St. Valentine's Day massacre
The Saint Valentine's Day massacre is the name given to the 1929 murder of 7 mob associates as part of a prohibition era
Prohibition in the United States
Prohibition in the United States was a national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, in place from 1920 to 1933. The ban was mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and the Volstead Act set down the rules for enforcing the ban, as well as defining which...

 conflict between two powerful criminal gangs in Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

: the South Side
South Side (Chicago)
The South Side is a major part of the City of Chicago, which is located in Cook County, Illinois, United States. Much of it has evolved from the city's incorporation of independent townships, such as Hyde Park Township which voted along with several other townships to be annexed in the June 29,...

Italian American
An Italian American , is an American of Italian ancestry. The designation may also refer to someone possessing Italian and American dual citizenship...

 gang led by Al Capone
Al Capone
Alphonse Gabriel "Al" Capone was an American gangster who led a Prohibition-era crime syndicate. The Chicago Outfit, which subsequently became known as the "Capones", was dedicated to smuggling and bootlegging liquor, and other illegal activities such as prostitution, in Chicago from the early...

 and the North Side Irish
Irish American
Irish Americans are citizens of the United States who can trace their ancestry to Ireland. A total of 36,278,332 Americans—estimated at 11.9% of the total population—reported Irish ancestry in the 2008 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau...

 gang led by Bugs Moran
Bugs Moran
George Clarence Moran , better known by the alias "Bugs" Moran, was a Chicago Prohibition-era gangster born in St. Paul, Minnesota. Moran, of Irish and Polish descent, moved to the north side of Chicago when he was 19, where he became affiliated with several gangs...

. Former members of the Egan's Rats
Egan's Rats
Egan's Rats was an American organized crime group that exercised considerable power in St. Louis, Missouri from 1890 to 1924. Its 35 years of criminal activity included bootlegging, labor slugging, voter intimidation, armed robbery, and murder...

 gang were also suspected to have played a large role in the St. Valentine's Day massacre, assisting Capone.


The victims of the mass murder were:
  • Peter Gusenberg
    Peter Gusenberg
    Peter Gusenberg a.k.a. "Goosey" , and his brother Frank were German-American contract killers and members of Chicago's North Side Gang, the main rival to the Chicago Outfit. Peter Gusenberg participated in an infamous attack on Al Capone during a vicious gang war.-Early life:Peter Gusenberg Jr...

    , a frontline enforcer for the Moran organization.
  • Frank Gusenberg
    Frank Gusenberg
    Frank Gusenberg was a German-American contract killer and a victim of the Saint Valentine's Day massacre in Chicago, Illinois.-Early life:...

    , the brother of Peter Gusenberg and also an enforcer. Frank was still alive when police first arrived on the scene, despite reportedly having fourteen bullets in his body. When questioned by the police about the shooting his only response was "nobody shot me". He died three hours later.
  • Albert Kachellek (alias "James Clark"), Moran's second-in-command, a retired man at the time, he was not a member of the gang himself but happened to be there at the time the killing happened.
  • Adam Heyer, the bookkeeper and business manager of the Moran gang.
  • Reinhart Schwimmer, an optician who had abandoned his practice to gamble on horse racing (unsuccessfully) and associate with the Moran gang. Though Schwimmer called himself an "optometrist" he was actually an optician
    An optician is a person who is trained to fill prescriptions for eye correction in the field of medicine, also known as a dispensing optician or optician, dispensing...

     (an eyeglass fitter) and he had no medical training.
  • Albert Weinshank, who managed several cleaning and dyeing operations for Moran. His resemblance to Moran, including the clothes he was wearing, is what allegedly set the massacre
    A massacre is an event with a heavy death toll.Massacre may also refer to:-Entertainment:*Massacre , a DC Comics villain*Massacre , a 1932 drama film starring Richard Barthelmess*Massacre, a 1956 Western starring Dane Clark...

     in motion before Moran actually arrived.
  • John May, an occasional car mechanic for the Moran gang, though not a gang member himself. May had had two earlier arrests (no convictions) but was attempting to work legally. However, his desperate need of cash, with a wife and seven children, caused him to accept jobs with the Moran gang as a mechanic.

On the morning of Thursday, February 14, 1929, St. Valentine's Day, five members of the North Side Gang
North Side Gang
The North Side family Gang, also known as the North Side Mob, was the dominant Irish-American criminal organization within Chicago during the Prohibition era from the early to late 1920s and principal rival of the Johnny Torrio-Al Capone organization, later known as the Chicago Outfit.- Early...

, plus gang collaborators Reinhardt H. Schwimmer and John May, were lined up against the rear inside wall of the garage at 2122 North Clark Street, in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago's North Side, and executed. The murders were committed by gangsters allegedly hired from outside the city by the Al Capone mob so they would not be recognized by their victims.

