Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

St. Valentine's Day Massacre

The St. Valentines Day Massacre is the name given to the shooting of seven people as part of a conflict between criminal gangs in Chicago on February 14, 1929. Although not a major event it grew out of all proportion through nationwide media attention.

Aftermath of the incident

Seven members of Bugs Moran's gang and an ophthalmologist who happened to be in the wrong place were lined up against a wall in the garage of the S-M-C Cartage Company in Chicago and shot by five members of Al Capone's gang, who were dressed like policemen. When one of the dying men, Frank Gusenberg, was asked who shot him, he replied, "Nobody shot me." Capone was conveniently on vacation in Florida at the time.

The killings were a consequence of an attempt to kill George 'Bugs' Moran. The plan was devised by Jack 'Machine Gun' McGurn on behalf of Al Capone. He assembled a team of six men led by Fred Burke and intended to have Moran lured into an ambush. Moran and his men were to be tricked into visiting a warehouse on Clark Street on the pretext of the offer of some bargain hijacked whiskey, the Burke team would then enter the building disguised as policemen and kill them. The chief suspects, McGurn and Capone, would be well away from the scene.

The plan did not work. Five men of the Burke team drove up to the warehouse in a stolen police car at around 10.30, three were dressed in police uniforms and two in ordinary clothes. They found seven members of Moran's gang but not the man himself. The gang members were told to line up against the back wall and they were then shot. Moran had been approaching the warehouse but the premature arrival of the police car scared him away. The dead men were James Clark, Frank and Pete Gusenberg, Adam Heyer, Johnny May, Reinhardt Schwimmer and Al Weinshank

When the garage, which stood at 2122 N. Clark Street, was demolished in 1967, the wall was sold and shipped brick by brick to George Patey, a Canadian businessman who recreated the wall in the men's restroom of a bar with a Roaring 20s theme. After the bar closed, Patey began trying to sell the bricks as souvenirs.