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Facts About The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre

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Many of us have heard of the St Valentine’s Day Massacre, but how many really know exactly what it is and what happened.  It occurred  on Feb 14, 1929, hence the name, and is considered to be one of the most famous dates in U.S. history. Here’s a couple facts about the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre.

Quick Synopsis

Gang warfare ruled the streets of Chicago during the late 1920s, as chief gangster Al Capone sought to consolidate control by eliminating his rivals in the illegal trades of bootlegging, gambling and prostitution. This rash of gang violence reached its bloody climax in a garage on the city’s North Side on February 14, 1929, when seven men associated with the Irish gangster George “Bugs” Moran, one of Capone’s longtime enemies, were shot to death by several men dressed as policemen. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, as it was known, was never officially linked to Capone, but he was generally considered to have been responsible for the murders.

How Many Were Killed?

There were 7 killed in the massacre…Frank and Peter Gusenberg, James Clark, Aday Heyer,

Reinhardt Schwimmer Al Weinshank, and John May. The Gusenberg brothers were hired killers, Weinshank was a club owner, Clark was a killer and hit man, Heyer took care of the financial affairs, and May was a mechanic.

Who Was The Target, and Where Did It Take Place?

George “Bugs” Moran, however, he got away only to die much later in prison from lung cancer.

The massacre took place at The SMC Cartage Company located at 2122 North Clark Street in Chicago.  Records indicate there were 4 men who participated in the actual shooting.  Two were dressed as policemen, while two were dressed in regular clothing.  Now there is a fence and a large tree where the garage used to be.

Couple Other Facts

The weather that day was a typical winter day with a light snow falling and a temperature of 18 degrees.

The assassins were driving an unmarked, black police Cadillac.

One Interesting Fact:

John May; one of the men who was killed was known to have always carried a case in his back pocket that held a Saint medal inside.  At some point during the massacre, it was hit by a bullet.  At that point, the medal would have saved him; however, the killers made absolutely sure that there were no survivors.  May was found still breathing; therefore he was finished off with a shotgun, point blank.

Where was Al Capone?  Apparently he was staying on Palm Island, Florida.

The massacre occurred on a Thursday.  Apparently they had other plans for the weekend.

Jack McGurn’s girlfriend, “The blonde alibi”, was just that, an alibi for McGurn.  He was questioned, but never arrested.  She had indicated that they were together in bed until 1:00 that afternoon.

Interesting enough, the killers missed Frank Gusenberg on their second inspection of the bodies. After finishing May off with the shotgun, they panicked and fled. Gusenberg lived 3 hours after the massacre but died at a local hospital. When asked who shot him he said, “Nobody shot me.” Did he not know who did it, or was he just keeping to the gangster code?

Chicago was the most corrupt city in the United States during the 1920s and early 1930s. For a while, it was also the biggest city in the U.S.

Al Capone was suspected of the crime, however, nobody was convicted of the murder. Capone remained a free man, until he was put in Alcatraz much later for income tax evasion.

John May was 39 years old when he died and Frank Gusenberg was 37, Peter Gusenberg was 40, Clark was 42, and Heyer was 40.  Weinshank, the youngest, was 35.  They were all considered middle age for gangsters.

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