Friday, February 15, 2013


2/15/1936 - The short life of Vincenzo Antonio Gibaldi comes to a violent conclusion shortly after midnight in a Chicago bowling alley.

                                       Avenue Recreation Bowling Alley

Gibaldi begins life in the small rown of Licata, Sicily in 1902, and as a youngster, immigrates to America with his parents.  Growing up on the mean streets of Chicago, he will quickly discover he has a talent for violence, and as a teenager trying to break in to the boxing business, he will start going by the name of Jack McGurn, his thought being that Irish boxers receive more and better matches than Italian pugilists do.  Looking for easy money and excellent with his fists, he will then come to the attention of Al Capone for his potential as a bodyguard ... and from bodyguard it is just a short step to becoming a hitman for the gangster and adding "Machine Gun" to his moniker.

                       McGurn watching the crowd from directly behind his boss

During his busy career as chief blaster for Scarface, though never convicted of a single killing or assault, McGurn is believed to have killed the three men who murdered his stepfather, Angelo DeMory, cut Joey Lewis to ribbons when the comedian refuses to renew his performance contract with the nightclub the mobster is a part owner in, planned and carried out the machine gun death of rival North Side gangster Hymie Weiss, and been the brains behind the notorious St. Valentine's Day Massacre (he will be arrested for the crime, but released soon afterwards for a lack of evidence, and in part because his former showgirl girlfriend and future wife, Louise Rolfe, forever after known as The Blonde Alibi, testifies he was in a hotel room making love to her at the time of the killings).


McGurn's career ebbs however when Capone, his friend and patron, is sent to jail for income tax evasion and Frank Nitti takes over running The Outfit.  By the 1930s, McGurn is reduced to making money off small drug deals ... and he has also developed a drinking problem in which he becomes verbose on topics the underworld would rather not have discussed in public.  Eventually, somebody decides to shut him up for good.


Skipping a prize fight he has tickets for, McGurn decides instead to spend an evening bowling at a mob hangout with friends, though going to the boxing match would have been a far better decision.  Surrounded by people he believes he knows and can trust, when two individuals pull pistols and start shooting, McGurn goes out the way most of his victims have, surprised and leaking crimson from multiple bullet wounds.  And adding insult to injury, or to throw the cops off, after the killing the executioners place a nickel in McGurn's hand, the calling card he has left on so many of the bodies he has bloodied, and at the front desk, a comic Valentine's Day card that reads: "You've lost your job; you've lost you're dough; Your jewels and cars and handsome houses!  But things could get worse , you know ... at least you haven't lost your trousers!"  


Despite twenty witnesses being in the bowling alley, no accurate description of the killers can ever be formulated and the crime will remain unsolved to this day ... however, there are three theories as to what has happened, all bearing some degree of credibility.  With the clue of the Valentine's Day card and the timing of the killing, McGurn's death could have been a retaliation murder by members of Bugs Moran's gang.  It is thought the killing might have been hit by Nitti's men to shut him up and warn off others members of the organization not to become involved in running drugs.  And some believe the shooting is done by James Gusenberg, the brother of two of the victims in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.  

                                                    Over and Out

Only one person seems to actually know what happened ... the day after the killing, McGurn's half-brother, Anthony DeMory, proclaims he will slaughter the killers of his beloved relative.  Not taking any chances he might, three masked gunmen send DeMory permanently packing when the youth visits a pool hall on March 2, 1936 ... it too goes in the Chicago Police Department's unsolved cases file.

                                            McGurn in better times

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