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Shakedown in Reno Escalates (Part 1)

Shakedown in Reno Escalates (Part 1)

1944-1945 A thug’s confrontation of a casino owner on October 30, 1944 radically altered both of their lives. Andrew Jackson “Jack” Blackman, co-proprietor of the Town House gambling saloon* in Reno, left his business for the night at about 2:30 a.m. and went into the Bank Club** to see his good friend, Walter Parman, the manager. He noticed Edward “Swede” Olsen and three ex-convicts — James Lannigan, Joe Devine (aka Joe Frisco) and George “Pretty Boy” Hilliard — sitting at the bar. As Blackman, 32, was passing them, Lannigan, 39, said to him, “Come here. I want to see you.” When Blackman replied he was busy and kept moving, his summoner grabbed him by the sleeve and yanked him toward him. “Am I coming across or not?” Lannigan queried, in other words asking whether Blackman was going to give him the money he wanted. “Are you trying to high hat me?” “No,” Blackman asserted. “I’ll kill you,” Lannigan said, among other threats.  He reached into one pocket, then another, and slugged Blackman in the face while saying, “You’re gonna come over.” A stunned and reeling Blackman pulled his .38-caliber Colt revolver and shot at Lannigan five times. Two of the […]

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