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Saint Valentine's Day Massacre

For other uses, see Saint Valentine's Day massacre (disambiguation).

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The Saint Valentine's Day Massacre was the 1929 murder of seven members and associates of Chicago's North Side Gang that occurred on Saint Valentine's Day. The men were gathered at a Lincoln Park garage on the morning of that feast day, February 14th. They were lined up against a wall and shot by four unknown assailants, two of whom were dressed as police officers. The incident resulted from the struggle to control organized crime in the city during Prohibition between the Irish North Siders, headed by George "Bugs" Moran, and their Italian South Side Gang rivals led by Al Capone. The perpetrators have never been conclusively identified, but former members of the Egan's Rats gang working for Capone are suspected of a role, as are members of the Chicago Police Department who allegedly wanted revenge for the killing of a police officer's son.

Saint Valentine's Day Massacre
The seven men slain during the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre
LocationWarehouse at Dickens and Clark in Lincoln Park, Chicago
DateFebruary 14, 1929
10:30 am (CST)
Attack type
Massacre
WeaponsTwo Thompson submachine guns
Two shotguns
Deaths7 (five members of the North Side Gang and two other affiliates)
PerpetratorsUnknown
No. of participants
4 (all unidentified)

Contents

2122 North Clark Street
Location of the shootings

At 10:30 a.m. on Saint Valentine's Day, Thursday, February 14, 1929, seven men were murdered at the garage at 2122 North Clark Street, in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago's North Side. They were shot by four men using weapons that included two Thompson submachine guns. Two of the shooters were wearing police uniforms, while the others wore suits, ties, overcoats, and hats. Witnesses saw the men in police uniforms leading the other men at gunpoint out of the garage after the shooting.

The victims included five members of George "Bugs" Moran's North Side Gang. Moran's second in command and brother-in-law Albert Kachellek (alias James Clark) was killed along with Adam Heyer, the gang's bookkeeper and business manager, Albert Weinshank, who managed several cleaning and dyeing operations for Moran, and gang enforcers Frank Gusenberg and Peter Gusenberg. Two collaborators were also shot: Reinhardt H. Schwimmer, a former optician turned gambler and gang associate, and John May, an occasional mechanic for the Moran gang. Chicago police officers arrived at the scene to find that victim Frank Gusenberg was still alive. He was taken to the hospital, where doctors stabilized him for a short time and police tried to question him. He had sustained 14 bullet wounds; the police asked him who did it, and he replied, "No one shot me." He died three hours later.

Al Capone was widely assumed to have been responsible for ordering the massacre, despite being at his Florida home at the time of the massacre. The massacre was an attempt to eliminate Bugs Moran, head of the North Side Gang, and the motivation for the plan may have been the fact that some expensive whisky illegally imported from Canada via the Detroit River had been hijacked while it was being transported to Cook County, Illinois.

Moran was the last survivor of the North Side gunmen; his succession had come about because his similarly aggressive predecessors, Hymie Weiss and Vincent Drucci, had been killed in the violence that followed the murder of original leader, Dean O'Banion.

Several factors contributed to the timing of the plan to kill Moran. Earlier in the year, North Sider Frank Gusenberg and his brother Peter unsuccessfully attempted to murder Jack McGurn. The North Side Gang was complicit in the murders of Pasqualino "Patsy" Lolordo and Antonio "The Scourge" Lombardo. Both had been presidents of the Unione Siciliana, the local Mafia, and close associates of Capone. Moran and Capone had been vying for control of the lucrative Chicago bootlegging trade. Moran had also been muscling in on a Capone-run dog track in the Chicago suburbs, and he had taken over several saloons that were run by Capone, insisting that they were in his territory.

The plan was to lure Moran to the SMC Cartage warehouse on North Clark Street on February 14, 1929, to kill him and perhaps two or three of his lieutenants. It is usually assumed that the North Siders were lured to the garage with the promise of a stolen, cut-rate shipment of whiskey, supplied by Detroit's Purple Gang which was associated with Capone. The Gusenberg brothers were supposed to drive two empty trucks to Detroit that day to pick up two loads of stolen Canadian whiskey. All of the victims were dressed in their best clothes, with the exception of John May, as was customary for the North Siders and other gangsters at the time.

Most of the Moran gang arrived at the warehouse by approximately 10:30 a.m., but Moran was not there, having left his Parkway Hotel apartment late. He and fellow gang member Ted Newberry approached the rear of the warehouse from a side street when they saw a police car approaching the building. They immediately turned and retraced their steps, going to a nearby coffee shop. They encountered gang member Henry Gusenberg on the street and warned him, so he too turned back. North Side Gang member Willie Marks also spotted the police car on his way to the garage, and he ducked into a doorway and jotted down the license number before leaving the neighborhood.

Capone's lookouts likely mistook one of Moran's men for Moran himself, probably Albert Weinshank, who was the same height and build. The physical similarity between the two men was enhanced by their dress that morning; both happened to be wearing the same color overcoats and hats. Witnesses outside the garage saw a Cadillac sedan pull up to a stop in front of the garage. Four men emerged and walked inside, two of them dressed in police uniform. The two fake police officers carried shotguns and entered the rear portion of the garage, where they found members of Moran's gang and collaborators Reinhart Schwimmer and John May, who was fixing one of the trucks. The fake policemen then ordered the men to line up against the wall. They then signaled to the pair in civilian clothes who had accompanied them. Two of the killers opened fire with Thompson sub-machine guns, one with a 20-round box magazine and the other a 50-round drum. They were thorough, spraying their victims left and right, even continuing to fire after all seven had hit the floor. Two shotgun blasts afterward all but obliterated the faces of John May and James Clark, according to the coroner's report.

