On this date in 1929...
Disguised as law enforcement officers, gunmen murdered seven members and associates of George "Bugs" Moran's North Side gang at 10:30 in the morning of February 14, 1929.
|Chicago Tribune, Feb. 15, 1929.|
The North Siders were assembled at the SMC Cartage Company garage, 2122 North Clark Street. A team of professional killers, two of them dressed as police officers, entered the building. Believing they were being raided by authorities, Moran's men cooperated and lined up facing a wall of the garage.
The helpless gangsters were then slaughtered in a hail of machine gun and shotgun fire. The killers escaped.
|Belvidere Republican, Feb. 14, 1929.|
|Decatur Herald, Feb. 14, 1929.|
|Uniontown PA Standard, Feb. 15, 1929.|
|Boston Globe, Feb. 15, 1929.|
Gang boss Moran, said to be the primary target of the attack, also escaped. Lookouts working with the hit team mistakenly believed Moran was present in the garage and initiated the attack too early. According to reports, Moran was just approaching the building when he observed what looked to be a police raid and decided on a different course. When he learned of the massacre, he went into hiding.
|Minneapolis Star, Feb. 14, 1929.|
The victims of the "St. Valentine's Day Massacre":
- James Clark, 42. The top lieutenant of George Moran (and often referred to in the press as Moran's brother-in-law), Clark (born Albert Kachellek) had been imprisoned several times for robberies and parole violation.
- Frank Gusenberg, 36. Often a suspect in burglaries and robberies, he served one jail sentence for disorderly conduct. He was considered an enforcer for Moran. He was the only one of the seven victims still living when police arrived. He died hours later.
- Peter Gusenberg, 40. The brother of Frank Gusenberg, he was the top enforcer of the Moran bootlegging operation. He served several prison terms for robberies and parole violation.
- Adam Heyer, 40. He had been in and out of prison since 1908, convicted of robberies, confidence games and parole violation. It was reported that Heyer managed the gang finances and ran the S.M.C. Cartage Company.
- John May, 35. A former thief, he was an associate of the Moran gang and worked as a automotive mechanic.
- Albert Weinshank, 35. A member of the Chicago cleaning and dying association, authorities believed he joined the gang when Moran was scheming to take control of that industry.
- Reinhardt Schwimmer, 30. An optometrist, he often socialized with the Moran gang and bragged of his underworld association.
|New York Times, Feb. 15, 1929.|
Out-of-town gunmen working with Al Capone's Chicago Outfit are generally believed responsible for performing the massacre.
- "Doctor in massacre," Chicago Daily Tribune, Feb. 15, 1929, p. 1.
- "No one brought to trial for goriest gangland hit," Bloomington IL Pantagraph, Feb. 13, 1979, p. 6.
- "Police records tell lives of gang slain gangsters," Chicago Daily Tribune, Feb. 15, 1929, p. 2.
- Binder, John J., Al Capone's Beer Wars, Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2017.
- Gomes, Mario, My Al Capone Museum, myalcaponemuseum.com.
- Helmer, William J., Al Capone and His American Boys, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011.
- Helmer, William J., and Arthur J. Bilek, The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Cumberland House, 2006.
- Kobler, John, Capone: The Life and World of Al Capone, New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1971.
- Koziol, Ronald, and Edward Baumann, "Chicago's grisly wall," Chicago Tribune, Feb. 13, 1987, p. 5-1.