The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

The infamous St. Valentine’s Day massacre occurred on February 14, 1929 on Chicago’s North Side. It was the result of a Prohibition era dispute between Al Capone’s South Side Italian Gang and Bugs Moran’s North Side Irish-German Gang.

The massacre was part of a plan by Capone’s lieutenant, Jack “Machine Gun” McGurn”. to kill Moran and eliminate the competition. It also was a retaliation for an earlier (and obviously unsuccessful) attempt on McGurn’s life by two Moran gang members.

The plan was to lure Moran to the garage of the S-M-C Cartage Company with promises of bargain bootleg whiskey. McGurn associate Fred Burke and his team of five would then burst into the the building disgused as police officers. When the Moran gang members were disarmed, then would then be killed.

With Capone conveniently on vacation at his Florida haunt, the scheme was carried out. But it didn’t work as planned. Moran wasn’t there. He had seen the approaching police car (driven by Burke’s men) and left the scene.

At about 10:30 a.m., inside the garage, seven members of Moran gang complied with orders by the fake police to line up against the wall. The police were, after all, mostly on the take, and the gang members had no reason to fear them. They they were shot to death with a “tommy gun.”

The victims were: James Clark, Frank and Pete Gusenberg, Adam Heyer, Johnny May, Al Weinshank and Dr. Reinhardt Schwimmer, an optician who associated with the Moran gang.

Frank Gusenberg survived until rescuers came. His last words, when asked who did it were “Nobody shot me.” Talk about denying the obvious.

While the plan to kill Moran failed, the event did in fact end Capone’s competition on the North side. His gang in shambles, Moran never challenged Capone again.

 

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