To give the appearance that everything was under control, the men in street clothes came out with their hands up, prodded by the two uniformed policemen. Inside the garage, the only survivors in the warehouse were May's dog "Highball" and Frank Gusenberg — despite 14 bullet wounds. He was still conscious, but he died three hours later, refusing to utter a word about the identities of the killers. The Valentine's Day Massacre set off a public outcry which posed a problem for all mob bosses.

Victims

  • Peter Gusenberg, a front-line enforcer for the Moran organizations
  • Frank Gusenberg, the brother of Peter Gusenberg and also an enforcer
  • Albert Kachellek (alias "James Clark"), Moran's second in command
  • Adam Heyer, the bookkeeper and business manager of the Moran gang
  • Reinhardt Schwimmer, an optician who had abandoned his practice to gamble on horse racing and associate with the gang
  • Albert Weinshank, who managed several cleaning and dyeing operations for Moran; his resemblance to Moran is allegedly what set the massacre in motion before Moran arrived, including the clothes that he was wearing
  • John May, an occasional car mechanic for the Moran gang

Within days, Capone received a summons to testify before a Chicago grand jury on charges of federal Prohibition violations, but he claimed to be too unwell to attend.

It was common knowledge that Moran was hijacking Capone's Detroit-based liquor shipments, and police focused their attention on Detroit's predominantly Jewish Purple Gang. Landladies Mrs. Doody and Mrs. Orvidson had taken in three men as roomers ten days before the massacre, and their rooming houses were directly across the street from the North Clark Street garage. They picked out mugshots of Purple Gang members George Lewis, Eddie Fletcher, Phil Keywell, and his younger brother Harry, but they later wavered in their identification. The police questioned and cleared Fletcher, Lewis, and Harry Keywell. Nevertheless, the Keywell brothers (and by extension the Purple Gang) remained associated with the crime in the years that followed. Many also believed that the police were involved, which may have been the intention of the killers.

On February 22, police were called to the scene of a garage fire on Wood Street where they found a 1927 Cadillac sedan disassembled and partially burned, and they determined that the killers had used the car. They traced the engine number to a Michigan Avenue dealer who had sold the car to a James Morton of Los Angeles. The garage had been rented by a man calling himself Frank Rogers, who gave his address as 1859 West North Avenue. This was the address of the Circus Café operated by Claude Maddox, a former St. Louis gangster with ties to the Capone gang, the Purple Gang, and the St. Louis gang, Egan's Rats. Police could not turn up any information about persons named James Morton or Frank Rogers, but they had a definite lead on one of the killers. Just minutes before the killings, a truck driver named Elmer Lewis had turned a corner a block away from 2122 North Clark and sideswiped a police car. He told police that he stopped immediately but was waved away by the uniformed driver, who was missing a front tooth. Board of Education president H. Wallace Caldwell had witnessed the accident, and he gave the same description of the driver. Police were confident that they were describing Fred Burke, a former member of Egan's Rats. Burke and a close companion named James Ray were known to wear police uniforms whenever on a robbery spree. Burke was also a fugitive, under indictment for robbery and murder in Ohio. Police also suggested that Joseph Lolordo could have been one of the killers because of his brother Pasqualino's recent murder by the North Side Gang.

Police then announced that they suspected Capone gunmen John Scalise and Albert Anselmi, as well as Jack McGurn and Frank Rio, a Capone bodyguard. Police eventually charged McGurn and Scalise with the massacre. Capone murdered John Scalise, Anselmi, and Joseph "Hop Toad" Giunta in May 1929 after he learned about their plan to kill him. The police dropped the murder charges against Jack McGurn because of a lack of evidence, and he was just charged with a violation of the Mann Act; he took his girlfriend Louise Rolfe across state lines to marry.

The case stagnated until December 14, 1929, when the Berrien County, Michigan Sheriff's Department raided the St. Joseph, Michigan bungalow of "Frederick Dane", the registered owner of a vehicle driven by Fred "Killer" Burke. Burke had been drinking that night, then rear-ended another vehicle and drove off. Patrolman Charles Skelly pursued, finally forcing him off the road. Skelly hopped onto the running board of Burke's car, but he was shot three times and died of his wounds that night. The car was found wrecked and abandoned just outside St. Joseph and traced to Fred Dane. By this time, police photos confirmed that Dane was in fact Fred Burke, wanted by the Chicago police for his participation in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

Police raided Burke's bungalow and found a large trunk containing a bullet-proof vest, almost $320,000 in bonds recently stolen from a Wisconsin bank, two Thompson submachine guns, pistols, two shotguns, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. St. Joseph authorities immediately notified the Chicago police, who requested both machine guns. They used the new science of forensic ballistics to identify both weapons as those used in the massacre. They also discovered that one of them had also been used to murder New York mobster Frankie Yale a year and a half earlier. Unfortunately, no further concrete evidence surfaced in the massacre case. Burke was captured over a year later on a Missouri farm. The case against him was strongest in connection to the murder of Officer Skelly, so he was tried in Michigan and subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment. He died in prison in 1940.

