February 14, 1929: St. Valentine's Day Massacre. In Chicago, gunmen in the suspected employment of organized-crime boss Al Capone murder seven members of the George "Bugs" Moran North Siders gang in a garage on North Clark Street. The so-called St. Valentine's Day Massacre stirred a media storm centered on Capone and his illegal Prohibition-era activities and motivated federal authorities to redouble their efforts to find evidence incriminating enough to take him off the streets.
Alphonse Capone was born in Brooklyn in 1899, the son of Italian immigrants from Naples. The fourth of nine children, he quit school after the sixth grade and joined a street gang. He became acquainted with Johnny Torrio, a crime boss who operated in Chicago and New York, and at the age of 18 Capone was employed at a Coney Island club owned by gangster Frankie Yale. It was while working there that his face was slashed in a brawl, earning him the nickname "Scarface." Capone demonstrated considerable business acumen and was appointed manager of a Torrio speakeasy. Later, Torrio put him charge of the suburb of Cicero. Unlike his boss, who was always discreet, Capone achieved notoriety as he fought for control of Cicero and was even tried (unsuccessfully) for murder.
Capone was in Florida in February 1929 when he gave the go-ahead for the assassination of Bugs Moran. On February 13, a bootlegger called Moran and offered to sell him a truckload of high quality whiskey at a low price. Moran took the bait and the next morning pulled up to the delivery location where he was to meet several associates and purchase the whisky. He was running a little late, and just as he was pulling up to the garage he saw what looked like two policemen and two detectives get out of an unmarked car and head to the door. Thinking he had nearly avoided being caught in a police raid, Moran drove off. The four men, however, were Capone's assassins, and they were only entering the building before Moran's arrival because they had mistaken one of the seven men inside for the boss himself.
Wearing their stolen police uniforms and heavily armed, Capone's henchmen surprised Moran's men, who agreed to line up against the wall. Thinking they had fallen prey to a routine police raid, they allowed themselves to be disarmed. A moment later, they were gunned down in a hail of shotgun and submachine-gun fire. Six were killed instantly, and the seventh survived for less than an hour.