*This Article was originally published February, 2012*

85 years ago this week, 2 gangs were locked in a heated power struggle over control of Chicago’s illegal alcohol industry. Dion O’Banion, leader of the mostly Irish and Jewish “North-side Gang” had just been murdered and George “Bugs” Moran had taken control. He countered back and tried to kill the head of the mostly Italian “South-side Gang“, Johnny Torrio, all but debilitating the gang leader. Torrio quickly retired and his second in command, Al Capone was put in charge.

Anxious witnesses gather to get a glimpse of the bodies being carried out of 2122 North Clark Street

Al Capone

Capone thought up a plan.He knew that the majority of the North-side Gang would meet at a garage every week in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. So why not try to take the gang out in one deadly punch?

So he set up a sting. Capone had someone contact the North-siders, claiming they’d  ‘liberated’ a truck full of booze from the South-siders, and would like to see if the Moran boys would be interested in buying the competition’s product. So a meeting was set up, at 2122 North Clark street, at  the North-sider’s garage.


Capone had men rent a room across the street from the garage, so the warehouse could be under observation and the trap would then only be sprung when it was confirmed that Bugs Maron (pictured left) had arrived. The men claimed to be musicians, and had violin cases in hand when looking at the flat.  When the land lady explained she wouldn’t tolerate any practicing of the instruments in her building, the men retorted “we only play these when we get paid.

So on Valentine’s Day, 1929, at 10:30 am, what looked like George Maron showed up to the warehouse and the plan was set in motion.

Seconds later, 2 police cars screeched up to the garage and 2 men in police uniforms and 2 in plain clothes, entered the premises under the assumption they were performing a raid. They lined up the 5 members of the Moran gang who were present in the garage against a brick wall, along with a hanger-on (who was mistaken as Moran due to his coat and build), and the garage’s mechanic.


They were then gunned down with Thompson sub-machine guns, and  finished off with a 12 gauge. The plain clothes men then put their hands up and were marched out by the 2 uniformed men as if they were being arrested, and the killers sped off.

 The only victim unscathed by the shooting, was the mechanic John May’s German Shepard, Highball.

Only one man survived the initial shooting, and with over 14 .45 caliber bullets in him, he was able to drag himself only as far as the door. He later died 3 hours later, refusing to comment who it was who shot him.

As for George “Bugs” Maron, he arrived late to the garage, and after seeing the police sedans outside, ducked into a cafe and got away.

As for Al Capone himself, he just happened to be in Florida on holiday at the time at his estate, retreating to the warmer climates during the brutal Chicago winters.

When asked about the killings, Maron said “Only Capone kills like that“.

This led to public outrage and to the eventual fall of the Chicago mobs and the era of the “gangster“. Capone was sentenced to tax evasion in 1931. He was never arrested or charged of the murders, and none of the killers were ever identified or sentenced in what has become one of the most infamous killings in the history of the underworld, the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.”