On January 8, 1935, FBI agents surrounded a Chicago apartment building at 3920 North Pine Grove looking for the remaining members of the Barker Gang. A brief shootout erupted, resulting in the death of bank robber Russell Gibson. Taken into custody were Doc Barker, Byron Bolton, and two women. Bolton was a Navy machine-gunner and associate of Egan's Rats, and he had been the valet of Chicago hit man Fred Goetz. Bolton was privy to many of the Barker Gang's crimes and pinpointed the Florida hideout of Ma Barker and Freddie Barker, both of whom were killed in a shootout with the FBI a week later. Bolton claimed to have taken part in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre with Goetz, Fred Burke, and several others.

The FBI had no jurisdiction in a state murder case, so they kept Bolton's revelations confidential until the Chicago American newspaper reported a second-hand version of his confession. The newspaper declared that the crime had been "solved", despite being stonewalled by J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, who did not want any part of the massacre case. Garbled versions of Bolton's story went out in the national media. Bolton, it was reported,[where?] claimed that the murder of Bugs Moran had been plotted in October or November 1928 at a Couderay, Wisconsin resort owned by Fred Goetz. Present at this meeting were Goetz, Al Capone, Frank Nitti, Fred Burke, Gus Winkler, Louis Campagna, Daniel Serritella, William Pacelli, and Bolton. The men stayed two or three weeks, hunting and fishing when they were not planning the murder of their enemies.

Bolton claimed that he and Jimmy Moran were charged with watching the S.M.C. Cartage garage and phoning the signal to the killers at the Circus Café when Bugs Moran arrived at the meeting. Police had found a letter addressed to Bolton in the lookout nest (and possibly a vial of prescription medicine). Bolton guessed that the actual killers had been Burke, Winkeler, Goetz, Bob Carey, Raymond "Crane Neck" Nugent, and Claude Maddox (four shooters and two getaway drivers). Bolton gave an account of the massacre different from the one generally told by historians. He claimed that he saw only "plainclothes" men exit the Cadillac and go into the garage. This indicates that a second car was used by the killers. George Brichet claimed to have seen at least two uniformed men exiting a car in the alley and entering the garage through its rear doors. A Peerless Motor Company sedan had been found near a Maywood house owned by Claude Maddox in the days after the massacre, and in one of the pockets was an address book belonging to victim Albert Weinshank. Bolton said that he had mistaken one of Moran's men to be Moran, after which he telephoned the signal to the Circus Café. The killers had expected to kill Moran and two or three of his men, but they were unexpectedly confronted with seven men; they simply decided to kill them all and get out fast. Bolton claimed that Capone was furious with him for his mistake and the resulting police pressure and threatened to kill him, only to be dissuaded by Fred Goetz.

His claims were corroborated by Gus Winkeler's widow Georgette in an official FBI statement and in her memoirs, which were published in a four-part series in a true detective magazine during the winter of 1935–36. She revealed that her husband and his friends had formed a special crew used by Capone for high-risk jobs. The mob boss was said to have trusted them implicitly and nicknamed them the "American Boys". Bolton's statements were also backed up by William Drury, a Chicago detective who had stayed on the massacre case long after everyone else had given up. Bank robber Alvin Karpis later claimed to have heard secondhand from Ray Nugent about the massacre and that the "American Boys" were paid a collective salary of $2,000 a week plus bonuses. Karpis also claimed that Capone had told him while they were in Alcatraz together that Goetz had been the actual planner of the massacre.

Despite Byron Bolton's statements, no action was taken by the FBI. All the men whom he named were dead by 1935, with the exception of Burke and Maddox. Bank robber Harvey Bailey complained in his 1973 autobiography that he and Fred Burke had been drinking beer in Calumet City, Illinois at the time of the massacre, and the resulting heat forced them to abandon their bank robbing ventures. Historians are still divided on whether or not the "American Boys" committed the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

Many mobsters have been named as part of the Valentine's Day hit team. Two prime suspects are Cosa Nostra hit men John Scalise and Albert Anselmi. In the days after the massacre, Scalise was heard[by whom?] to brag, "I am the most powerful man in Chicago." Unione Siciliana president Joseph Guinta had recently elevated him to the position of the Unione's vice-president. Nevertheless, Scalise, Anselmi, and Guinta were found dead on a lonely road near Hammond, Indiana on May 8, 1929. Gangland lore has it that Capone had discovered that the pair were planning to betray him. Legend states[where?] that Capone produced a baseball bat at the climax of a dinner party thrown in their honor and beat the trio to death.

Police tested the two Thompson submachine guns (serial numbers 2347 and 7580) found in Fred Burke's Michigan bungalow and determined that both had been used in the massacre. One of them had also been used in the murder of Brooklyn mob boss Frankie Yale, which confirmed the New York Police Department's long-held theory that Burke had been responsible for Yale's death.

Les Farmer, a deputy sheriff in Marion, Illinois purchased gun number 2347 on November 12, 1924. Marion and the surrounding area were overrun by the warring bootleg factions of the Shelton Brothers Gang and Charlie Birger. Farmer had ties with Egan's Rats, based 100 miles away in St. Louis, and the weapon had wound up in Fred Burke's possession by 1927. It is possible that he used this same gun in Detroit's Milaflores Massacre on March 28, 1927. Chicago sporting goods owner Peter von Frantzius sold gun number 7580 to a Victor Thompson, also known as Frank V. Thompson, but it wound up with James "Bozo" Shupe, a small-time hood from Chicago's West Side who had ties to various members of Capone's outfit. Both guns are still in the possession of the Berrien County, Michigan Sheriff's Department.

