three suspects in officers death--arrested but released due to lack of evidence. All three suspects had ties to organized crime-one was killed in 1968; one was killed in 1979; one died in 1979

t.f.
researcher

July 20, 2018

To Patrolman Walter Oliver DeCastillia, thank you for your service. You paid the ultimate sacrifice and will never be forgotten.
from your great niece,
Elaine Hough

Retired Nassau County Police dispatcher
Great niece

January 15, 2016

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 82nd anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer who was murdered in the the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered.

Rest In Peace.

Phyllis Loya
Mom of fallen California Officer Larry Lasater, Pittsburg PD, eow 4/24/05

March 15, 2012

Walter-
81 years-not forgotten.
RIP

TPF/SCU

March 15, 2011

Another year has passed and you are still admired and respectfully remembered in the hearts and minds of so many. My thoughts and prayers are with your loved ones and friends on this anniversary of your EOW. You will never be forgotten.

James Sheppard
Father of Sgt. Jason L. Sheppard EOW 12/7/06

March 15, 2010

TO THE FAMILY OF PATROLMEN DECASTILLA. AS A FORMER MEMBER OF THE NYPD, I TAKE IT UPON MYSELF TO VISIT THE OFFICER DOWN MEMORIAL PAGE AND LEAVE REFLECTIONS. I AM SURE YOU ARE AWARE THAT "WE WILL NEVER FORGET OUR FALLEN HERO'S" . WE ALL CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR YOU AS A FAMILY. MAY HE REST IN PEACE.

RETIRED DETECTIVE FRANK DEMARCO
NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT

March 15, 2009

I said a little prayer today for Patrolman DeCastillia and his family. He may be gone but never forgotten. He will always be a New York HERO.

Robyn Wilkes

March 9, 2009

YOU ARE REMEMBERED TODAY AND THANK YOU SIR FOR YOUR SERVICE

VANDENBERGHE
MANCHESTER, NH

March 16, 2008

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.