Game Protector William T. Cramer
State Game Protector - Assigned to Queens County
Died in the line of duty September 22, 1929
As reported in the 13th Conservation Commission Report to the Legislature; "Two assailants of Game Protector Cramer, Antonio Marino and Filippo Garraputto, left the state to escape arrest, returned and were arrested. One of them, Garraputto, has since died and Marino was convicted of assault in the second degree and sentenced to the penitentiary for five years on December 26, 1922"
On Sunday morning, October 1, 1922, Protector Cramer came upon Marino and Garraputto in Horstmanns' Woods, Jamaica Bay, Long Island and attempted to arrest them for hunting without a license, and shooting and taking protected birds. The Protector was knocked down by a blow on the head with a shotgun and while lying on the ground, received three revolver bullets in the back of the head and in the neck. He succeeded in drawing a pistol and shooting one of the assailants in the hand and one in the groin as they were preparing to fire a charge of shot into him. Protector Cramer's injuries were so severe that he was not expected to live. He made a remarkable recovery and returned to duty.
Perhaps if an assault on a Game Protector had been punished more harshly the final incident involving Game Protector Cramer may have been avoided.
Having received complaints of illegal hunting in the Idlewild Woods, near present day JFK International Airport, Game Protectors Cramer and Allen joined forces. At approximately 10:00 a.m. they discovered Joseph Lentine of Brooklyn in possession of illegal song birds. While arresting Lentine another shot was heard. With Lentine in custody, the Game Protectors proceeded to the area of the shot to investigate. A warning in Italian was shouted by Lentine resulting in a series of shots. In the resulting struggle, Game Protector Cramer was killed instantly with a shotgun blast to the face. The second hunter later identified as Frank Aldino was shot in the wrist. Game Protector Allen was severely beaten and Lentine escaped unharmed. Although severly injured, Protector Allen made his way out to the road and was assisted by a passing motorists. NYPD Officers searched the woods that day. On October 8, 1929, Frank Aldino was arrested in Newark, New Jersey for the murder of Game Protector William T. Cramer. Frank Aldino was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to twenty years to life and sent to Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York.
Game Protector Gramer was 38 years old at the time of his death. He was not married, and resided in Ridgewood, Queens. He was held in high esteem and respect by the Department. Surely, Cramer's devotion to duty, having been severly injured prior to the incident in which he was murdered, must be recognized as the highest level of valor in the history of natural resource protection.