Hometown Tales Podcast

Monday, December 29, 2008

Chicago, IL - St. Valentine's Day Massacre

George ‘Bugs’ Moran was the last of the North Side Chicago gangsters. The one time horse thief, bootlegger, bank robber, Moran was a brawler (sporting a 4″ knife scar along the right side of his neck and a crooked middle finger from a badly knit broken bone) how rose up to become a famed (and much loved by the local press) Chicago gangster.

He also became Al Capone’s arch-enemy. Moran had to go.

While drinking and womanizing in Florida, the most famed gangster of all, Al Capone gave hit man “Machine Gun” McGurn the assignment of taking out Moran. McGurn created a hit team of ruthless killers: Fred “Killer” Burke, James Ray, John Scalise, Albert Anselmi, Joseph Lolordo, as well as Harry and Phil Keywell from Detroit.

McGurn hired a known bootlegger to lure the Moran gang to a garage at 2122 North Clark Street where some good whiskey was on sale at a low price. The date of the sale: February 14.

McGurn’s men would be waiting for them, dressed in stolen police uniforms and trench coats as though they were staging a raid. When the Moran gang arrived, McGurn’s “Policemen” raided the garage. The would-be bootleggers of the Moran gang put their hands over their heads and lined upp against the wall like good criminals do when busted. The “Policemen” then opened fire with two machine guns, a sawed-off shotgun and a .45. Moran’s gang was finished.

Except for Bugs Moran.

Moran, the main target, was late getting to the garage. He saw the fake policemen outside and split. He didn’t just survive the Valentine’s Day Massacre, he survived all his enemies, dying years after Al Capone. He died from a chest full of cancerous tumors, not lead.

Source: Bardsley, Marilyn, “The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre”, Court TV’s Crime Library, 2004.

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress