THHS: My Run-In With The Infamous Larry Davis


I grew up in a tenement apartment building in the Bronx, on the corner of 163rd Street and Woodycrest Avenue. Exactly four streets away from me lived the infamous Larry Davis. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Larry, he was a suspected killer who was wanted for the robbery and murder of six drug dealers in the late 1980's. Larry became a ghetto folk hero after wounding multiple police officers in a gun battle and leading the NYPD on a 17-day manhunt. He was eventually convicted in 1991 for the murder of a drug dealer.

On the streets, Larry was known as someone with a nasty temper that you never wanted to cross. I always felt that Larry was cool and that the rumors of his ferocious ways were untrue. At least, that was until I got on his bad side. Some of the kids in the neighborhood had odd ways of making money. One of the things they would do was to crawl down into the street drains and sort through the sewage in hopes of finding anything of value. Some days they would return with lost jewelry or a bag of dirty coins retrieved from the sewers of New York City.

One day I ran into Larry's younger cousin while hanging out in the neighborhood park. He approached me and asked if I would be interested in purchasing a gold rope chain and an anchor pendant from him that he found while sorting through the sewage. Now back in the 80's, everyone who had a little bit of flavor wore the rope chain and anchor combination so of course I was interested in purchasing the items. I gave him his asking price in exchange for the jewelry.

A few days later, I heard a loud knock at my door. A knock like that could only have been one of two things, either the cops or someone planned on robbing us. I slowly walked over to the door and looked through the peephole and was shocked to see that it was Larry. I immediately thought to myself, "Why the hell is he knocking at my door?" So, with the door still closed, I said, "What's up Larry?" and he replied, "Open this fucking door and give me my motherfucking chain." "What chain?" I asked, and he said, "The fucking chain my cousin stole from me and sold to you!"

Now, I am no fool. Although I was only 16 years old at the time, I clearly understood the rules of the streets. Had I opened the door, there's a possibility that Larry would have pulled out his gun and put a couple of slugs in me and I was not about to take that chance. So I said to him that I didn't have it. This only infuriated him even more. He said, "I'm going to walk to my house and return in 15 minutes. You better have my fucking chain."

The only thing that saved me was when my cousin Vanessa, whom I lived with, ran into Larry while he was walking back to his house. He informed her that if I didn't return his jewelry, he was going to kill me. She rushed home crying and got the jewelry from me and returned it to him. A few weeks later, the NYPD hunt for Larry Davis began. In 2008, Davis was stabbed to death in a fight with another inmate.

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