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Becky G
Becky G
April 15, 2024

Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre


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The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre was the murder of seven unarmed bootlegging members of Chicago’s North Side Gang, which occurred on Valentine’s Day, 1929. This incident dramatized the rivalry for control of illegal liquor trafficking during the Prohibition era in the United States. 

The victims of the massacre were Peter Gusenberg, who was a front-line enforcer for the Moran organizations, Peters Gusenberg’s brother Frank Gusenberg, who was also an enforcer, Albert Kachellek, who was Moran’s second in command, Adam Heyer, who was the bookkeeper and business manager of the Moran Gang, Reinhardt Schwimmer who was an associate of the gang, Albert Weinshack, who managed several cleaning and dyeing operations for Moran, and John May, who was an occasional car mechanic for the Moran Gang. 

The massacre happened at 10:30 in the morning at a garage at 2122 North Clark Street, in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago’s North Side. A gray Cadillac Sedan pulled up to a stop in front of the garage. Four men got out and walked inside, two of them being dressed as police officers while the rest of them were wearing suits, ties, hats, and overcoats. Two of the fake police officers were carrying guns and as they entered the garage, they found the members of the North Side Gang as well as some associates, Reinheart Schwimmer and John May, who were fixing up one of their trucks. The fake policemen ordered them to line up against the wall and two of the four men began to shoot them with Thompson submachine guns, one using a 20-round box magazine and the other one with a 50-round drum. They were very thorough and continued to shoot the men even after all 7 hit the floor. According to the coroner’s report, both the faces of John May and James Clark were left obliterated. They wanted to give the appearance of everything being alright, and the men dressed up in suits came outside with their hands up as the “policemen” followed behind them and made it look like they were arresting them. 

When the actual police arrived on the scene, they noticed that Frank Gusenberg was still alive even though he had sustained 14 bullet wounds. Police tried to question him once the doctors stabilized him briefly. He wouldn’t tell the police who did it and ended up dying three hours later. 

The massacre had been an attempt to eliminate Bugs Moran, who was head of the North Side Gang. Police speculated that Al Capone was the one responsible for ordering the massacre. The motive for the massacre could have been due to the North Side Gang hijacking some expensive whisky being illegally smuggled by Capone’s gang from Canada through the Detroit River.

The perpetrators have not been identified to this day and nobody was charged with the murders. The police suspect some people being involved like former members of the Egan’s Rats Gang and some members of the Chicago Police Department who wanted revenge for the killing of a police officer’s son. This massacre assisted in showing the violence during the Prohibition era in Chicago.

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Jessica Aguilar-Resendiz is a student who lives in Cornelius Oregon. She likes to bake, listen to music and hang out with friends.

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