Two of the shooters were dressed as uniformed police officers, while the others wore suits, ties, overcoats and hats, according to witnesses who saw the "police" leading the other men at gunpoint out of the garage after the shooting. John May's German Shepherd, Highball, who was leashed to a truck, began howling and barking, attracting the attention of two women who operated boarding houses across the street. One of them, Mrs. Landesman, sensed that something was dreadfully wrong and sent one of her roomers to the garage to see what was upsetting the dog. The man ran out, sickened at the sight. Frank Gusenberg was still alive after the killers left the scene and was rushed to the hospital shortly after police arrived at the scene. When the doctors had Gusenberg stabilized, police tried to question him but when asked who shot him, he replied "Nobody shot me", despite having sustained fourteen bullet wounds. It is believed that the St. Valentine's Day Massacre resulted from a plan devised by members of the Capone gang to eliminate George 'Bugs' Moran due to the rivalry between the two gangs.

George Moran was the boss of the long-established North Side Gang, formerly headed up by Dion O'Banion, who was murdered by four gunmen five years earlier in his flower shop on North State Street. Everyone who had taken command of the North Siders since O'Banion's rule had been murdered, supposedly by various members or associates of the Capone organization. This massacre was allegedly planned by the Capone mob for a number of reasons: in retaliation for an unsuccessful attempt by Frank Gusenberg and his brother, Peter, to murder Jack McGurn
Jack McGurn
"Machine Gun" Jack McGurn was an Italian-American mobster and key member of Al Capone's Chicago Outfit.-Early life:...

 earlier in the year; the North Side Gang's complicity in the murders of Pasqualino "Patsy" Lolordo
Pasqualino Lolordo
Pasqualino "Patsy" Lolordo was an organized crime figure and head of the Chicago chapter of the Unione Siciliana a "front" organization for the Mafia, of which Lolordo was considered one of the most powerful capos during the late 1920s.Lolordo succeeded Antonio "The Scourge" Lombardo, an...

 and Antonio "The Scourge" Lombardo
Antonio Lombardo
Antonio "The Scourge" Lombardo was an American mobster. He was advisor, or consigliere, to Al Capone and later President of the Unione Siciliana.-Biography:...

 – both had been presidents of the Unione Siciliane
Unione Siciliane
The Unione Siciliana was a Sicilian-American fraternal organization which eventually was rumored to have controlled much of the Italian American vote within the United States during the early twentieth century...

, the local Mafia
The Mafia is a criminal syndicate that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in Sicily, Italy. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and whose common enterprise is protection racketeering...

, and close associates of Capone. Bugs Moran's muscling in on a Capone-run dog track in the Chicago suburbs, his takeover of several Capone-owned saloons that he insisted were in his territory, and the general rivalry between Moran and Capone for complete control of the lucrative Chicago bootlegging business were probable contributing factors to this incident.

The plan was to lure Bugs Moran to the SMC Cartage warehouse on North Clark Street. Contrary to common belief, this plan did not intend to eliminate the entire North Side gang – just Moran, and perhaps two or three of his lieutenants. It is usually assumed that they were lured to the garage with the promise of a stolen, cut-rate shipment of whiskey, supplied by Detroit's Purple Gang
The Purple Gang
The Purple Gang, also known as the Sugar House Gang, were a mob with predominantly Jewish members of bootleggers and hijackers in the 1920s, operating out of Detroit, Michigan, which was a major port for running alcohol products during Prohibition due to proximity to Canada.Many openly violent...

, also associates of Capone's. However, some recent studies dispute this, although there seems to have been hardly any other good reason for so many of the North Siders to be there. One of these theories states that all of the victims (with the exception of John May) were dressed in their best clothes, which would not have been suitable for unloading a large shipment of whiskey crates and driving it away – even though this is how they, and other gangsters, were usually dressed at the time. The Gusenberg brothers were also supposed to drive two empty trucks to Detroit that day to pick up two loads of stolen Canadian whiskey.

On St. Valentine's Day, most of the Moran gang had already arrived at the warehouse by approximately 10:30 AM. However, Moran himself was not there, having left his Parkway Hotel apartment late. As Moran and one of his men, Ted Newberry, approached the rear of the warehouse from a side street they saw the police car pull up. They immediately turned and retraced their steps, going to a nearby coffee shop. On the way, they ran into another gang member, Henry Gusenberg, and warned him away from the place. A fourth gang member, Willie Marks, was also on his way to the garage when he spotted the police car. Ducking into a doorway, he 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. That morning the physical similarity between the two men was enhanced by their dress: both happened to be wearing the same color overcoats and hats. Witnesses outside the garage saw a Cadillac sedan pull to a stop in front of the garage. Four men, two dressed in police uniform, emerged and walked inside. The two fake police officers, carrying shotguns, entered the rear portion of the garage and found members of Moran's gang and two gang collaborators, Reinhart Schwimmer and John May, who was fixing one of the trucks.

The two "police officers" then signaled to the pair in civilian clothes who had accompanied them. Two of the killers opened fire with Thompson sub-machine guns, one containing a 20-round box magazine and the other a 50-round drum. They were efficient, spraying their victims left and right, even continuing to fire after all seven had hit the floor. The seven men were ripped apart in the volley, and 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 police officers. Inside the garage, the only survivors in the warehouse were Highball, May's German Shepherd, and Frank Gusenberg. Despite fourteen bullet wounds, he was still conscious, but died three hours later, refusing to utter a word about the identities of the killers.