Crime scene and bricks from the murder wall

National Museum of Crime and Punishment, Saint Valentine's Day Massacre brick (2868502113)

The garage at 2122 N. Clark Street was demolished in 1967, and the site is now a parking lot for a nursing home. The bricks of the north wall against which the victims were shot were purchased by a Canadian businessman. For many years, they were displayed in various crime-related novelty displays. Many of them were later sold individually, and the remainder are now owned by the Mob Museum in Las Vegas.

The Saint Valentine's Day Massacre has been portrayed, referenced, or emulated in the following works:

Biographical

Fictional

  • Scarface, a 1932 gangster film directed by Howard Hawks that is loosely based on the life of Al Capone and depicts a version of the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre
  • Some Like It Hot, a 1959 comedy directed by Billy Wilder in which Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon play characters on the run after witnessing the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre
  • Oscar, a comedy film directed by John Landis in which Sylvester Stallone's character is implied to have been at the massacre.
  • In The Rocketeer (1991) Neville Sinclair gives gangster boss Eddie Valentine an ironic "Happy Valentine's Day" greeting as a reference to both Eddie's name and his impending execution by Nazi commandos.
  • The Golden Girls featured an alleged presence of Sofia's at the massacre in a flashback, (Season 4).
  • Mafia 3, although only mentioned in a newspaper, Sal Marcano and his brothers slaughtered their former boss and his men. This event is referred to as the "All Saints Day Massacre".
  • Dead Head Fred, the titular protagonist makes a comment about his amnesia: "My memory... it's more full of holes than a block of Swiss cheese after the St. Valentine's Day Massacre."
  • Dr. John Becker from Becker references the event by stating: "I know I know, it's Valentine's day, I swear, you know, the only person who ever celebrate this day right was Al Capone." (S1E12).

Other

  1. O'Brien, John (February 14, 2014). "The St. Valentine's Day Massacre". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on July 2, 2014. RetrievedJune 28, 2017.
  2. "Slay doctor in massacre". Chicago Daily Tribune. February 15, 1929. p. 1. Archived from the original on February 24, 2016. RetrievedJune 28, 2017.
  3. "Trace killers; lid on city". Chicago Daily Tribune. February 16, 1929. p. 1. Archived from the original on January 8, 2020. RetrievedJune 28, 2017.
  4. Boyle, William (2015). "Valentine's Day Massacre". Salem Press Encyclopedia.[permanent dead link]
  5. "The St. Valentine's Day Massacre". chicagotribune.com. February 14, 2014. Archived from the original on November 26, 2020. RetrievedFebruary 26, 2021.
  6. Rumrunning and the Roaring Twenties: Prohibition on the Michigan-Ontario Waterway. Wayne State University Press. August 1, 1995. p. 146. ISBN 0814325831. Archived from the original on June 7, 2020. RetrievedOctober 15, 2020.
  7. "George 'Bugs' Moran". Bugs Moran. Archived from the original on September 3, 2015.
  8. My Al Capone Museum Archived July 6, 2014, at the Wayback Machine "Vincent 'The Schemer' Drucci" Archived July 6, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, Mario Gomes, accessed 2/7/14
  9. Reppetto, Thomas A. "The "Get Capone" Drive: Print the Legend." American Mafia: A History of Its Rise to Power. New York: H. Holt, 2004. 121. Print.
  10. Bash, Avi (2016). Organized Crime in Miami. Southern Illinois University Press. ISBN 9781439658840. Archived from the original on February 4, 2021. RetrievedNovember 20, 2020.
  11. Capone: The Man and the Era, by Laurence Bergreen, p. 418
  12. "Raymond Nugent". Find A grave. April 13, 2004. RetrievedDecember 30, 2014.
  13. Albert A. Hoffman, Jr. (October 29, 2010). Some Historical Stories of Chicago. Southern Illinois University Press. p. 191. ISBN 9781453539705.
  14. "Blood, Roses & Valentines". PrairieGhosts.com. Archived from the original on March 2, 2008. RetrievedDecember 30, 2014.
  15. "St. Valentine's Day Massacre Wall". themobmuseum.org. Archived from the original on June 20, 2019. RetrievedJune 20, 2019.

