Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day..............Massacre

While we share feelings of affection today with those we love, there was a time in our past when sudden, brutal murder was the Valentine's Day topic.

Photo of the Actual Crime Scene, Valentine's Day, 1929
The date was February 14, 1929.  The place was Chicago's neighborhood of Lincoln Park.  The target was Bugsy Moran, who was not even present.

A crowd Gathers Outside The Crime Scene
Bugsy Moran
In short, two rival gangs vied for control of Chicago's bootleg alcohol business:  Al Capone's southside gang, and Bugsy Moran's northsiders.

Four unknown perpetrators ambushed seven members of Bugsy Moran's mob, lining them up against a brick wall and executing them with Thompson submachine guns and a shotgun.  One of the victims, Fred Gusenberg, suffered 14 bullet wounds.  Oddly, he was still alive when police arrived.  When asked who had committed the massacre, he replied, "Nobody shot me".  He died shortly afterward.

Al Capone
The killings shocked the nation, and the federal government became involved in the effort to shut down the activities of the gangs.  In effect, this massacre became the beginning of the end for the two prohibition era Chicago mobs.  Al Capone was convicted of income tax evasion two years later and eventually died in prison.  Bugsy Moran's gang was so weakened that it became a shell of its former self.

No one was ever convicted of the crime.  Leading theories blamed Capone's northside gang or possibly elements of Detroit's Purple Gang, which had a relationship with Capone.

The two Thompson submachine guns used in the massacre were recovered in a raid on the bungalow of gangster Fred "Killer" Burke in late 1929.  One had a 20-round magazine and the other was fitted with a 50-round drum.  Both murder weapons are now in the possession of the Berrien County Sheriff's Department in St Joseph, Michigan.

PS---check out Cindy's blog at


  1. Now this has to be the most interesting Valentine's Day post I've seen yet. :)

  2. I agree! Thanks for giving us something else to think about today :) While we take little moments in time for granted. Happy Monday to you!

  3. Thank you for the post. Have a nice Valentine's Day.
    Greetings Sabine

  4. And this was the start of many Mob movies. What would Hollywood do without tragedies.

  5. I'm struck by how much Al Capone looked like James Cagney. They could be blood related :-). The story of the massacre is really interesting.I'm really glad you shared it with us. Blessings...Mary

  6. My husband sure did think outside The Box with his Valentine's Day post ... this one and the one yesterday about the Valentine Meat Juice bottle! Can't say he's not creative! ♥

  7. wow..what a great post..that i like very much!!)Happy valentine to you too

  8. Thank you Clint, this was very interesting and comprehensive. Happy love day to you and Cindy.

  9. Thanks Clint....hope you both have had it too ♥


  10. I remember as a kid watching an old movie of the St. Valentine's Day massacre. Sort of takes the "Love" out of this special day when violence erupts. Great post. God bless, Lloyd

  11. Things haven't changed much in Chicago, have they? It still seems to produce some of the best crooked politicians and thugs in the country.

  12. Hi Clint -

    Wow! Where did you get those photos?

    I remember the movie about that - quite interesting indeed.

    Thank you, Clint, for sharing this organized crime "fact sheet."