The St. Valentines Day Massacre of 1929

The Saint Valentines Day Massacre

It was a cold and chilly morning in Chicago, the time was 10:30 a.m.  and the date was February 14, 1929.  This day would mark the end of the North and South side battle for power,  which went on for years and saw over 200 mob killings including Dean O’Banion and Hymie Weiss.


How Did It Start?

It all started when Jack “Machine Gun” McGurn survived a hit that was ordered by Bugs Moran, who stepped up as the North Side Gang leader after the deaths of O’Banion and Weiss. Moran and Al Capone were at war with each other, and the 1920’s was filled with drive-by shootings in broad daylight and hijacking attempts during the night.

Jack "Machine Gun" McGurn

Jack “Machine Gun” McGurn

McGurn had approached Capone and together they hatched a plot to take out Moran once and for all.


McGurn’s Plan of Action

McGurn planned the hit very carefully and took his time to go through all the details. He located the North Side gang’s headquarters which was located in a large garage behind the offices of S.M.C. Cartage Company at 2122 North Clark Street.  McGurn then came up with the idea of dressing the hitmen in police uniforms so that the North Side Gang wouldn’t suspect foul play. Especially as the gunmen were from out of town so they wouldn’t get recognized.

McGurn stole a police car and two police uniforms for the big day.



February 13 1929

The day before the massacre McGurn instructed a local booze hijacker to contact Moran. The hijacker would tell Moran that he had obtained a shipment of Old Log Cabin whiskey which he would sell to the North Side Gang for a low price of $57 per case. The date and time for the meeting was the set…February 14, 10:30am at the North Side Gang HQ.

The 6 Mobsters and Optician: Frank Gusenberg, Pete Gusenberg, John May, Albert Weinshank, James Clark, Adam Heyer, and Dr. Reindhart Schwimmer

Saint Valentines Day Massacre Victims

Saint Valentines Day Massacre Victims


February 14 1929, 10:30am

On that fateful morning, 4 of Capone’s hitmen followed 7 North Side Gang members into the garage. The first two hitmen were dressed in police uniform while the other 2 waited in the police car (following a short time after). The first 2 hitmen lined up the 7 gang members up the wall with their backs turned. There was no fighting or running as this seemed to be just a police raid, there was nothing sinister about the situation. The 7 mobsters handed over their weapons, and then the final 2 hitmen entered the garage carrying a tommy gun each. By then it was too late…

The Hitmen: Fred “Killer” Burke, John Scalise, Albert Anselmi, and Joseph Lolordo

Suddenly, gunfire ensued. Tommy guns, a shawn off shotgun and a .45 caliber pistol all directed at the 7 mobsters. Some 150 shots were fired at them, and it is believed that each mobster had an average of 15 bullets in them by the end of the shooting.

St Valentines Day Massacre

Aftermath of the Shooting

Two of them had been finished off with a shotgun. Some of the bodies’ heads, arms and legs had been severed.

st-valentines-massacre

Aftermath of the Shooting

One of the mobsters was still barely alive when police turned up, and they asked who shot him,  but staying true to the code of silence he answered: ‘Nobody shot me.’ He died a few hours later.

St Valentines Day Massacre

5 North Side Gang Bodies

The hitmen then walked out, and according to eye-witness testimony they saw two policemen walking out of the building with two plain clothed citizens with their hands on their head in-front of them. They then got in the police car and drove off.

James Clark

James Clark Body Removed

The hit was planned and executed brilliantly, but only one problem followed…

Bugs Moran wasn’t there, Albert Weinshank was the mobster that they had mistaken for Moran. Bugs Moran was running late and as he turned up he saw the police car and policemen and decided to drive-off.

Bugs Moran

Bugs Moran

The only survivor was a German Shepherd who alerted neighbors to the garage with his howling.


 

No one was ever tried or convicted for the murders of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. However, most people knew that Capone was behind it.

This is the site of the massacre today, at 2122 North Clark Street:

2122-N.-Clark-close

Photographs by Russell Lewis.

The actual garage wall can be seen at the MobMuseum in Las Vegas:

the-mob-museum

The Garage Wall

McGurn was assassinated by three men using machine guns on February 15, 1936, one day after the seventh anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, at a Bowling Alley.

Jack McGurn

McGurn Lying Dead

 

 

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