VICTIMS LINED UP IN ROW
Hands Up, Faces to Wall of Garage Rendezvous, They Are Mowed Down
ALL TOOK IT FOR A RAID
Four Machine Gun Executioners, Wearing Badges, Made Swift Escape in Automobile
MORAN’S STAFF WIPED OUT
Liquor Gang Head ‘Missing — Police Chief, Roused by ‘Challenge,’ Declares ‘War.’
hicago, Feb. 14 — Chicago gangland leaders observed Valentine’s Day with machine guns and a stream of bullets and as a result seven members of the George (Bugs) Moran-Dean O’Banion, North Side Gang are dead in the most cold-blooded gang massacre in the history of this city’s underworld.
The seven gang warriors were trapped in a beer-distributors’ rendezvous at 2,122 North Clark Street, lined up against the wall by four men, two of whom were in police uniforms, and executed with the precision of a firing squad.
The killings have stunned the citizenry of Chicago as well as the Police Department, and while tonight there was no solution, the one outstanding cause was illicit liquor traffic.
The dead, as identified by the police were:
CLARK, JAMES, alias Frank Meyer and Albert Kashellek, convicted robber and burglar; brother-in-law of George Moran, the gang leader.
GUSENBERG, FRANK, who died after the others were killed, but refused to talk.
GUSENBERG, PETER, brother of Frank, a notorious gunman for [Moran’s faction].
MAY, JOHN, auto mechanic, thought to be a safe-blower before joining the Moran gang.
SCHWIMMER, REINHARDT H., a resident of Hotel Parkway, an optometrist, with offices in the Capitol Building, known as a companion of gangsters, but lacking a criminal record.
SNYDER, JOHN, alias Arthur Hayes, Adam Hoyer, Adam Hyers; convicted robber and confidence man.
WEINSHANK, ALBERT, henchman of Moran and strong-arm agent of Chicago cleaning and dyeing industry.
The dead, the greatest in point of numbers since Chicago gang killings began in 1924 with the assassination of Dean O’Banion, were remnants of the “mob” organized by O’Banion, later captained by Hymie Weiss and Peter Gusenberg and recently commanded by George (Bugs) Moran.
Capone’s Name is Mentioned
One name loomed in the police investigation under way this afternoon and tonight. It was that of Alphonse (Scarface) Capone, gang leader extraordinary.
Six of the slain gangsters died in their tracks on the floor of the North Clark Street garage, a block from Lincoln Park and its fine residential neighborhood. A seventh, with twenty or more bullets in his body, died within an hour.
The police found more than 160 empty machine gun shells strewing the floor of the execution room , and there was a report that Moran had been taken out alive by the marauders.
Police Commissioner William F. Russell and his First Deputy Commissioner, John Stege, were bewildered tonight over the fact that the ambush was arranged by two men in police uniforms, wearing police badges, and the fact that the other killers arrived at the scene in an automobile resembling a detective bureau squad car.
Police Declare “War to the Finish”
Tonight an underworld round-up unparalleled in the annals of the Police Department is under way.
“It’s a war to the finish,” Commissioner Russell said. “I’ve never known of a challenge like this – the killers posing as policemen – but now the challenge has been made, its accepted. We’re going to make this the knell of gangdom in Chicago.”
Reconstructing the massacre as it occurred, police and prosecuting officials were of the opinion that the men were victims of their own cupidity as well as the wrath of their enemies, for they had been stood up against the brick wall of the garage, their backs, rather than their faces, toward the executioners.
This morning about 10 o’clock seven men were sitting about the garage, two in the front, five others behind a wooden partition in the garage proper according to the investigators’ theory.
Four of the men were gathered about an electric stove on which bubbled a pot of coffee. A box of crackers and a half-dozen cups completed the breakfast layout. The men munched away in between telephone calls.
The fifth man, John May, the mechanic, is believed to have been puttering about the trucks, one of which was loaded with a new wooden beer bat.
There was a noise outside that rose above the clatter of Clark Street traffic, sounding like a police gong. The front door of the garage opened.
In marched two men wearing the uniforms of policemen, their stars gleaming against the blue of the cloth. Two men in civilian attire followed them. All were armed, the first two with sub-machine guns, the last two with sawed-off shotguns.
Swift Execution Accomplished
The two men in the front office threw up their hands, apparently believing a regular police raid was in progress, and marched to the rear. There was a scramble among the men about the improvised breakfast tables as they saw the police uniforms.
One of the men in police uniform probably gave the order to line up, face to the wall, and sighting May, made him join the others. As the seven stood staring at the white-washed wall, they were swiftly deprived of their weapons.
Then, it is believed, came the order to “give it to them” and the roar of the shotguns mingled with the rat-a-tat of the machine gun, a clatter like that of a gigantic type-writer.
Evidently May, incredulous that he, an ordinary mechanic, should be included, made a mad leap only to drop within six inches of a man wielding a shotgun.
The machine-gunners probably sprayed the heap of dead on the floor and then the four executioners marched out.
A tailor glanced up from his pressing iron next door, and a woman living near by ran to the street. They saw what appeared to be two men under arrest, their hands in the air, followed by two policemen.
The four climbed into what looked like a police squad car, a fifth man sitting at the wheel, the motor humming The car roared south in Clark Street, sweeping around the wrong side of a street car, and was lost in the traffic.
When police arrived upon the scene they found six of the men dead. The seventh, Frank Gusenberg, was crawling on the floor toward Police Lieutenant Tom Loftus. Gusenberg died within an hour at the Alexandrian Hospital.
