Friday, November 9, 2012


11/10/1924 - The bootlegging wars that will plague Chicago for years and cost dozens their lives begin in earnest on this day at the North Side flower shop of Irish Catholic gangster Charles Dean "Dion" O'Banion.


Payback by Italian gangsters for double crossing Johnny Torrio in the purchase of the Sieben Brewery right before the bootlegging operation is to be raided by police, and for highjacking too many Genna Brothers liquor shipments (along with being quoted around town as saying, "To Hell with the Sicilians!"), O'Banion is at the flower store he owns, working on floral arrangements for the funeral of mobster Mike Merlo, when a new group of criminals arrive to place an order.


Clipping chrysanthemums, O'Banion steps out of a back room in the flower shop and greets his latest customers, Brooklyn gangster Frankie Yale and the murder duo of Albert Anselmi and John Scalise (notorious, they are called "The Murder Twins" for rubbing garlic on their bullets to cause gangrene to any victims they don't kill outright).

                                                         Frankie Yale
                             Anselmi                                         Scalise

When he shakes Yale's hand though, the hitman from New York keeps a death grip on O'Banion's hand, preventing the gangster from pulling a pistol and defending himself as Scalise and Anselmi each fire two bullets from their .38 revolvers point-blank into the Irishman's chest and throat (leaving powder burns on the corpse).  Down and dead already, Scalise then fires a finishing slug into the back of O'Banion's head.  The killing takes only seconds!

              Newspaper depiction
                               Front page

Denied burial in consecrated ground (eventually his family will get the okay to rebury him in Catholic approved sod), O'Banion nonetheless gets a massive sendoff that includes a funeral (the Lord's Prayer and three Hail Marys are said in the by childhood friend Father Patrick Malloy) attended by thousands and a burial at the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois.  He also gets vows of revenge from the new boss of his gang, Hymie Weiss (receiving the news that he has lost his boss, best friend, and mentor, Weiss collapses on the floor of his bathroom and cries uncontrollably).  A five year long blood bath is about to begin!

                Mobbed funeral
                                  Adios Dion

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