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UPI Archives
Thursday, Feb. 14, 1929

Gangsters butchered in Chicago

CHICAGO, Feb. 14, 1929 (INS) - Seven members of a notorious North Side liquor gang were swept to a horrible death here today before an avalanche of revolver bullets in one of the most terrible gangland battles in Chicago history.

The men were propped against the brick wall of a warehouse like animals and shot down in their tracks, moaning, screaming and cursing as the infernal whine and roar of leaden slugs mowed them down. One lived for two hours.

George (Bugs) Moran, leader of the vast "Alky" syndicate, and an unidentified man, were believed to have been kidnapped after the slaughter, and taken to an isolated spot where it is believed they are being tortured to wrest from them intimate secrets of gangland.

The battle happened so suddenly that before a police alarm could be given, the attackers leaped into their machines and sped away, leaving a tangled mass of bullet-riddled bodies, confusion and chaos in their wake.

Strewn among the bodies were the implements of death, machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, revolvers and dynamite bombs, which had not exploded.

The interior of the warehouse, used as a liquor headquarters and meeting place of the North Side gang, was wrecked as if a tornado had struck it. Outside were tell-tale marks on the bricks, marks caused when machine guns snuffed out the lives of the six men and spattered against the wall.

Two of the dead were positively identified as Pete Gusenberg, henchman of "Bugs" Moran, and James Clark, another widely known gangster, who featured in many of the battles of gangland until the bloody affair of today wrote "finis" on his activities. He was once lieutenant to the notorious Dion O'Banion, pioneer gangster, killed several years ago in his florist shop on the North Side.

Two others of the dead later were identified as Alfred Weinshenk and Arthur (Bud) Hayes.

The massacre came within a few hours after Titus F. Haffa, city alderman, was incarcerated in the county jail, waiting to serve a two-year sentence and pay a fine of $11,000 for liquor law violations.

Haffa, who obtained his liberty on $25,000 bond late today pending an appeal, was convicted of being the head of another North Side liquor ring, one whose ramifications were not as vast as the Moran band. Four others were sentenced with Haffa.

The battle today occurred in the ward of which Haffa is alderman and police are endeavoring to find a possible connection between the Haffa ring and the Moran gang.

Witnesses told detectives they saw two uniformed policemen and two other men rush out of the warehouse with their hands raised just after the shooting. The police and the plainclothes men jumped into a car and the machine sped away, the witnesses said.

Frank Gusenberg, seventh victim, died this of six bullet wounds, refusing to talk to the last, in true gangland code.

Just who the deadly assassins today were police could only conjecture. Some believed it was the dormant South Side "Scarface Al" Capone gang come to life. Others said the West Side "mob" had begun to encroach on Moran's territory.

Veteran police, who have seen years of such activities, said the havoc of the machine guns today was the worst in the history of Chicago gang warfare.

The warehouse, at No. 2122 North Clark street, was known as the office of a "carriage company" which detectives said was a "blind" for the gang activities.

In a few minutes after the roar of the guns, all available police squads had arrived at the scene - in time to act as morticians for the bodies strewn in the scarlet-hued snow of the alley.

Mrs. Jeanette Landaman told detectives a witness story of the battle:

"I heard a sudden roar of shots, curses and inhuman screams. I rushed to my window to see a gang of men dash into an automobile. The car shot away. I looked into the alley, just across the street. It was too horrible. I called police, but they were already on their way."

Copyright 2007 by United Press International.