Coordinates:41°55′15″N87°38′16″W /41.9208°N 87.6379°W /41.9208; -87.6379

Saint Valentine's Day Massacre
Saint Valentine s Day Massacre Language Watch Edit For other uses see Saint Valentine s Day massacre disambiguation This article has multiple issues Please help to improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page Learn how and when to remove these template messages This article needs additional citations for verification Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources Unsourced material may be challenged and removed Find sources Saint Valentine s Day Massacre news newspapers books scholar JSTOR January 2020 Learn how and when to remove this template message This article possibly contains original research Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations Statements consisting only of original research should be removed January 2020 Learn how and when to remove this template message Learn how and when to remove this template message The Saint Valentine s Day Massacre was the 1929 murder of seven members and associates of Chicago s North Side Gang that occurred on Saint Valentine s Day The men were gathered at a Lincoln Park garage on the morning of that feast day February 14th They were lined up against a wall and shot by four unknown assailants two of whom were dressed as police officers The incident resulted from the struggle to control organized crime in the city during Prohibition between the Irish North Siders headed by George Bugs Moran and their Italian South Side Gang rivals led by Al Capone 1 The perpetrators have never been conclusively identified but former members of the Egan s Rats gang working for Capone are suspected of a role as are members of the Chicago Police Department who allegedly wanted revenge for the killing of a police officer s son Saint Valentine s Day MassacreThe seven men slain during the Saint Valentine s Day MassacreLocationWarehouse at Dickens and Clark in Lincoln Park ChicagoDateFebruary 14 1929 10 30 am CST Attack typeMassacreWeaponsTwo Thompson submachine guns Two shotgunsDeaths7 five members of the North Side Gang and two other affiliates PerpetratorsUnknownNo of participants4 all unidentified Contents 1 The Massacre 1 1 Victims 2 Investigation 3 Bolton revelations 4 Other suspects 5 Murder weapons 6 Legacy 6 1 Crime scene and bricks from the murder wall 7 In popular culture 7 1 Biographical 7 2 Fictional 7 3 Other 8 See also 9 References 10 Further reading 11 External linksThe Massacre Edit 2122 North Clark StreetLocation of the shootings At 10 30 a m on Saint Valentine s Day Thursday February 14 1929 seven men were murdered at the garage at 2122 North Clark Street 2 3 in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago s North Side They were shot by four men using weapons that included two Thompson submachine guns Two of the shooters were wearing police uniforms while the others wore suits ties overcoats and hats Witnesses saw the men in police uniforms leading the other men at gunpoint out of the garage after the shooting The victims included five members of George Bugs Moran s North Side Gang Moran s second in command and brother in law Albert Kachellek alias James Clark was killed along with Adam Heyer the gang s bookkeeper and business manager Albert Weinshank who managed several cleaning and dyeing operations for Moran and gang enforcers Frank Gusenberg and Peter Gusenberg Two collaborators were also shot Reinhardt H Schwimmer a former optician turned gambler and gang associate and John May an occasional mechanic for the Moran gang Chicago police officers arrived at the scene to find that victim Frank Gusenberg was still alive He was taken to the hospital where doctors stabilized him for a short time and police tried to question him He had sustained 14 bullet wounds the police asked him who did it and he replied No one shot me He died three hours later 4 Al Capone was widely assumed to have been responsible for ordering the massacre despite being at his Florida home at the time of the massacre 5 The massacre was an attempt to eliminate Bugs Moran head of the North Side Gang and the motivation for the plan may have been the fact that some expensive whisky illegally imported from Canada via the Detroit River had been hijacked while it was being transported to Cook County Illinois 6 Moran was the last survivor of the North Side gunmen his succession had come about because his similarly aggressive predecessors Hymie Weiss and Vincent Drucci had been killed in the violence that followed the murder of original leader Dean O Banion 7 8 Several factors contributed to the timing of the plan to kill Moran Earlier in the year North Sider Frank Gusenberg and his brother Peter unsuccessfully attempted to murder Jack McGurn The North Side Gang was complicit in the murders of Pasqualino Patsy Lolordo and Antonio The Scourge Lombardo Both had been presidents of the Unione Siciliana the local Mafia and close associates of Capone Moran and Capone had been vying for control of the lucrative Chicago bootlegging trade Moran had also been muscling in on a Capone run dog track in the Chicago suburbs and he had taken over several saloons that were run by Capone insisting that they were in his territory The plan was to lure Moran to the SMC Cartage warehouse on North Clark Street on February 14 1929 to kill him and perhaps two or three of his lieutenants It is usually assumed that the North Siders were lured to the garage with the promise of a stolen cut rate shipment of whiskey supplied by Detroit s Purple Gang which was associated with Capone The Gusenberg brothers were supposed to drive two empty trucks to Detroit that day to pick up two loads of stolen Canadian whiskey All of the victims were dressed in their best clothes with the exception of John May as was customary for the North Siders and other gangsters at the time Most of the Moran gang arrived at the warehouse by approximately 10 30 a m but Moran was not there having left his Parkway Hotel apartment late He and fellow gang member Ted Newberry approached the rear of the warehouse from a side street when they saw a police car approaching the building They immediately turned and retraced their steps going to a nearby coffee shop They encountered gang member Henry Gusenberg on the street and warned him so he too turned back North Side Gang member Willie Marks also spotted the police car on his way to the garage and he ducked into a doorway and jotted down the license number before leaving the neighborhood Capone