On This Day – St. Valentine’s Day Massacre


On this day in 1929, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre took place in Chicago as seven mob associates were murdered as part of a Prohibition-era conflict between two powerful criminal gangs: The South Side Italian gang led by the notorious Al Capone and the North Side Irish gang led by Bugs Moran.

On February 14, 1929, seven members of the North Side gang, plus gang collaborators Reinhardt H. Schwimmer and John May, were lined up against a garage wall in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago’s North Side, and executed with Tommy guns. Two of the shooters were dressed as uniformed police officers, while the others wore suits, ties, overcoats and hats, according to witnesses who saw the “police” leading the other men at gunpoint out of the garage after the shooting.

Six of the victims died in the garage. Frank Gusenberg was taken to a hospital but died three hours later, refusing to name who was responsible. This was one of the first major crimes in which the science of ballistics was used, however no one was ever tried or convicted for the murders of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Though the police never had enough evidence to convict Al Capone, the public knew he was responsible. In addition to making Capone a national celebrity, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre brought Capone to the attention of the federal government.