Since it was common knowledge that Moran was hijacking Capone's Detroit-based liquor shipments, police focused their attention on the Purple Gang
The Purple Gang
The Purple Gang, also known as the Sugar House Gang, were a mob with predominantly Jewish members of bootleggers and hijackers in the 1920s, operating out of Detroit, Michigan, which was a major port for running alcohol products during Prohibition due to proximity to Canada.Many openly violent...

. Mug shots of Purple members George Lewis, Eddie Fletcher, Phil Keywell and his younger brother Harry
Harry Keywell
Harry Keywell, , was a convicted member of Detroit's infamous Purple Gang, which terrorized the city of Detroit during Prohibition. Chicago Police questioned him about the infamous St...

, were picked out by landladies Mrs. Doody and Mrs. Orvidson, who had taken in three men as roomers ten days before the massacre; their rooming houses were directly across the street from the Clark Street garage. Later, these women wavered in their identification, and Fletcher, Lewis, and Harry Keywell were all questioned and cleared by Chicago Police. Nevertheless, the Keywell brothers (and by extension the Purple Gang) would remain ensnared in the massacre case for all time. Many also believed what the killers wanted them to believe – that the police had done it.

On February 22, police were called to the scene of a garage fire on Wood Street where a 1927 Cadillac Sedan was found disassembled and partially burned. It was determined that the car had been used by the killers. The engine number was traced to a Michigan Avenue dealer, who had sold the car to a James Morton of Los Angeles, California. The garage had been rented by a man calling himself Frank Rogers, who gave his address as 1859 West North Avenue – which happened to be the address of the Circus Café, operated by Claude Maddox
Claude Maddox
"Screwy" Claude Maddox , also known as J.E. Moore, was a Chicago mobster and head of the Circus Cafe Gang whose ranks included future Chicago mobsters Anthony "Tough Tony" Capezio, Vincenzo De Mora and Antonino "Tony" "Joe Batters" Accardo...

, a former St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

 gangster with ties to the Capone organization, the Purple Gang, and a St. Louis gang called Egan's Rats. Police could turn up no information about anyone 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 only a block away from 2122 North Clark and sideswiped what he took to be a police car. He told police later that he stopped immediately but was waved away by the uniformed driver, whom he noticed was missing a front tooth. The same description of the car's driver was also given by the president of the Board of Education, H. Wallace Caldwell, who had also witnessed the accident. Police knew that this description could be none other than a former member of Egan's Rats, Fred 'Killer' Burke; Burke and a close companion, James Ray, were well 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
John Scalise
John Scalise was an American organized crime figure of the early 20th century and, with partner Albert Anselmi, was one of the Chicago Outfit's most successful hitmen in Prohibition-era Chicago.-Early life:...

 and Albert Anselmi
Albert Anselmi
Albert Anselmi was a Chicago mobster who became a hitman during the Prohibition era for the Chicago Outfit criminal organization....

, as well as Jack McGurn himself, and Frank Rio
Frank Rio
Franklin Rio also known as "Frank Rio" and "Frank Cline" was a member of Al Capone's Chicago-based criminal organization known as the Chicago Outfit. He was also an alleged gunman in the famous 1929 St...

, a Capone bodyguard. Police eventually charged McGurn and Scalise with the massacre. John Scalise, along with Anselmi and Joseph 'Hop Toad' Giunta, were murdered by Al Capone in May 1929, after Capone learned about their plan to kill him, and before he went to trial. The murder charges against Jack McGurn were finally dropped because of a lack of evidence and he was just charged with a violation of the Mann Act
Mann Act
The White-Slave Traffic Act, better known as the Mann Act, is a United States law, passed June 25, 1910 . It is named after Congressman James Robert Mann, and in its original form prohibited white slavery and the interstate transport of females for “immoral purposes”...

: he took his girlfriend, Louise Rolfe, who was also the main witness against him and became known as the "Blonde Alibi", 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
St. Joseph, Michigan
St. Joseph is a city in the US state of Michigan. It was incorporated as a village in 1834 and as a city in 1891. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 8,789. It lies on the shore of Lake Michigan, at the mouth of the St. Joseph River, about east-northeast of Chicago. It is the county...

 bungalow of “Frederick Dane”. Dane had been the registered owner of a vehicle driven by Fred "Killer" Burke. Burke had been drinking that night, rear-ended another vehicle and drove off. Patrolman Charles Skelly pursued, finally forcing Burke off the road. As Skelly hopped on the running board he was shot three times and died of his wounds later that night. The car was found wrecked and abandoned just outside of 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.

When police raided Burke's bungalow, they found a large trunk containing a bulletproof vest, almost $320,000 in bond
Bond (finance)
In finance, a bond is a debt security, in which the authorized issuer owes the holders a debt and, depending on the terms of the bond, is obliged to pay interest to use and/or to repay the principal at a later date, termed maturity...

s recently stolen from a Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

 bank, two Thompson submachine gun
Thompson submachine gun
The Thompson is an American submachine gun, invented by John T. Thompson in 1919, that became infamous during the Prohibition era. It was a common sight in the media of the time, being used by both law enforcement officers and criminals...

s, pistols, two shotguns, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. St. Joseph authorities immediately notified the Chicago police, who requested that both machine guns be brought there at once. Through the then relatively new science of forensic ballistics, both weapons were determined to have been used in the massacre – and that one of Burke's Tommy guns had also been used to murder New York mobster Frankie Yale a year and a half earlier. Unfortunately, no further concrete evidence would surface in the massacre case. Burke would be captured over a year later on a Missouri farm. As the case against him in the murder of Officer Skelly was strongest, he was tried in Michigan and subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment. Fred Burke died in prison in 1940.


