Crime History

The St. Valentine’s Day massacre

Ninety-two years ago today, four men burst into a garage on the 2122 North Clark Street of Chicago and told the six men inside to line up against the north wall. As soon as they did, several bullets rang out and five of the men were immediately dead with one left still fighting for his life. In 1929, rival gangs in Chicago became so competitive, dangerous, and deadly, resulting in various high profile assassinations, including the Valentine’s Day Massacre.

Two main gangs were running the Chicago streets – one was the North Side Gang, led by George Moran, while Al Capone ran the Capone Gang. Rising through the ranks before leading his Chicago outfit, Capone was not happy with the high competition coming from Moran’s North Side Gang. Their rivalry and enmity reached a bloody climax after a failed assassination attempt on one member of Capone’s gang named Jack “Machine Gun” McGurn by Maron. In turn, Machine Gun McGurn and Capone were angered by this and ultimately prepared a solid plan for revenge to eradicate Moran’s gang once and for all.

On February 14, 1929, six members of Moran’s gang were awaiting a shipment of stolen liquor in a garage on North Clark Street. Moments later, a Cadillac pulled up and four men, including two men dressed as police officers, stepped out of the car and entered the garage. The Moran Gang thought it was a typical police raid, and let their guard down to all of their detriments. Dropping their weapons, they were asked to line up against the wall. When they did, the four men drew out submachine guns and sprayed the Moran gang members with over ninety bullets. As part of the plan, the fake cops marched the two non-uniformed killers out of the garage, acting as if the two men were the shooters. Once inside the car, they sped off to freedom.

It was a smooth plan, except for the fact that Moran himself was not inside the garage too. Fortunately for him, he was late to the meeting. while walking towards the place, he saw the siren-equipped Cadillac outside and left the scene immediately, thinking there was a police raid going down. When the real police arrived, they found five of the six men already dead, while the last one died three hours later in the hospital.

Despite several important clues, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre was never solved. The prime suspect, Al Capone, had an airtight alibi. He was in Miami on the day of the killing and repelled other accusations that he may have ordered the massacre, as well.

In 1967, the garage was lined up for demolition, but an entrepreneur named George Patey bought the north wall where the massacre occurred. He recovered the bricks from the wall, which were filled with several bullet holes, and shipped them to Canada. He tried several failed business enterprises with the bricks before he finally sold them off. Today, the spot where the massacre took place is a silent, shaded park supervised by the Chicago Housing Authority.

Featured photo by Wendy Wei from Pexels

%d bloggers like this: