on December 21, 2006
A large black bus with gun shot holes along the sides, pulled up to the curb. Two well-dressed men in pin striped suits and wing tipped shoes beckoned us aboard. Southside and Sal would be our guides through the unsavory parts of Chicago.The door had no more than closed when a thunder of machine guns filled the air. Several flinched, but this wasn’t what Southside wanted. He said we needed to duck at the first sound of gunfire, least we be killed. Informed of safety procedures, we were ready to depart.We were driven to several notable locations with gruesome narrations along the way. Our first stop was a flower shop on North State Street. Dion O’Bannion owned this store during prohibition. While flowers were purchased and being taken out the front door, beer was being hauled off out the back door. Across the street still stands the Holy Name Cathedral where he had been an altar boy.Trying to muscle in on the Westside territory resulted in his death as he was pruning flowers in the front of his shop. Three men, 6 shots with one at close range to the head, ended O'Banion's reign.The demise of “Big Jim” Colosimo, Johnny Torrio and Al Capone reached the top of the ladder. Torrio had wanted to cease the unrest between the Northside and Southside, but paying respects to O’Bannion’s body did little. “Bugs” Moran riddled Torrio’s car with bullets days later. He didn’t though. He was taken to a hospital. Although he didn’t squeal, a young boy revealed what he’d seen. Fearing certain death, Torrio chose to go to jail straight from the hospital on a previously contested violation. Upon release it was rumored he went to New Jersey or Italy.While more than 15 gangsters were whacked at a various times on the corner of Milton and Oak, a garage holds the record for most killed at the same time, known as the St. Valentines Massacre. Here, seven thorns in Al Capone’s side were eliminated. Behind a warehouse located at 2122 N. Clark is the site and both “Machine Gun” McGurn and Capone had airtight alibis. Neither had actually performed the dirty job.McGurn had employed the help of outsiders. Two men arrived in a stolen police car dressed as police. The told everyone to line up against the wall. Two men came in from the back dressed in trench coats. After seven were shot execution style, the two men dressed in trench coats walked out with their hands in the air followed by the cops. This was a perfect charade to any bystanders that a typical raid had just taken place. Too bad for Capone that the anticipated host McGurn hadn’t been there.
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