Public outrage over The St. Valentine's Day Massacre marked the beginning of the end to Capone's influence in Chicago. Although Moran suffered a heavy blow, he still managed to keep control of his territory until the early 1930s, when control passed to the Chicago Outfit
Chicago Outfit
The Chicago Outfit, also known as the Chicago Syndicate or Chicago Mob and sometimes shortened to simply the Outfit, is a crime syndicate based in Chicago, Illinois, USA...

 under Frank Nitti
Frank Nitti
Francesco Raffaele Nitto , also known as Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti, was an Italian American gangster. One of Al Capone's top henchmen, Nitti was in charge of all strong-arm and 'muscle' operations...

, who had taken control of the Capone organization after Capone's conviction for income tax evasion. The massacre also brought the belated attention of the federal government
Bureau of Prohibition
The Bureau of Prohibition was the federal law enforcement agency formed to enforce the National Prohibition Act of 1919, commonly known as the Volstead Act, which backed up the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution regarding the prohibition of the manufacture, sale, and transportation...

 to bear on Capone and his criminal activities.

In 1931, Capone was convicted of income tax evasion and was sentenced to ten years in a Federal institution, plus one year in the Cook County Jail for attempted jury tampering. The massacre ultimately affected both Moran and Capone and left the war they had with each other at a stalemate. It was a blow from which the North Side Gang never fully recovered. But the most serious blows to both gangs, as well as most others around the country, was the Stock Market Crash in October 1929, which heralded the Great Depression, and the repeal of the 18th Amendment
Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Eighteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution established Prohibition in the United States. The separate Volstead Act set down methods of enforcing the Eighteenth Amendment, and defined which "intoxicating liquors" were prohibited, and which were excluded from prohibition...

Prohibition of alcohol, often referred to simply as prohibition, is the practice of prohibiting the manufacture, transportation, import, export, sale, and consumption of alcohol and alcoholic beverages. The term can also apply to the periods in the histories of the countries during which the...

) in 1933, which had given rise to most of the lawlessness in the first place.

Though Jack McGurn would beat the massacre charges, he would be murdered in a Chicago bowling alley on February 15, 1936. The two most widely accepted theories blame either Bugs Moran or the Chicago Outfit itself under Frank Nitti with the killing, as McGurn had become a public relations liability to the Outfit.

Bolton revelations

On January 8, 1935, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 (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
Russell Gibson
Russell "Slim Gray" Gibson was an American bank robber and Depression-era outlaw associated with Alvin Karpis and the Barker Gang during the late 1920s and 1930s. Gibson spent much of his early criminal career with the Central Park Gang based in Tulsa, Oklahoma which included the Barkers, Volney...

. Also taken into custody were Doc Barker
Ma Barker
Kate "Ma" Barker was the mother of several criminals who ran the Barker gang from the "public enemy era", when the exploits of gangs of criminals in the U.S. Midwest gripped the American people and press...

, Byron Bolton, and two women. While interrogating agents got nothing out of Barker, Bolton (a hitherto obscure criminal) proved to be a "geyser of information", as one crime historian called him. Bolton, a former Navy machine-gunner and associate of Egan's Rats, had been the valet and sidekick of a slick Chicago hit man named Fred Goetz
Fred Goetz
Fred Samuel Goetz , also known as "Shotgun" George Ziegler, "George B. Seibert", George Zeigler" and was a Chicago Outfit mobster and a suspected participant in the Valentine's Day Massacre, in 1929 and Kansas City Massacre.Born in Chicago to Samuel T...

 aka Shotgun George Ziegler. Bolton was privy to many of the Barker Gang's crimes and even pinpointed the Florida hideout of Ma and Freddie Barker
Ma Barker
Kate "Ma" Barker was the mother of several criminals who ran the Barker gang from the "public enemy era", when the exploits of gangs of criminals in the U.S. Midwest gripped the American people and press...

 (both of whom were killed in a shootout with the FBI a week later.) To the agents' surprise, Bolton kept on talking and claimed to have taken part in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre with Goetz, Fred Burke, and several others.

Because the FBI had no jurisdiction in a state murder case, they attempted to keep Bolton’s revelations confidential, until the Chicago American newspaper somehow got their hands on a second-hand version of the bank robber’s confession. The newspaper declared that the crime had been “solved”, despite being stonewalled by J. Edgar Hoover
J. Edgar Hoover
John Edgar Hoover was the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States. Appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation—predecessor to the FBI—in 1924, he was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, where he remained director until his death in 1972...

 and the Bureau, who did not want any part of the massacre case. Garbled versions of Bolton’s story went out in the national media. Pieced together, his tale went like this: Bolton claimed that the murder of Bugs Moran had been plotted in “October or November” 1928 at a Couderay, Wisconsin
Couderay, Wisconsin
Couderay is a village in Sawyer County, Wisconsin, United States, along the Couderay River. The population was 96 at the 2000 census. The village is located within the Town of Couderay....

 resort owned by Fred Goetz. Present at this meet were Goetz, Al Capone, Frank Nitti, Fred Burke, Gus Winkeler
Gus Winkler
Gus Winkler was a St. Louis mobster who, with Fred “Killer” Burke, was head of a criminal gang specializing in armed robbery and murder for hire....

