Friday, January 11, 2013


1/24/1925 - Twelve days after gunmen try to take out Al Capone by shooting up his sedan (an incident which will cause the mobster to procure a specially built, $20,000 Cadillac featuring bulletproof glass and a steel-armored body weighing seven tons), members of Chicago's North Side Gang go after Johnny Torrio, Capone's boss, in retaliation for the November murder of gangster Dion O'Banion.

                                    Big news in Chicago

Returning from Saturday business downtown, accompanied by his wife Anna, who has been shopping, and his chauffeur Robert Barton (on loan from associate Jake Guzik), forty-three-year-old mob boss Torrio arrives at the South Shore apartment he is living at (under the alias of Frank Langley), unaware that killers are waiting for him.  It is a little after 4:00 in the afternoon.


Watching from inside a gray Cadillac that has been parked just around the corner for an hour with its motor idling are the leaders of Torrio's bootlegging rivals in the North Side Gang ... driver Vincent "The Schemer" Drucci, and shooters Hymie Weiss (armed with a shotgun) and George "Bugs" Moran (carrying a .45 automatic).  When Torrio leaves the protection of the black Lincoln sedan he has been riding in the killers spring into action.


Flanking the Lincoln at its nose and tail, Weiss and Moran open fire, hitting Barton in the leg and causing Torrio to drop the packages he is carrying for his wife and flee towards the front door of his apartment (where a horrified Anna stands watching) ... he gets a half-dozen steps before being hit numerous times.  A bullet from Moran's gun savages Torrio in the right arm, and as he spins around trying to reach for his weapon while stumbling backwards, the second barrel of Weiss's shotgun puts buckshot into the gangster's jaw, neck, chest and belly.  Down and incapacitated by his wounds, Torrio is helpless as Moran walks over and places his pistol to the mobsters head.  Click ... Click.  Moran's weapon is empty and as the killer tries to put a new clip in his automatic for a coup de grace, Drucci honks the horn of the Cadillac signaling his friends it is time to go because the delivery van of the Oriental Laundry Company has arrived on the scene and there are now too many intruders and witnesses about. 

                               Torrio's bullet riddled Lincoln

The trio flees believing Torrio will soon die from his multiple wounds, but rushed to Jackson Park Hospital by an ambulance, the mobster will survive his perilous encounter with the North Side Gang.  Questioned by police he will claim not to know who his assailants were (and Barton or Anna also clam up to authorities).  Shaken to his core by the nearness of his demise, Torrio though does tell Capone who attacked him when he makes the decision to retire and turn over control of his underworld enterprises to his twenty-six-year-old friend.  A wise decision, Torrio will live to the ripe old age of seventy-five, while scores of others will soon perish in the mayhem his former lieutenant is about to unleash on the city of Chicago. 

                                   Torrio with scarf hiding his wounds
                                   The new boss

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