On the 14th February 1929, seven men with connections to Chicago’s North Side Gang were gunned down in the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. Although nobody was ever brought to trial for the murders, it is generally accepted that the attack was carried out on the orders of South Side Gang boss Al Capone.
The North Side Gang under George “Bugs” Moran had battled with Capone’s South Side Gang for control of smuggling and trafficking operations in Chicago for much of the 1920s. Capone was already earning an estimated $60 million a year from his activities, but is alleged to have sought to consolidate his control of the city by eliminating Moran.
On the morning of the 14th February, Moran’s gang assembled at their headquarters in a garage behind the offices of S.M.C. Cartage Company at 2122 North Clark Street. Although there is some disagreement over why they were there, most accounts say they were lured with the promise of stolen whiskey at a good price. At 10.30am look-outs for the gunmen confirmed that the gang was inside, and within minutes a stolen police car containing two men dressed in police uniforms and two in civilian clothes pulled up.
The “police officers” ordered the gang to line up against a wall, and then signalled for the two men in civilian clothes to open fire with 70 rounds from two Thompson sub-machine guns. When the real police arrived, they found one victim barely alive, but he refused to reveal who had carried out the attack. Moran himself was not in the garage, but the attack made Al Capone “Public Enemy No. 1”.