, Louis Campagna
Louis Campagna
Louis "Little New York" Campagna was a New York mobster and a high ranking member of the Chicago Outfit for over three decades.-Early years:...

, Daniel Serritella, William Pacelli, and Bolton himself. The men stayed two or three weeks, hunting and fishing when they were not planning the murder of their enemies.

Byron Bolton claimed he and Jimmy Moran (or Morand) 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 indeed 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
Robert Carey (gangster)
Robert Carey was a Midwestern armed robber and contract killer responsible for many crimes during the Prohibition era. He is considered a suspect in the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre of 1929....

, Raymond "Crane Neck" Nugent, and Claude Maddox
Claude Maddox
"Screwy" Claude Maddox , also known as J.E. Moore, was a Chicago mobster and head of the Circus Cafe Gang whose ranks included future Chicago mobsters Anthony "Tough Tony" Capezio, Vincenzo De Mora and Antonino "Tony" "Joe Batters" Accardo...

 (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. One witness, 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 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 further indicated he had mistaken one of Moran’s men to be Moran, after which he telephoned the signal to the Circus Café. When the killers (who had expected to kill Moran and maybe two or three of his men) 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 both an official FBI statement and her memoirs, which were published in a four-part series in a true detective magazine during the winter of 1935–36. Mrs. Winkeler 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”. Byron Bolton’s statements were also backed up by William Drury, a maverick Chicago detective who had stayed on the massacre case long after everyone else had given up. Bank robber Alvin Karpis
Alvin Karpis
Alvin Francis Karpis , nicknamed "Creepy" for his sinister smile, was an American criminal known for his alliance with the Barker gang in the 1930s. He was the last "public enemy" to be taken.-Early life:Karpis was born to Lithuanian immigrants in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and was raised in Topeka,...

 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 himself 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 he named, with the exceptions of Burke and Maddox, were all dead by 1935. Bank robber Harvey Bailey
Harvey Bailey
Harvey John Bailey , called "The Dean of American Bank Robbers", had a long criminal career. One of the most successful bank robbers during the 1920s, walking off with over $1 million during that time, Bailey is almost forgotten today.- His career :Born in West Virginia, Bailey robbed his first...

 would later complain in his 1973 autobiography that he and Fred Burke had been drinking beer in Calumet City
Calumet City, Illinois
Calumet City is a city in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 39,072 at the 2000 census. The ZIP code is 60409.Calumet City was founded in 1892 when the villages of Schrumville and Sobieski Park merged under the name of West Hammond, since it lies on the west side of the...

 at the time of the massacre, and the resulting heat forced them to abandon their bank robbing ventures. Claude Maddox was questioned fruitlessly by Chicago Police, and there the matter lay. Crime historians are still divided on whether or not the “American Boys” committed the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

Other suspects

Over the years, many mobsters, in and out of Chicago, would be named as part of the Valentine's Day hit team. Two prime suspects are Cosa Nostra hit men John Scalise and Albert Anselmi; both men were effective killers and are frequently mentioned as possibilities for two of the shooters. In the days after the massacre, Scalise was heard to brag, “I am the most powerful man in Chicago.” He had recently been elevated to the position of vice-president in the Unione Siciliana by its president, Joseph Guinta. Nevertheless, Scalise, Anselmi, and Guinta would be found dead on a lonely road near Hammond, Indiana
Hammond, Indiana
Hammond is a city in Lake County, Indiana, United States. It is part of the Chicago metropolitan area. The population was 80,830 at the 2010 census.-Geography:Hammond is located at ....

 on May 8, 1929. Gangland lore has it that Al Capone had discovered that the pair was planning to betray him. At the climax of a dinner party thrown in their honor, Capone produced a baseball bat and beat the trio to death.

Murder weapons

The two Thompson submachine gun
Thompson submachine gun
The Thompson is an American submachine gun, invented by John T. Thompson in 1919, that became infamous during the Prohibition era. It was a common sight in the media of the time, being used by both law enforcement officers and criminals...

s (serial numbers 2347 and 7580) found in Fred Dane’s (an alias for Fred Burke) Michigan bungalow were personally driven to the Chicago coroner’s office by the Berrien County District Attorney. Ballistic expert Calvin Goddard tested the weapons 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
Frankie Yale
Francesco Ioele , better known as Frankie Uale or Frankie Yale, was a Brooklyn gangster and original employer of Al Capone before the latter moved to Chicago...

, which confirmed the New York Police Department’s long-held theory that Burke, and by extension Al Capone, had been responsible for Yale's death.

Gun No. 2347 had been originally purchased on November 12, 1924 by Les Farmer, a deputy sheriff in Marion, Illinois
Marion, Illinois
The city of Marion is the county seat of Williamson County, Illinois. The 2010 census counted 17,193 residents, making Marion the 25th most populated city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area, in Illinois, and the second most populous city in Southern Illinois, outside of the Metro-East, behind...

