A Killer Valentine's Day in Chicago...

A Killer Valentine's Day in Chicago...
St. Valentine's Day Massacre, 1929 -- Chicago Tribune Photo

Most people get chocolates or flowers or even gift cards for Valentine’s Day.

On February 14, 1929, seven men got bullets.  Lots of them, delivered by Tommy Guns.  This is Chicago’s contribution to the day of love.

Alphonse Gaberiel Capone was fingered as the most likely suspect, but the original Scareface was in Florida at the time.  So he says.

The seven men were either members of, or associated with, the north-side “Bugs” Moran gang.  Big Al was the scion of the south-side gang, happily dealing in illegal booze, working women and  shady games of chance.  In other words, he was the respectable business man of the time, so he also said.  Often.

Nobody was ever arrested and convicted for the carnage at the cartage garage, but here is how it went down.

A woman eye-witness, who lived in an apartment across the street from the garage at 2122 North Clark, said she saw two uniform police men exit the building  with several plain clothed men, hands up, in front of them.  That would explain all the shooting: the police took down some gangsters.

Well, not really.

When the real police arrived they found six dead men in a pool of blood, and one clinging to life.  The one mug who lived, Frank Gusenberg, was rushed to the hospital and when he finally revived, he lifted his head and choked out that he “Ain’t going to talk,” then died right on cue.  Pure Hollywood, only it was real.

Nobody talked.

To this day, it is an unsolved mystery and probably the most popular cold case murder in Chicago annuls of cold cases.

Capone skated on this one, but  it was said that when it came to taking out Moran, he would have to kill a bunch of people.   Capone allowed that this would be okay.  He’d send flowers.  Hint, hint: he targeted Moran on St. Valentine’s Day?  A clue!

Talk about showing the love.

Ironically, “Bugs” Moran was not present and was saved from becoming Irish Swiss Cheese.  He went on to further bootlegging success on the north side until Prohibition was repealed.  Bugs died a pauper in 1957, right before he was scheduled to do some hard time at Leavenworth Prison.

Capone gets all the press, but without Moran it would have been a bit dull.

Bugs left us with his own tradition.  He gained lasting  fame  for driving past an enemy gang’s hideout and spraying it with bullets from his Tommy Guns.  Bug’s invented the “drive-by shooting”.

Wouldn’t it be sweet if this crime could be pinned on somebody?



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  • Another well written and fun article! Great research and consistently funny!

  • 1929 The Valentine's Day Massacre MURDERER BURKE. Burke accused of killing 7 Moran gangsters. And wanted for killing gangster Thomas Bonner. Chicago Police CALLED him SUPER GUN MAN, He was sought after by three states who surprised and caught him in bed yesterday in his father-in-law Barney Porter home , St. Joseph MO, feared as the most dangerous man in America, Quoted, Notorious Super Killer, Kidnapper, Bank Robber! Leader of five most dangerous gangsters machine gun bandits, killing policeman George Zimmermann, another gangster Franky Uale. Another paper I have,, has his execution noted. If anyone would like this original Chicago newspaper free, let me know. I have no use for it.
    Thought it was interesting, not much was said here about the actual shooters, leader of the V-D massacre.

  • In reply to venuewi:


  • Happy Holidays to all.
    Not sure if i can say Merry Christmas.
    I accidently found this blog, while researching Chicago hoping to find a collector interested in my Grand dad's Chicago memorabilia, nephew of the Great Dr. Nicholas Senn (1800s famed surgeon who pioneer the medical in Chicago) change the world, another story in its self. My grand dad also surgeon, famed in experiments and football in Chicago, grad of Chicago Rush Hospital, Chicago Military Medical University, WI University Dr. George Senn. I have several boxes of early Chicago while he was there, example 1899 football team signed banquet program held right after the big game with Pat O'Dea (The famed Kangaroo kicker) who historically put Chicago around the world with his kick that night in Nov 89, but the famed coach Phil King also signed along with rest of the team, quite interesting things my grand dad kept from his Chicago days, If you don't know what I'm talking about, nor care, but if so look up Dr. Nicholas Senn, Phillip King, Patrick O'Dea, I was surprised grand dad a 2x world record holder and team mate, surgeon ec etc was never mentioned in the Chicago archives. Being best buds with A.A. Stggs (Alonzo Amos Staggs) Legendary coach they published Chicago season tickets 30-40 years before any of them were famous, I have set of the season tickets pub by Staggs and signed by him too, plus ton of doc stuff, sports stuff if anyone is interested in archiving their history or wanting this memorabilia from 1898-1904.
    Take care, have a safe and happy holiday, OH we tried but 57 years in WI my first OWL crashed into our windshield Sunday night, Owl 3ft lived but WS blasted.
    And if anyone can help me with this Chicago doc & football stuff I'd great appreciate the links or help. Its been stored away since he passed away nearly 60-70 years ago and lot of interesting things I feel should be archived in Chicago.
    Also wondering if I'm talking blind here or to myself.
    Kewaunee WI,
    link here I found but more on the great uncle not grand dad,

    professor of surgery at Chicago’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, now the medical school of the University of Illinois. He was elected professor of practical and clinical surgery of Rush Medical College in 1890, a post he held until his death. He also served as the professor of surgery at the University of Chicago.
    In 1897 he served as the 49th President of the American Medical Association

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