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St. Valentine Day Massacre

St. Valentine Day Massacre is the name given to the deadly shoot out that resulted due to rivalry of two powerful criminal gangs of Chicago - South Side Italian gang led by Al "Scarface" Capone and the North Side Irish/German gang led by George 'Bugs' Moran. The massacre occurred on February 14, 1929 at Lincoln Park neighborhood on the North Side of Chicago, Illinois. Seven persons got killed in the shoot out but no body was ever booked for the incident even after years of high-level investigation.

The Deadly Plan
The motive of massacre devised by Al Capone and his dreaded gang member Jack 'Machine Gun' McGurn was to eliminate arch rival Moran. The idea was to trick Moran and his gang to visit a warehouse on North Clark Street on the pretext of buying some hijacked bootleg whiskey at cheap price. A team of six men led by Fred ‘Killer' Burke would enter the venue in the disguise of police officers and carry the shoot out. McGurn and Capone, would be well away from the scene to establish their alibi.

Gruesome Massacre
Around 10:30 A.M. on Thursday, February 14, 1929, five men of the Burke team drove up to the garage of the S-M-C Cartage Company in the Lincoln Park neighborhood on the North Side of Chicago, Illinois in a stolen police car. Of the five, two were dressed in police uniforms and three in ordinary street clothes. Capone’s gang member found seven of Moran’s gang member but not Moran himself. They told Moran’s gang members to line up facing the back wall. Thinking their captors were policemen who had come to raid the place, the gang members followed the instruction. Burke’s men instantly shot and killed the men with a tommy gun. In order to leave without raising any suspicion, the men in plain clothes marched out of the garage with their hands raised, while the two men in police uniform walked behind them. To the onlookers, the scene gave the appearance that policemen had caught the bootleggers and all was well.

How The Plan Failed?
Though the massacre was carried out just as planned, it missed the prime target Moran who was by chance late for the meeting. When Moran was about to reach, he saw the police car pulling up near the garage. Moran retraced to avoid being caught up in the raid.

The Investigations
The gruesome shoot-out became popular as Valentine's Day Massacre. Even after high-level investigations, police failed to book the accused. This was because when the real police arrived at the scene it found that only Frank ‘Tight Lips' Gusenberg was alive. Gusenberg refused to name his attacker and succumbed to injuries on reaching the hospital. Prime accused of the massacre, Al Capone and McGurn proved their alibi and shooters were never identified. Hence, investigating officials failed to nab anyone for the gory massacre.

The much talked about massacre marked the end of Moran’s leadership in the North Side. Al Capone's supremacy was established and he came to be known and dreaded by all. After this incident, federal government began to pay full attention to the activities of Capone. He was convicted and imprisoned for seven years on income tax evasion charges in 1931. Capone died in Florida from Syphilis in 1947.

Later, about a year after the massacre, the police raided the home of Fred Burke - the professional killer who at times had been hired by Capone. Police found in his possession the tommy guns used in the Massacre. Though, Burke was never brought to Illinois to be tried for the massacre, he was, instead, convicted for the killing of a policeman in Michigan and sentenced to life.

The infamous massacre became the subject of the 1959 movie, “Some Like it Hot” and Roger Corman's famous 1967 film, “The St. Valentine's Day Massacre”.

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