, which happened to be the seat of Williamson County. Marion and the surrounding area were then overrun by the warring bootleg factions of the Shelton Brothers
Shelton Brothers Gang
The Shelton Brothers Gang was an early Prohibition era bootlegging gang based in southern Illinois. They were the main rivals of the famous bootlegger Charles Birger. In 1950 the Saturday Evening Post described the Sheltons as "America's Bloodiest Gang"....

 and Charlie Birger. Deputy Farmer was documented as having ties with Egan’s Rats, based 100 miles (160 km) away in St. Louis. By the beginning of 1927 at the very latest, the weapon had wound up in Fred Burke’s possession. It is possible he had used this same gun in Detroit’s Milaflores Massacre
Milaflores Massacre
The Milaflores Massacre is the name given to the shooting of three gangsters in retaliation for two murders and a kidnapping in the winter of 1927 in Detroit, Michigan...

 on March 28, 1927.

Gun No. 7580 had been sold by Chicago sporting goods owner Peter von Frantzius to a Victor Thompson (also known as Frank V. Thompson) in the care of the Fox Hotel of Elgin, Illinois
Elgin, Illinois
Elgin is a city in northern Illinois located roughly northwest of Chicago on the Fox River. Most of Elgin lies within Kane County, Illinois, with a portion in Cook County, Illinois...

. Some time after the purchase the machine gun 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 submachine guns are still in the possession of the Berrien County
Berrien County, Michigan
Berrien County is a county located in the extreme southwest of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is included in the Niles-Benton Harbor, Michigan Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population was 156,813. The county seat is St. Joseph....

 Sheriff's Department in St. Joseph, Michigan.

Crime scene and bricks from the murder wall

The garage, which stood at 2122 N. Clark Street, was demolished in 1967; the site is now a landscaped parking lot for a nursing home . There is still controversy over the actual bricks used to build the north inside wall of the building where the mobsters were lined up and shot. They were claimed to be responsible, according to stories, for bringing financial ruin, illness, bad luck and death to anyone who bought them.

The bricks from the bullet-marked inside North wall were purchased and saved by Canadian businessman George Patey in 1967. His original intention was to use them in a restaurant that he represented, but the restaurant's owner did not like the idea. Patey ended up buying the bricks himself, outbidding three or four others. Patey had the wall painstakingly taken apart and had each of the 414 bricks numbered, then shipped them back to Canada.

There are different reports about what George Patey did with the bricks after he got them. In 1978, Time Magazine reported that Patey reassembled the wall and put it on display in a wax museum with gun-wielding gangsters shooting each other in front of it to the accompaniment of recorded bangs. The wax museum later went bankrupt. Another source, an independent newspaper in the United Kingdom, reported in February 2000 that the wall toured shopping malls and exhibitions in the United States for a couple of decades. In 1968 Patey stopped exhibiting the bricks and put them into retirement.

Patey opened a nightclub called the Banjo Palace in 1971. It had a Roaring Twenties
Roaring Twenties
The Roaring Twenties is a phrase used to describe the 1920s, principally in North America, but also in London, Berlin and Paris for a period of sustained economic prosperity. The phrase was meant to emphasize the period's social, artistic, and cultural dynamism...

 theme. The famous bricks were installed inside the men's washroom with Plexiglas placed right in front of them to shield them, so that patrons could urinate and try to hit the targets painted on the Plexiglas. In a 2001 interview with an Argentinian journalist, Patey said, "I had the most popular club in the city. People came from high society and entertainment, Jimmy Stewart
James Stewart (actor)
James Maitland Stewart was an American film and stage actor, known for his distinctive voice and his everyman persona. Over the course of his career, he starred in many films widely considered classics and was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one in competition and receiving one Lifetime...

, Robert Mitchum
Robert Mitchum
Robert Charles Durman Mitchum was an American film actor, author, composer and singer and is #23 on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest male American screen legends of all time...


The bricks were placed in storage until 1997 when Patey tried to auction them off on a website called Jet Set On The Net. The deal fell through after a hard time with the auction company. The last known substantial offer for the entire wall was made by a Las Vegas casino but Patey refused the $175,000 offer.
In 1999, Patey tried to sell them brick by brick on his own website and sold about a hundred to gangster buffs. These came with signed certificates by Patey.
Patey died on December 26, 2004, having never revealed how much he paid to buy the bricks at auction. The remaining bricks of his massacre wall were given as an inheritance to his niece. She ended up selling them to the soon to open Las Vegas mob museum. While the wall is no longer complete because of Patey selling a few dozen from it, it still remains the original massacre wall against which the seven men were lined up and killed by Capone hired killers.
The trail of the authentic St.Valentine's day massacre bricks

Fictional depictions and allusions

  • The massacre was used as a plot device in the 1959 film Some Like it Hot
    Some Like It Hot
    Some Like It Hot is an American comedy film, made in 1958 and released in 1959, which was directed by Billy Wilder and starred Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and George Raft. The supporting cast includes Joe E. Brown, Pat O'Brien and Nehemiah Persoff. The film is a remake by Wilder and I....

