Publish date:
Updated on
Year
1929

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

Four men dressed as police officers enter gangster Bugs Moran’s headquarters on North Clark Street in Chicago, line seven of Moran’s henchmen against a wall, and shoot them to death. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, as it is now called, was the culmination of a gang war between arch rivals Al Capone and Bugs Moran.

George “Bugs” Moran was a career criminal who ran the North Side gang in Chicago during the bootlegging era of the 1920s. He fought bitterly with “Scarface” Al Capone for control of smuggling and trafficking operations in the Windy City. Throughout the 1920s, both survived several attempted murders. On one notorious occasion, Moran and his associates drove six cars past a hotel in Cicero, Illinois, where Capone and his associates were having lunch and showered the building with more than 1,000 bullets.

A $50,000 bounty on Capone’s head was the final straw for the gangster. He ordered that Moran’s gang be destroyed. On February 14, a delivery of bootleg whiskey was expected at Moran’s headquarters. But Moran was late and happened to see police officers entering his establishment. Moran waited outside, thinking that his gunmen inside were being arrested in a raid. However, the disguised assassins were actually killing the seven men inside.

The murdered men included Moran’s best killers, Frank and Pete Gusenberg. Reportedly Frank was still alive when real officers appeared on the scene. When asked who had shot him, the mortally wounded Gusenberg kept his code of silence, responding, “No one, nobody shot me.”

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre actually proved to be the last confrontation for both Capone and Moran. Capone was jailed in 1931 and Moran lost so many important men that he could no longer control his territory. On the seventh anniversary of the massacre, Jack McGurn, one of the Valentine’s Day hit men,was killed him in a crowded bowling alley with a burst of machine-gun fire.

McGurn’s killer remains unidentified, but was likely Moran, though he was never charged with the murder. Moran was relegated to small-time robberies until he was sent to jail in 1946. He died in Leavenworth Federal Prison in 1957 of lung cancer.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Valentine’s Day Massacre takes place

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 ...read more

Captain Cook killed in Hawaii

On February 14, 1779, Captain James Cook, the great English explorer and navigator, is murdered by natives of Hawaii during his third visit to the Pacific island group. In 1768, Cook, a surveyor in the Royal Navy, was commissioned a lieutenant in command of the HMS Endeavour and ...read more

St. Valentine beheaded

On February 14, around the year 270A.D., Valentine, a holy priest in Rome in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed. Under the rule of Claudius the Cruel, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody campaigns. The emperor had to maintain a strong army, but was having a ...read more

Gallup Poll released

Despite an increasingly active antiwar movement, a Gallup Poll shows that a majority of those polled (55 percent) oppose an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam. Those that favored American withdrawal had risen from 21 percent, in a November poll, to 35 percent. ...read more

Tornadoes sweep through southern Georgia

On this day in 2000, a series of tornadoes moves through southern Georgia, wreaking havoc and killing 18 people. The storm system that swept across the southeastern United States on February 14 was highly unusual. Tornadoes in the United States typically strike on spring ...read more

Sandinistas agree to free elections

At a meeting of the presidents of Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and El Salvador, the leftist Sandinista government of Nicaragua agrees to free a number of political prisoners and hold free elections within a year; in return, Honduras promises to close bases being ...read more

Sherman enters Meridian, Mississippi

On this day in 1864, Union General William T. Sherman enters Meridian, Mississippi, during a winter campaign that served as a precursor to Sherman’s March to the Sea campaign in Georgia. This often-overlooked Mississippi campaign was the first attempt by the Union at total ...read more

Toyota patriarch born

Sakichi Toyoda, whose textile machinery company spawned the Toyota Motor Corporation, is born in Japan on February 14, 1867. In 2008, Toyota surpassed the American auto giant General Motors (GM) to become the world’s largest automaker. Referred to as Japan’s Thomas Edison, ...read more