s lookouts likely mistook one of Moran s men for Moran himself probably Albert Weinshank who was the same height and build The physical similarity between the two men was enhanced by their dress that morning both happened to be wearing the same color overcoats and hats Witnesses outside the garage saw a Cadillac sedan pull up to a stop in front of the garage Four men emerged and walked inside two of them dressed in police uniform The two fake police officers carried shotguns and entered the rear portion of the garage where they found members of Moran s gang and collaborators Reinhart Schwimmer and John May who was fixing one of the trucks The fake policemen then ordered the men to line up against the wall They then signaled to the pair in civilian clothes who had accompanied them Two of the killers opened fire with Thompson sub machine guns one with a 20 round box magazine and the other a 50 round drum They were thorough spraying their victims left and right even continuing to fire after all seven had hit the floor Two shotgun blasts afterward all but obliterated the faces of John May and James Clark according to the coroner s report To give the appearance that everything was under control the men in street clothes came out with their hands up prodded by the two uniformed policemen Inside the garage the only survivors in the warehouse were May s dog Highball and Frank Gusenberg despite 14 bullet wounds He was still conscious but he died three hours later refusing to utter a word about the identities of the killers The Valentine s Day Massacre set off a public outcry which posed a problem for all mob bosses 9 Victims Edit Peter Gusenberg a front line enforcer for the Moran organizations Frank Gusenberg the brother of Peter Gusenberg and also an enforcer Albert Kachellek alias James Clark Moran s second in command Adam Heyer the bookkeeper and business manager of the Moran gang Reinhardt Schwimmer an optician who had abandoned his practice to gamble on horse racing and associate with the gang Albert Weinshank who managed several cleaning and dyeing operations for Moran his resemblance to Moran is allegedly what set the massacre in motion before Moran arrived including the clothes that he was wearing John May an occasional car mechanic for the Moran gang 10 Investigation EditWithin days Capone received a summons to testify before a Chicago grand jury on charges of federal Prohibition violations but he claimed to be too unwell to attend 11 It was common knowledge that Moran was hijacking Capone s Detroit based liquor shipments and police focused their attention on Detroit s predominantly Jewish Purple Gang Landladies Mrs Doody and Mrs Orvidson had taken in three men as roomers ten days before the massacre and their rooming houses were directly across the street from the North Clark Street garage They picked out mugshots of Purple Gang members George Lewis Eddie Fletcher Phil Keywell and his younger brother Harry but they later wavered in their identification The police questioned and cleared Fletcher Lewis and Harry Keywell Nevertheless the Keywell brothers and by extension the Purple Gang remained associated with the crime in the years that followed Many also believed that the police were involved which may have been the intention of the killers On February 22 police were called to the scene of a garage fire on Wood Street where they found a 1927 Cadillac sedan disassembled and partially burned and they determined that the killers had used the car They traced the engine number to a Michigan Avenue dealer who had sold the car to a James Morton of Los Angeles The garage had been rented by a man calling himself Frank Rogers who gave his address as 1859 West North Avenue This was the address of the Circus Cafe operated by Claude Maddox a former St Louis gangster with ties to the Capone gang the Purple Gang and the St Louis gang Egan s Rats Police could not turn up any information about persons named James Morton or Frank Rogers but they had a definite lead on one of the killers Just minutes before the killings a truck driver named Elmer Lewis had turned a corner a block away from 2122 North Clark and sideswiped a police car He told police that he stopped immediately but was waved away by the uniformed driver who was missing a front tooth Board of Education president H Wallace Caldwell had witnessed the accident and he gave the same description of the driver Police were confident that they were describing Fred Burke a former member of Egan s Rats Burke and a close companion named James Ray were known to wear police uniforms whenever on a robbery spree Burke was also a fugitive under indictment for robbery and murder in Ohio Police also suggested that Joseph Lolordo could have been one of the killers because of his brother Pasqualino s recent murder by the North Side Gang Police then announced that they suspected Capone gunmen John Scalise and Albert Anselmi as well as Jack McGurn and Frank Rio a Capone bodyguard Police eventually charged McGurn and Scalise with the massacre Capone murdered John Scalise Anselmi and Joseph Hop Toad Giunta in May 1929 after he learned about their plan to kill him The police dropped the murder charges against Jack McGurn because of a lack of evidence and he was just charged with a violation of the Mann Act he took his girlfriend Louise Rolfe across state lines to marry The case stagnated until December 14 1929 when the Berrien County Michigan Sheriff s Department raided the St Joseph Michigan bungalow of Frederick Dane the registered owner of a vehicle driven by Fred Killer Burke Burke had been drinking that night then rear ended another vehicle and drove off Patrolman Charles Skelly pursued finally forcing him off the road Skelly hopped onto the running board of Burke s car but he was shot three times and died of his wounds that night The car was found wrecked and abandoned just outside St Joseph and traced to Fred Dane By this time police photos confirmed that Dane was in fact Fred Burke wanted by the Chicago police for his participation in the St Valentine s Day Massacre Police raided Burke s bungalow and found a large trunk containing a bullet proof vest almost 320 000 in bonds recently stolen from a Wisconsin bank two Thompson submachine guns pistols two shotguns and thousands of rounds of ammunition St Joseph authorities immediately notified the Chicago police who requested both machine guns They used the new science of forensic ballistics to identify both weapons as those used in the massacre They