  • The massacre was famously the subject of Roger Corman
    Roger Corman
    Roger William Corman is an American film producer, director and actor. He has mostly worked on low-budget B movies. Some of Corman's work has an established critical reputation, such as his cycle of films adapted from the tales of Edgar Allan Poe, and in 2009 he won an Honorary Academy Award for...

    's 1967 film The St. Valentine's Day Massacre
    The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (film)
    The St. Valentine's Day Massacre is a 1967 gangster film based on the 1929 Chicago mass murder of seven members of the Northside gang, directed against George "Bugs" Moran by Al Capone...

    . This film, possibly the most well-known of all portrayals of the incident, is a mixture of solid historical facts and conjecture.
  • The massacre is also featured in a scene from the original Scarface
    Scarface (1932 film)
    Scarface is a 1932 American gangster film starring Paul Muni and George Raft, produced by Howard Hughes, directed by Howard Hawks and Richard Rosson, and written by Ben Hecht based on the 1929 novel of the same name by Armitage Trail...

  • The TV series Early Edition
    Early Edition
    Early Edition is an American television series that aired on CBS from September 28, 1996 to May 27, 2000. Set in the city of Chicago, Illinois, it follows the adventures of a man who mysteriously receives each Chicago Sun-Times newspaper the day before it is actually published, and who uses this...

    included a season 4 episode named “Everybody Goes to Rick’s”. Its story is based on the event.
  • Ska band Mark Foggo's Skasters
    Mark Foggo's Skasters
    Mark Foggo is an English-born ska musician currently based in Antwerp, Belgium.Beginning his music career in Amsterdam in 1979, Foggo became a prominent figure in Europe's post-2-Tone ska scene, most notably with his band Mark Foggo's Skasters, formed in 1987...

     made an album and a song called "St Valentines Day Massacre"
  • It also inspired the song "Valentine's Day" by singer/song-writer James Taylor
    James Taylor
    James Vernon Taylor is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Taylor was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000....

     and rapper 50 Cent
    50 Cent
    Curtis James Jackson III , better known by his stage name 50 Cent, is an American rapper, entrepreneur, investor, record producer, and actor. He rose to fame with the release of his albums Get Rich or Die Tryin and The Massacre . Get Rich or Die Tryin has been certified eight times platinum by...

    's 2005 album The Massacre
    The Massacre
    The Massacre is the second studio album by American rapper 50 Cent, released March 3, 2005 on Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records in the United States. Its initially planned release was pushed five days ahead to avoid Internet leakage. The album debuted at number 1 on the U.S. Billboard...

    , initially titled "The St. Valentine's Day Massacre".
  • The 1991 movie Oscar
    Oscar (1991 film)
    Oscar is a 1991 American comedy film directed by John Landis. Based on the Claude Magnier stage play, it is can be considered a remake of the 1967 film of the same name, but the settings has been moved to the Depression era New York City and centers around a mob boss trying to go straight...

    , starring Sylvester Stallone
    Sylvester Stallone
    Michael Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone , commonly known as Sylvester Stallone, and nicknamed Sly Stallone, is an American actor, filmmaker, screenwriter, film director and occasional painter. Stallone is known for his machismo and Hollywood action roles. Two of the notable characters he has portrayed...

    , includes a reference to the massacre as well. Stallone plays "Snaps" Provolone, a prominent gangster in Chicago in 1931. In a scene early in the movie, his accountant reminds him, "You were in Chicago... It was Saint Valentine's Day," at which Stallone and one of his goons exchange a knowing smile and a chuckle.
  • The nickname of the "St. Valentine's Day massacre" has also been used to refer to the sixth, and final match-up, between boxers Sugar Ray Robinson
    Sugar Ray Robinson
    Sugar Ray Robinson was an African-American professional boxer. Frequently cited as the greatest boxer of all time, Robinson's performances in the welterweight and middleweight divisions prompted sportswriters to create "pound for pound" rankings, where they compared fighters regardless of weight...

     and Jake LaMotta
    Jake LaMotta
    Giacobbe LaMotta , better known as Jake LaMotta, nicknamed "The Bronx Bull" and "The Raging Bull", is a former American world middleweight champion boxer...

    , because it took place on Valentine's Day in 1951, and because of the beating that LaMotta took, which caused the fight to be stopped in the 13th round.
  • At Disney's Hollywood Studios' Great Movie Ride attraction a set of the ride is Chicago in the 1920s where a shootout takes place. One of the gangster's cars has a license plate of 021429, the date of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
  • Since 1963, an annual route-finding contest played out entirely on Rand McNally
    Rand McNally
    Rand McNally is an American publisher of maps, atlases, textbooks, and globes for travel, reference, commercial, and educational uses. It also provides online consumer street maps and directions, as well as commercial transportation routing software and mileage data...

