This Day In History: 02/14/1929 - Valentine's Day Massacre

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On this day in 1929 in Chicago, gunmen in the suspected employment of organized-crime boss Al Capone murder seven members of the George "Bugs" Moran North Siders gang in a garage on North Clark Street. The so-called St. Valentine's Day Massacre stirred a media storm centered on Capone and his illegal Prohibition-era activities and motivated federal authorities to redouble their efforts to find evidence incriminating enough to take him off the streets. Alphonse Capone was born in Brooklyn in 1899, the son of Italian immigrants from Naples. In 1921 his old friend Johnny Torrio lured him to Chicago, where Torrio had built up an impressive crime syndicate and was beginning to make a fortune on the illicit commerce of alcohol. In 1925, Torrio was shot four times by Bugs Moran and Hymie Weiss, who were associates of a gangster slain by Torrio's men. Capone was in Florida in February 1929 when he gave the go-ahead for the assassination of Bugs Moran. On February 13, a bootlegger called Moran and offered to sell him a truckload of high quality whiskey at a low price. Moran took the bait and the next morning pulled up to the delivery location where he was to meet several associates and purchase the whisky. He was running a little late, and just as he was pulling up to the garage he saw what looked like two policemen and two detectives get out of an unmarked car and head to the door. Thinking he had nearly avoided being caught in a police raid, Moran drove off. The four men, however, were Capone's assassins. Wearing their stolen police uniforms and heavily armed, Capone's henchmen surprised Moran's men, who agreed to line up against the wall. Thinking they had fallen prey to a routine police raid, they allowed themselves to be disarmed. A moment later, they were gunned down in a hail of shotgun and submachine-gun fire. Six were killed instantly, and the seventh survived for less than an hour.

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