St. Valentines Day Massacre, 1929 by Tim CoatesOn February 14th, 1929, seven men died in a gangster shooting in Chicago. Nobody was convicted of these murders, which gave rise to a public outcry. In 1935, the FBI began to gather information arising from the arrest of one of the suspects and from the newspaper articles written about him. The FBI files, which are reproduced here, a curious set of relationships between the Bureau, the local police, the gangsters and the press.
The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
As Americans today grow increasingly numb to persistent mass shootings, such a crime now might not even make the front pages. But on Feb. Ninety years ago, Americans felt as helpless to stop the slaughter as many do today. Chicagoans had seen gang killings before, in the bootleg battles that brought Al Capone to power, and they knew the drill. The police would issue indignant statements and roust a few gangsters, but no one would be arrested, much less prosecuted or convicted. Soon enough, just like today, it would all happen again. Yet the scale of this crime prompted a different response.
Gang warfare ruled the streets of Chicago during the late s, as chief gangster Al Capone sought to consolidate control by eliminating his rivals in the illegal trades of bootlegging, gambling and prostitution. The St. From to , the city of Chicago gained a widespread reputation for lawlessness and violence. In , authorities counted some 16 gang-related murders; this brand of continued until , reaching a high of 64 murders in one year during that time. Some 70 rounds of ammunition were fired.
Al Capone - Saint Valentine's Day Massacre - Tony Beradi - Crime inc - 1984
The men were gathered at a Lincoln Park garage on the morning of Valentine's Day. They were lined up against a wall and shot by four unknown assailants who were dressed like police officers. The incident resulted from the struggle to control organized crime in the city during Prohibition between the Irish North Siders and their Italian South Side rivals led by Al Capone. At a. They were shot by four men using weapons that included two Thompson submachine guns. Two of the shooters were dressed as uniformed policemen, while the others wore suits, ties, overcoats, and hats. Witnesses saw the fake police leading the other men at gunpoint out of the garage after the shooting.
On Feb. As soon as he had been stabilized, police arrived to question him as to how he had sustained the 14 gunshot wounds that brought him in, and whom it was that had shot him. Though no one was ever convicted of the crime, the consensus is that Capone orchestrated it to simply get Bugs out of his way. Moran had been working on procuring a shipment of stolen Canadian whiskey, an enterprise which Capone was already heavily invested in. The theory is that Capone lured Bugs to the warehouse, under the guise of readying a car to drive to Canada, and hit him before he knew what happened.