also discovered that one of them had also been used to murder New York mobster Frankie Yale a year and a half earlier Unfortunately no further concrete evidence surfaced in the massacre case Burke was captured over a year later on a Missouri farm The case against him was strongest in connection to the murder of Officer Skelly so he was tried in Michigan and subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment He died in prison in 1940 Bolton revelations EditOn January 8 1935 FBI agents surrounded a Chicago apartment building at 3920 North Pine Grove looking for the remaining members of the Barker Gang A brief shootout erupted resulting in the death of bank robber Russell Gibson Taken into custody were Doc Barker Byron Bolton and two women Bolton was a Navy machine gunner and associate of Egan s Rats and he had been the valet of Chicago hit man Fred Goetz Bolton was privy to many of the Barker Gang s crimes and pinpointed the Florida hideout of Ma Barker and Freddie Barker both of whom were killed in a shootout with the FBI a week later Bolton claimed to have taken part in the St Valentine s Day Massacre with Goetz Fred Burke and several others The FBI had no jurisdiction in a state murder case so they kept Bolton s revelations confidential until the Chicago American newspaper reported a second hand version of his confession The newspaper declared that the crime had been solved despite being stonewalled by J Edgar Hoover and the FBI who did not want any part of the massacre case Garbled versions of Bolton s story went out in the national media Bolton it was reported where claimed that the murder of Bugs Moran had been plotted in October or November 1928 at a Couderay Wisconsin resort owned by Fred Goetz Present at this meeting were Goetz Al Capone Frank Nitti Fred Burke Gus Winkler Louis Campagna Daniel Serritella William Pacelli and Bolton The men stayed two or three weeks hunting and fishing when they were not planning the murder of their enemies Bolton claimed that he and Jimmy Moran were charged with watching the S M C Cartage garage and phoning the signal to the killers at the Circus Cafe when Bugs Moran arrived at the meeting Police had found a letter addressed to Bolton in the lookout nest and possibly a vial of prescription medicine Bolton guessed that the actual killers had been Burke Winkeler Goetz Bob Carey Raymond Crane Neck Nugent 12 and Claude Maddox four shooters and two getaway drivers Bolton gave an account of the massacre different from the one generally told by historians He claimed that he saw only plainclothes men exit the Cadillac and go into the garage This indicates that a second car was used by the killers George Brichet claimed to have seen at least two uniformed men exiting a car in the alley and entering the garage through its rear doors A Peerless Motor Company sedan had been found near a Maywood house owned by Claude Maddox in the days after the massacre and in one of the pockets was an address book belonging to victim Albert Weinshank Bolton said that he had mistaken one of Moran s men to be Moran after which he telephoned the signal to the Circus Cafe The killers had expected to kill Moran and two or three of his men but they were unexpectedly confronted with seven men they simply decided to kill them all and get out fast Bolton claimed that Capone was furious with him for his mistake and the resulting police pressure and threatened to kill him only to be dissuaded by Fred Goetz His claims were corroborated by Gus Winkeler s widow Georgette in an official FBI statement and in her memoirs which were published in a four part series in a true detective magazine during the winter of 1935 36 She revealed that her husband and his friends had formed a special crew used by Capone for high risk jobs The mob boss was said to have trusted them implicitly and nicknamed them the American Boys Bolton s statements were also backed up by William Drury a Chicago detective who had stayed on the massacre case long after everyone else had given up Bank robber Alvin Karpis later claimed to have heard secondhand from Ray Nugent about the massacre and that the American Boys were paid a collective salary of 2 000 a week plus bonuses Karpis also claimed that Capone had told him while they were in Alcatraz together that Goetz had been the actual planner of the massacre Despite Byron Bolton s statements no action was taken by the FBI All the men whom he named were dead by 1935 with the exception of Burke and Maddox Bank robber Harvey Bailey complained in his 1973 autobiography that he and Fred Burke had been drinking beer in Calumet City Illinois at the time of the massacre and the resulting heat forced them to abandon their bank robbing ventures Historians are still divided on whether or not the American Boys committed the St Valentine s Day Massacre Other suspects EditMany mobsters have been named as part of the Valentine s Day hit team Two prime suspects are Cosa Nostra hit men John Scalise and Albert Anselmi In the days after the massacre Scalise was heard by whom to brag I am the most powerful man in Chicago Unione Siciliana president Joseph Guinta had recently elevated him to the position of the Unione s vice president Nevertheless Scalise Anselmi and Guinta were found dead on a lonely road near Hammond Indiana on May 8 1929 Gangland lore has it that Capone had discovered that the pair were planning to betray him Legend states where that Capone produced a baseball bat at the climax of a dinner party thrown in their honor and beat the trio to death 13 Murder weapons EditPolice tested the two Thompson submachine guns serial numbers 2347 and 7580 found in Fred Burke s Michigan bungalow and determined that both had been used in the massacre One of them had also been used in the murder of Brooklyn mob boss Frankie Yale which confirmed the New York Police Department s long held theory that Burke had been responsible for Yale s death Les Farmer a deputy sheriff in Marion Illinois purchased gun number 2347 on November 12 1924 Marion and the surrounding area were overrun by the warring bootleg factions of the Shelton Brothers Gang and Charlie Birger Farmer had ties with Egan s Rats based 100 miles away in St Louis and the weapon had wound up in Fred Burke s possession by 1927 It is possible that he used this same gun in Detroit s Milaflores Massacre on March 28 1927 Chicago sporting goods owner Peter von Frantzius sold gun number 7580 to a Victor Thompson also known as Frank V Thompson but it wound up with James Bozo