When the late Lyndhurst Police Officer Thomas Albino woke up on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 1947, he probably had no idea what he would face later that day. After all, it was 1947 — and life back then was a lot different. Lyndhurst was a most safe community — as it remains to this day.
But it was that Tuesday, 72 years ago, where everything changed for Albino and the Lyndhurst Police Department.
Monday, Aug. 5, was the anniversary of when Albino was shot and killed in the line of duty. He was serving, of all things, an eviction notice, when his life ended so brutally at the age of 41. At the time, Albino was married and had two children.
But as you’ll later learn, the eviction notice Albino was to serve with his brother cops was nothing but ordinary. In fact, in the scariest of ways, there was a prediction that anyone who dared to serve the notice would be killed. More on that later.
In Albino’s memory, the Thomas J. Albino Memorial Park, at Valley Brook Avenue and Orient Way, was redeveloped by the Township of Lyndhurst with the assistance of grant funding. Mayor Robert Giangeruso and Police Chief Richard L. Jarvis oversaw the project.
The Sika Corporation of Lyndhurst, in conjunction with Lyndhurst Police Benevolent Association Local 202, donated a new sign which now includes the departmental patch, the township shield and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial insignia. Additionally, Cambridge of Lyndhurst generously the material for a flower box to house the new sign.
A special re-dedication ceremony took place Monday morning, Aug. 5, at the park.
Now, here’s some more of the back story about what happened Aug. 5, 1947.
Officer Albino, appointed to the department July 1, 1939, and fellow Lyndhurst Police Officer William Brady were accompanied by Charles E. Hill, the sergeant-at-arms of the East Rutherford District Court to serve an eviction notice on Charles Longboat at 244 Clinton Terrace in Lyndhurst.
The 57-year-old Longboat had lived in the house with his 100-year-old foster mother, identified in reports as a Mrs. Antoinette Ditta, for five years without paying rent.
Three weeks earlier, Longboat threatened to kill anyone who tried to evict him. The threat had been made during an eviction hearing brought by the owner of the property, Joseph Adlari, who had tried for several months to evict Longboat.
Sadly, that horrifying threat eventually came to fruition.
When Albino, Brady and Hill knocked on the door, Longboat opened fire without warning, striking Officer Albino. Brady and Hill were eventually joined by Lyndhurst PD Capt. James Bogle, who made a valiant attempt to save Albino through the gunfire.
But Bogle’s attempts were for naught, as Albino had simply lost too much blood. He died en route to Hackensack Hospital.
Brady and Hill had exchanged gunfire with Longboat for nearly a half hour when Longboat suddenly burst through the front door clutching his stomach and collapsed dead in a pool of his own blood. He was covered in a grey powdery substance when he collapsed, a 1947 news report indicated.
Capt. Bogle eventually entered the home and found nearly 70 live rounds of unused bullets. The front windows of the home were completely shattered and the apartment was littered with bullet holes.
Mrs. Ditta, the foster mother, reportedly fled the scene, through a back yard, after police used tear gas to try to force Longboat from the apartment. It is not clear what happened to her ultimately, but the news report did say police did not attempt to apprehend her as she fled.
At the time of the shooting, Albino’s wife and two kids were vacationing on Staten Island at Midland Beach.
“The park will always serve as a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice Officer Albino made serving our community and for the sacrifices all law-enforcement officers make each and every time they put on the uniform and leave their loved ones behind,” Det. Sgt. Vincent Auteri, the Lyndhurst PD’s public information officer said. “We would also like to thank the men and women of the Lyndhurst DPW and Parks Department, and the Lyndhurst Beautification Committee, for the work on this project.”
Albino’s was the fourth — and fortunately, last — line-of-duty death in the department’s history. The other three LODD deaths were Capt. George Cassidy, who died after sustaining a gunshot wound in 1907; Police Officer William Sparta, who died from a physical assault in 1918; and Police Officer Charles Liddle, who died in a 1933 motorcycle accident.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.