February 14, 1929, saw four men disguised as police officers walking into the base of operations for Bugs Moran on North Clark Street in Chicago, Illinois. These “police officers” had the seven men that were in Moran’s headquarters, line up against the wall. Assuming they were going to be arrested, the seven men did what they were told. Shortly after they were lined up, the four disguised men opened fire and killed all seven of them. This act became known as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.
Moran, a gangster in Chicago, was in the middle of an intense gang war with Al Capone. Moran was running the North Side gang. His gang war with Capone was over control of the illegal alcohol bootlegging industry that ran wild during the days of prohibition. At one point, Moran and his gang had intelligence of where Capone and his gang would be having lunch. Moran saw this as an opportunity to become the undisputed leader of the Chicago underworld. He and his crew drove over to where Capone was and unleashed an estimated 1,000 bullets into the building. Capone survived the attempt on his life and Moran proceeded to place a bounty of $50,000 on Scarface’s head. Capone had had enough of Bugs.
Capone wanted to be the undisputed gang king in Chicago, and even though it was never proven, it is believed that it was Capone’s men that dressed up as police officers in order to pull off the massacre on North Clark Street.
On that Valentine’s Day, Moran was expecting a shipment of illegal alcohol. He arrived late and saw the “police officers” storming into his building. Thinking that the police were there on a raid, Moran stayed put outside. Little did he know, his men were being executed in a massacre.
Eventually, real police officers showed up at the North Clark Street building. Seeing the carnage, they wanted to know who was responsible for the shooting. Frank Gusenberg was miraculously still alive. Police questioned him about who shot him and the six other men. Staying true to the code of silence that gangsters were famous four, Gusenberg didn’t tell them.
“No one, nobody shot me.”
Bugs Moran and Al Capone never had a confrontation with each other after the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre took place. The seven men that were executed in a hail of gunfire were the seven best men in Moran’s gang operation. Unable to sustain the loss to his business infrastructure, Moran quickly lost the territory he once controlled. Moran fell out of power quickly and was no longer considered to be a real player in the criminal underworld.
Al Capone ended up finally being arrested for good two years later. Capone had his fingers in many illegal activities when he was running the Chicago crime scene. Some of the activities that Capone was linked to include murder, drug running, bootlegging alcohol, prostitution, murder and many others. None of these activities led to Capone going to jail for good. What finally allowed the Federal Government to arrest Al Capone was the fact that Capone never paid his taxes. One of the most dangerous gangsters in history was arrested for tax evasion.
On February 14, 1936, the seven-year anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Jack McGurn, one of the “police officers,” was out bowling. Gunfire erupted and McGurn was killed. No one was ever charged with the murder of McGurn, even though it was widely speculated that Moran was the one pulling the trigger.
Do you think that Al Capone was behind the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre?
[Image Via AP Photo/Harry L. Hall]