Notorious gangster who led the Purple Gang found shot to death in car in Bronx
Michael Meldish, 62, was found with a gunshot wound to the head in a Lincoln LS in the Bronx Friday night. His brother Joseph was convicted in 2007 for shooting Joseph Brown. Joseph was suspected in over 70 contract killings, police said.
BY BARRY PADDOCK / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Joseph Meldish, above, is the brother of Michael Meldish, who was found murdered in the Bronx Friday night.
A reputed gangster who “terrorized the Bronx” for two decades was fatally shot in the head in the Bronx Friday night.
Michael Meldish — whose brother is a convicted mob hit man — was shot in the head sitting in the driver’s seat of a Lincoln LS on Ellsworth Ave. in the affluent Throggs Neck neighborhood about 10:28 p.m. police said.
Meldish, 62, died at the scene.
“I’m happy,” said Joseph Coffey, former commanding officer of the NYPD’s organized crime homicide task force, who tried for years in the 70s and 80s to pin murders on Meldish.
“He terrorized the Bronx.”
Coffey estimates Meldish carried out killings “in the double digits” as part of the Purple Gang,an independent crew originally affiliated with the Luchese, Genovese and Bonanno crime families.
Michael Meldish lived here on Second Ave. in East Harlem.
“Michael was a stone-cold killer. We couldn’t get any witnesses. They had the people so terrified they just wouldn’t cooperate,” Coffey said.
Michael Meldish, who most recently lived on Second Ave. in East Harlem, was arrested five times by the NYPD in the 1970s, police said, for charges including rioting, assault, gun possession and forgery.
He was arrested in the 1980s by state police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and in the 1990s by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, officials said.
Meldish and his brother Joseph Meldish are believed to have helped run the Purple Gang.
“They were targets of ours,” said Coffey, who worked on rackets investigations for the Manhattan district attorney before joining the NYPD.
“They were the lowest of the low.
Meldish was found shot to death in front of this home in the Bronx on Ellsworth Ave.
“They were running a protection racket on bars and restaurants - they’d come in and shoot the place up. Just ruthless scumbags,” he said.
Joseph Meldish was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in 2011 for shooting Joseph Brown, 35, to death in 1999.
Police have said they believe he actually carried out about 70 contract killings over the decades before he was finally fingered for Brown’s murder.
Coffey said the circumstances of Michael Meldish’s murder in the Bronx Friday had all the markings of a hit.
“It should have happened a long time ago,” he said.
“I call it vermin killing vermin - poetic justice.”
With Rocco Parascandola
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