Shupe a small time hood from Chicago s West Side who had ties to various members of Capone s outfit Both guns are still in the possession of the Berrien County Michigan Sheriff s Department Legacy EditCrime scene and bricks from the murder wall Edit National Museum of Crime and Punishment Saint Valentine s Day Massacre brick 2868502113 The garage at 2122 N Clark Street was demolished in 1967 and the site is now a parking lot for a nursing home 14 The bricks of the north wall against which the victims were shot were purchased by a Canadian businessman For many years they were displayed in various crime related novelty displays Many of them were later sold individually and the remainder are now owned by the Mob Museum in Las Vegas 15 In popular culture EditThe Saint Valentine s Day Massacre has been portrayed referenced or emulated in the following works Biographical Edit Al Capone a 1959 film directed by Richard Wilson starring Rod Steiger as Capone Seven Against the Wall a 1959 episode of Playhouse 90 directed by Franklin J Schaffner starring Paul Lambert as Capone The St Valentine s Day Massacre a 1967 film directed by Roger Corman starring Jason Robards as Al Capone Capone a 1975 film directed by Steve Carver starring Ben Gazzara as Capone The Untouchables a 1987 film directed by Brian De Palma that briefly mentions the massacre The Making of the Mob Chicago a 2016 miniseries about Al Capone that reenacts the massacre s scene Gangster Land a 2017 film about Al CaponeFictional Edit Scarface a 1932 gangster film directed by Howard Hawks that is loosely based on the life of Al Capone and depicts a version of the Saint Valentine s Day Massacre Some Like It Hot a 1959 comedy directed by Billy Wilder in which Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon play characters on the run after witnessing the Saint Valentine s Day Massacre Oscar a comedy film directed by John Landis in which Sylvester Stallone s character is implied to have been at the massacre In The Rocketeer 1991 Neville Sinclair gives gangster boss Eddie Valentine an ironic Happy Valentine s Day greeting as a reference to both Eddie s name and his impending execution by Nazi commandos The Golden Girls featured an alleged presence of Sofia s at the massacre in a flashback Season 4 Mafia 3 although only mentioned in a newspaper Sal Marcano and his brothers slaughtered their former boss and his men This event is referred to as the All Saints Day Massacre Dead Head Fred the titular protagonist makes a comment about his amnesia My memory it s more full of holes than a block of Swiss cheese after the St Valentine s Day Massacre Dr John Becker from Becker references the event by stating I know I know it s Valentine s day I swear you know the only person who ever celebrate this day right was Al Capone S1E12 Other Edit St Valentine s Day Massacre In Your House produced by the World Wrestling Federation WWF WWE as of 2002 a pay per view PPV professional wrestling event It took place on February 14 1999 at the Memphis Pyramid in Memphis Tennessee The title of the event alludes to the Saint Valentine s Day massacre A content update titled Valentine s Day Massacre was released on February 13 2014 for the video game Grand Theft Auto V and its online counterpart Grand Theft Auto Online which added the Thompson sub machine gun named the Gusenberg Sweeper ingame and the Roosevelt a car based on a 1928 Cadillac 341A Town Sedan See also EditList of massacres in Illinois List of unsolved murdersReferences Edit O Brien John February 14 2014 The St Valentine s Day Massacre Chicago Tribune Archived from the original on July 2 2014 Retrieved June 28 2017 Slay doctor in massacre Chicago Daily Tribune February 15 1929 p 1 Archived from the original on February 24 2016 Retrieved June 28 2017 Trace killers lid on city Chicago Daily Tribune February 16 1929 p 1 Archived from the original on January 8 2020 Retrieved June 28 2017 Boyle William 2015 Valentine s Day Massacre Salem Press Encyclopedia permanent dead link The St Valentine s Day Massacre chicagotribune com February 14 2014 Archived from the original on November 26 2020 Retrieved February 26 2021 Rumrunning and the Roaring Twenties Prohibition on the Michigan Ontario Waterway Wayne State University Press August 1 1995 p 146 ISBN 0814325831 Archived from the original on June 7 2020 Retrieved October 15 2020 George Bugs Moran Bugs Moran Archived from the original on September 3 2015 My Al Capone Museum Archived July 6 2014 at the Wayback Machine Vincent The Schemer Drucci Archived July 6 2014 at the Wayback Machine Mario Gomes accessed 2 7 14 Reppetto Thomas A The Get Capone Drive Print the Legend American Mafia A History of Its Rise to Power New York H Holt 2004 121 Print Bash Avi 2016 Organized Crime in Miami Southern Illinois University Press ISBN 9781439658840 Archived from the original on February 4 2021 Retrieved November 20 2020 Capone The Man and the Era by Laurence Bergreen p 418 Raymond Nugent Find A grave April 13 2004 Retrieved December 30 2014 Albert A Hoffman Jr October 29 2010 Some Historical Stories of Chicago Southern Illinois University Press p 191 ISBN 9781453539705 Blood Roses amp Valentines PrairieGhosts com Archived from the original on March 2 2008 Retrieved December 30 2014 St Valentine s Day Massacre Wall themobmuseum org Archived from the original on June 20 2019 Retrieved June 20 2019 Further reading EditBraucher Scott March 19 2012 Life Member Dan Tortorell 95 Was At St Valentine s Day Massacre National Press Photographers Association Chicago Shimpo The Chicago Japanese American News Friday October 10 2008 Volume 6732 p 7 ISSN 0009 370X Helmer William and Arthur J Bilek The St Valentine s Day Massacre The Untold Story of the Bloodbath That Brought Down Al Capone Nashville Cumberland House 2004 ISBN 978 1 58182 329 5 External links EditThe True Story of the St Valentine s Day Massacre excerpted from Get Capone by biographer Jonathan Eig Chicago magazine Haunted Chicago Archived March 2 2008 at the Wayback Machine Mystery net Mario Gomes Capone Museum MisterCapone com Official Site of Mr Capone author Robert J Schoenberg ABC 7 Chicago shoots down massacre theory from the book Get Capone Archived June 5 2010 at the Wayback Machine Coordinates 41 55 15 N 87 38 16 W 41 9208 N 87 6379 W 41 9208 87 6379 Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Saint Valentine 27s Day Massacre amp oldid 1051692481, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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