Scarface vs. Bugs
February 14, 1929: A territorial war on the North Side of Chicago is settled when seven members of George “Bugs” Moran’s gang are executed by five members of Al “Scarface” Capone’s gang. Bootlegging was big business and the profits were high. Capone and Moran had long been fighting over territory. Moran’s men had made a attempt on Jack “Machine Gun” McGurn, a member of Capone’s gang. McGurn planned to eliminate Bugs, or at least eliminate his power.
McGurn’s plan was carried out: he and four other men, with two of them dressed as policemen arrived at the warehouse to “sell” Moran’s men some bootleg whiskey. When Moran and his lookouts saw a police cruiser arrive, they left. The “police” entered the garage and ordered the remaining seven of Moran’s men against the back wall. The thugs, not fearing mere police, did as asked. They were gunned down by Capone’s men who used Thompson machine guns. Then the men in civilian clothes lifted their hands over their heads, the “police” took them to the waiting police car, and they all left the scene.
Bugs has come to Chicago at age 19 in 1910 and came to power with his gang in 1924. He attempted to kill Johnny Torrio in 1925. Although injured, Torrio survived. He wanted to return to Italy and so he gave over the reins to Capone, then only 26 years old. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre effectively ended Moran’s power base. It also brought national attention to Capone who was eventually charged with income tax evasion. While imprisoned, Capone full of bluster, but without his network of support, declined in spirit and health. He died of a stroke that was followed by pneumonia in 1947 at age 48. Moran lived to age 65 and died of lung cancer in 1957.
The garage where the massacre took place was demolished in 1967. However, the famous back wall was dismantled brick-by-brick and the bricks were shipped to George Patey in Vancouver. There they were used to set the mood at the Banjo Palace, a Roaring Twenties themed bar.
“Yeah, I know who you are, greaseball. And if you don’t get back to the end of that fucking line, I’m gonna’ know who you were.” – James Lucas, fellow inmate at Alcatraz in an altercation with Capone.
“Possibly it wasn’t too important for the world to know that we couldn’t be bought, but I did want Al Capone and every gangster in the city to realize that there were still a few law enforcement agents who couldn’t be swerved from their duty.” – Elliot Ness
“I am like any other man. All I do is supply a demand.” – Al Capone
“Make no mistake; they’re not just ordinary drug traffickers. To call them that would be something akin to calling Al Capone a tax cheat.” – Karen Tandy