The majority of the victims were dangerous men, with reputations equal to the worst, Deputy Commissioner Stege said.
“Where is ‘Bugs’ Moran?” Stege asked when his officers discovered the automobile which Moran was supposed to own.
Then came the story that perhaps he was one of the men who walked out of the garage, hands high above his head, followed by the pseudo policemen.
Squads were dispatched to seek Moran. Others were sent after information concerning “Scarface Al” Capone’s whereabouts. The latter group came back with word that Capone was at his Winter home in Miami, Fla.
The police recalled that the Aiello brothers’ gang of North Side Sicilians had a year or so ago affiliated themselves with the Moran gang, and that the Aiellos and the Caponites were deadly enemies. But no Aiellos were found.
Coroner Herman N. Bundesen reached the garage within a half hour after the fusillade. The bodies were photographed and searched.
Cash and Diamond Rings on Bodies
Lieutenants John L. Sullivan and Otto Erlanson of the Homicide Bureau checked the identifications and kept records of search results.
Peter Gusenberg had a large diamond ring and $447 in cash.
Albert Weinshank proved to be the cousin of a former State representative of the same family name. Weinshank, who recently took an “executive position” with the Central Cleaners and Dyers Company, had only $418 in cash, but he had a fine diamond ring and a bankbook showing an account in the name of A. H. Shanks.
Then a body was identified as that of John Snyder, alias Adam Meyers, alias Adam Hyers, alias Hayes. It was said that Snyder was owner of the Fairview Kennels, a dog track rivaling Capone’s Hawthorne course. Chief Egan was told that Snyder was the “brains” of the Moran “mob.” Snyder had $1,399.
The body of Mays, the overall-clad mechanic, had only a few dollars in the pockets. He was the father of seven children. A machine gun bullet had penetrated two medals of St. Christopher.
The fifth of the five bodies in the row, flat on their backs with their heads to the south, was recorded as that of Reinhardt H. Schwimmer, an optometrist. Despite his having no police record, it is said that he recently boasted that he was in the alcohol business and could have any one “taken for a ride.”
Closer to the door, face down, with his head to the east, lay John Clark, brother-in-law of Moran, and rated as a killer with many notches in his guns. His clothes contained $681.
Women’s Story Aids Police
“Bullet marks on the wall,” Captain Thomas Condon observed and it was seen that few of the pellets missed their marks, for there were only seven or eight places where the detectives were sure bullets had struck.
Each of the victims had six to ten bullets shot through him. A high-powered electric bulb overhead flooded the execution chamber with a glare of white light. Chained in a corner was a huge police dog, which strained on its fastenings and snarled at the detectives.
The police expressed amazement that the seven gangsters had been induced to face the wall and certain death without a struggle and without resistance.
“That bunch always went well armed,” a police captain said.
An explanation was seen in the story of Mrs. Alphonsine Morin, who lives just across the street from the garage. She told of seeing men she thought were policemen coming out after hearing the shooting.
“Two men in uniforms had rifles or shotguns as they came out the door,” she said, “and there were two or three men walking ahead of them with their hands up in the air. It looked as though the police were making an arrest and they all got into an automobile and drove away.”
“Quite simple,” chief Egan commented. “They would never have got that gang to line up unless they came in police uniforms.”
Typical of his life, Frank Gusenberg refused during his last hour to tell the police anything. He was conscious, but he kept defying the police who sought names from him.
Assistant State’s Attorney David Stansbury was put in charge of the investigation tonight by State’s Attorney John A. Swanson. The police, prosecutor and the Federal authorities were all working together to get trace of the slayers.
Theories about who plotted and carried out the execution were numerous.
“Hi-jackers, no doubt,” Chief of Detectives John Egan termed the dead men. Other theories were:
That the victims had been “hoisting” trucks of booze, Canadian beer, alcohol and fine liquors en route from Detroit, and the “purple Gang” of Detroit had sallied out for vengeance.
That they were involved in the bitter competition of rival organizations of cleaning and dyeing establishments, the Moran gang protecting the North Side concerns and the Capone outfit the Becker system.
That it was a sequel to the sentencing of Alderman Titus Haffa yesterday to two years in Leavenworth Prison for violating the prohibition law. Haffa’s ward adjoins the domain which Moran had ruled.
Other detectives said the killing was the work of the Capone “mob.”
“It is the answer of the Sicilians for the killing of Tony Lombardo, and it is a logical sequel to the series of murders starting five years ago with the mowing down on O’Banion,” one declared.
Appeal Made to Civic Conscience
James D. Cunningham, president of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, representing more than 2,000 industrial concerns centering around Chicago, issued an appeal tonight to “all law-abiding citizens” to assert themselves upon the issue of gang warfare as a result of today’s “massacre.”
Asserting that the story would be “broadcast internationally as the culminating blot” on the city’s name, he concluded:
“Would it not be appropriate for the city and State authorities to call a mass meeting and take steps to instill terror in the hearts of these organized murderers?”
North Side Gang “Dynasty” Falls
Gang warfare in Chicago began the slaying of Dion O’Banion in November, 1924. In the fifty months since then, thirty-eight murders, most of them attributed to the enmity between the North Side band founded by O’Banion and the West Side syndicate established by John Torrio and turned over to Al Capone, have been recorded.
Today’s massacre marked the end of the proud North Side dynasty which began with O’Banion. O’Banion yielded to Hymie Weiss who was replaced by “Schemer” Drucci, who was succeeded by “Bugs” Moran. And Moran tonight was missing; while seven of his chief aids lay dead.