The St. Valentines Day Massacre.
Probably the most publicized and talked about Mob event ever is the St. Valentines Day Massacre. Several movies have been made about it and numerous books have been published.
The North Side gang, led at the time by George 'Bugs' Moran, were being a major thorn in Al Capone's side. Capone finally decided he had had enough and, with the help of 'Machine Gun' Jack McGurn and others, hatched the plot that was to make murder history.
Capone had a gangster from Detroit set up a deal with Moran for a quantity of liquor that had been recently hijacked. Moran accepted the deal and arranged to take possession at a garage at 2122 North Clark Street on February 14th, 1929. Capone's friends from Detroit informed him of the arrangements and phase two of the plan went into effect. Capone's team acquired a police paddy wagon, either by theft or bribery, and police uniforms and proceeded to the garage on the morning of the 14th. Two of the hit team dressed in the police uniforms, the others wore long coats and presumably looked like the detectives of the group. They pulled up to the front of the garage and all charged out and in to the building just as the police would have in a routine raid. Inside the garage were six members of Moran's gang (the old O'Banion gang) - Adam Meyer, John May, James Clark, Al Weinshank, the Gusenburg brothers, Frank and Pete and an optometrist Dr. Reinhardt Schwimmer who picked a bad day to visit. The hit team had all seven men stand up and face the wall. The seven complied, expecting a pat down search for weapons and identification. Then two of Capone's men opened up with Thompson submachine guns, peppering each victim with numerous rounds from the .45 caliber weapon. The hoods disguised as cops then took the guns and marched the plain clothed gun men out of the garage with their hands raised as if they were under arrest. They all got into the police wagon and drove off.
The hit was only a partial success, however. The main target, Bugs Moran, was late getting up that morning and he and two others, Willy Marks and Ted Newbury, were just rounding the corner when the police wagon rolled up. Figuring the police were there for just a routine bust, Moran and Co. stayed just out of sight waiting for the police to leave. When the machine guns opened up, Bugs and his friends took off. He was later picked up by the police department for questioning about the incident. Bugs was quoted as saying "Only Capone kills like that."
Al Capone, of course, denied all knowledge of the hit. He was actually in Florida at his beach front condo soaking up the sun and sipping martinis. The members of the hit team never were identified. In fact, the news papers the next day carried the story that it actually was the police that had performed the murders as a reprisal for the theft of the booze from crooked cops some weeks earlier. No one in Chicago at that time found such a claim unusual since the corruption in the police force was so absolute. A forensic scientist from New York , Calvin Goddard, was actually called in to test all the machine guns in the police forces possession to rule out such a scenario. Goddard could not match up any weapon in the police arsenal to the bullets found at the scene.
About a year after the murders, the police raided the home of Fred Burke, a professional killer who sometimes had been hired by Capone. In his possession the came across the tommy guns used in the St. Valentines Day Massacre. Burke was never brought to Illinois to be tried for the massacre though. He was, instead, convicted for the killing of a police man in Michigan and sentenced to life. The rumors surrounding the find were that Burke was never brought to Chicago since his testimony would implicate the police in the planting of the weapons and cause police suspicion all over again.
It is not known who actually participated in the killings at 2122 North Clark but some of the more likely suspects were : Machine Gun McGurn, Tony 'Joe Batters' Accardo, George 'Shotgun' Ziegler, Claude Maddox, Gus Winkler and 'Crane Neck' Nugent, the last four being members of the elite hit squad Murder Inc. from Brooklyn.