Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chicago's Bloody Gang War of the 1920's

On this day in 1924, Dion O'Banion, the Irish-American leader of North Side Gang is assassinated in his flower shop by members of Johnny Torrio's gang, sparking the bloody gang war of the 1920s in Chicago.

O'Banion, who had a thriving bootlegging and floral business, was the main rival of the Chicago outfit, led by Torrio and his henchman, Al Capone.

When O'Banion learned there was going to be a raid on his brewery, he offered to retire to Colorado if Torrio bought out the business. Torrio wound up in jail and O'Banion kept the $500,000 for the padlocked brewery.

O'Banion was in his floral shop fixing flowers when three gangsters came in. When O'Banion reached out with a handshake, one of the men held it in a death gripe, while the other two shot O'Banion twice each in the chest, cheeks and throat.

The O'Banion killing sparked a five-year war that culminated in the killing of seven North Side gang members in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1929.

Thanks to Scott McCabe

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