     Road Atlases
    is called the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, as entrants must register by February 14.
  • The movie The Untouchables: Capone Rising will feature a heavily fictionalised version of the massacre, with fictional police detective Jim Malone (played by Sean Connery
    Sean Connery
    Sir Thomas Sean Connery , better known as Sean Connery, is a Scottish actor and producer who has won an Academy Award, two BAFTA Awards and three Golden Globes Sir Thomas Sean Connery (born 25 August 1930), better known as Sean Connery, is a Scottish actor and producer who has won an Academy...

     in the original movie and by Gerard Butler
    Gerard Butler
    Gerard James Butler is a Scottish actor who has appeared on film, stage, and television. A trained lawyer, Butler turned to acting in the mid-1990s with small roles in productions such as the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies , which he followed with steady work on television, most notably in...

     in the prequel) leading the Irish Gangsters against Al Capone in revenge for Capone killing a witness he had promised not to harm.
  • In 1981, Motörhead and Girlschool
    Girlschool are a British heavy metal band originating out of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal scene in 1978 and frequently associated with contemporaries Motörhead. They are the longest running all-female rock band, still active after more than 30 years...

     released an EP
    Extended play
    An EP is a musical recording which contains more music than a single, but is too short to qualify as a full album or LP. The term EP originally referred only to specific types of vinyl records other than 78 rpm standard play records and LP records, but it is now applied to mid-length Compact...

     under the title St. Valentine's Day Massacre
    St. Valentine's Day Massacre EP
    St. Valentine's Day Massacre is a single credited to MotörheadGirlschool, recorded by members of Motörhead and Bronze Records labelmates Girlschool. It reached number five in UK Singles Charts in 1981.-History:...

  • "The Valentine's Day Massacre" is a song on the 2009 album Lost Verses
    Lost Verses
    Lost Verses is the first compilation album by Australian deathcore band The Red Shore, released on 9 May 2009. It was released through Australian record label Stomp Entertainment and features re-recorded tracks from the band's past. The album was recorded in between tours in early 2009...

     by the band The Red Shore
    The Red Shore
    The Red Shore were an Australian death metal band from Melbourne, Victoria, formed in 2004. The band claims their style is a combination of death metal and technical death metal, though they are often referred to as a deathcore band....

  • "The Touchables" is a 1960's top-ten hit that parodied the Valentine's Day Massacre using samples from popular songs.
  • The song "Peacemaker" from Green Day
    Green Day
    Green Day is an American punk rock band formed in 1987. The band consists of lead vocalist and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, bassist and backing vocalist Mike Dirnt, and drummer Tre Cool...

    's 21st Century Breakdown
    21st Century Breakdown
    21st Century Breakdown is the eighth studio album by the American punk rock band Green Day. It is the band's second rock opera, following American Idiot, and their first album to be produced by Butch Vig. Green Day commenced work on the record in January 2006...

     album has a line containing the words "This is a neo-St. Valentines Massacre"
  • In an episode of The Golden Girls, Sophia claims to have been there for the massacre.
  • Singer Joe Bataan
    Joe Bataan
    Joe Bataan is a Filipino-African American Latin R&B musician from New York.- Early life and career :...

     released an album in 1972 under the title "Saint Latin's Day Massacre" (Fania Records
    Fania Records
    Fania Records was a New York based record label founded by Dominican-born composer and bandleader Johnny Pacheco and Italian-American lawyer Jerry Masucci in 1964. The label took its name from an old Cuban song by the singer Reinaldo Bolaño. Fania is known for its promotion of what has become...

  • In the episode "Goodies Rule – O.K?", The Goodies
    The Goodies
    The Goodies are a trio of British comedians who created, wrote, and starred in a surreal British television comedy series called The Goodies during the 1970s and early 1980s combining sketches and situation comedy.-Honours:All three Goodies now have OBEs...

     lampoon the incident by dressing up as gangsters of the period and attacking the victims against the wall with pies instead of Thompson submachine guns. "The authorities were finally to sit up and take note of their activities after the events of February 14th, St Valentines day," The Goodies
    The Goodies
    The Goodies are a trio of British comedians who created, wrote, and starred in a surreal British television comedy series called The Goodies during the 1970s and early 1980s combining sketches and situation comedy.-Honours:All three Goodies now have OBEs...

     had formed a gang known as the "Unmentionables". Originally broadcast: 21/12/75.
  • On the 1974 Album, Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits,the front cover features artwork depicting the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
  • In episode 6x14 of TV series Bones
    Bones (TV series)
    Bones is an American crime drama television series that premiered on the Fox Network on September 13, 2005. The show is based on forensic anthropology and forensic archaeology, with each episode focusing on an FBI case file concerning the mystery behind human remains brought by FBI Special Agent...

    , Agent Booth and Dr. Brennan celebrate Valentine's Day by shooting Tommy guns at firing range "in honor of the St.Valentine's Day Massacre".
  • A February 1999 WWE PPV was called "Valentines Day Massacre"
  • The song "Taking My Ball" in the album, "Relapse
    Relapse, in relation to drug misuse, is resuming the use of a drug or a dependent substance after one or more periods of abstinence. The term is a landmark feature of both substance dependence and substance abuse, which are learned behaviors, and is maintained by neuronal adaptations that mediate...

     : Refill" by Eminem
    Marshall Bruce Mathers III , better known by his stage name Eminem or his alter ego Slim Shady, is an American rapper, record producer, songwriter and actor. Eminem's popularity brought his group project, D12, to mainstream recognition...

    features this event in its lyrics.

External links

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