Famous Chicago Mob Hits
Between 1919 and 1997, it is estimated that the Chicago mob ordered and committed 1,105 contract killings, including five since 1990. This list continues to expand, but is an overview of prominent mob sanctioned killings in Chicago during that time period. Chicago’s Al Capone, himself, ordered some 500 hits.
Big Jim Colosimo — killed in his own cafe at 22nd and Wabash Avenue on May 11, 1920. Colosimo was then the top mob boss of Chicago. His death, believed ordered by underlings Al Capone and Johnny Torrio, Colosimo’s nephew, made way for Capone’s rise as Chicago’s number one mobster. Colosimo ha dbrought Torrio and Capone to Chicago from New York. The FBI believes Colosimo was set up for the murder by a friend and guard, Big Jim O’Leary, with help from Torrio. O’Leary is the son of the Mrs. O’Leary whose cow is believed to have knocked down a lantern that started the famous Chicago Fire many years before. Colosimo was waiting at his restaurant with O’Leary alegedly preparing for a business meeting. The unknown gunman, believed to be Capone, fired two shots from behind a glass-paneled telephone booth, hitting Colosimo in the head once. See Genesis of Organized Crime in Chicago.
Dion “Deanie” O’Bannion — The North Chicago gang boss was murdered in October, 1926 outside Holy name Cathedral, 735 N. States Street.
St. Valentine’s Day Massacre — Seven members of the Bugs Moran gang were gunned down allegedly by members of the Capone Gang. Capone was vacationing in Florida when the gunmen, preceded by three men dressed in Chicago Police Uniform, lined up the seven victims against the wall of this garage at 2122 N. Clark Street on Feb. 14, 1929. As the police stepped back, the two gunmen walked from behind and unloaded their machine guns into the backs of the unsuspecting Moran gang members. One of the men was the car mechanic employed at the garage. Capone’s real target was George “Bugs” Moran, who happened upon the garage late, as the killers, wearing police uniforms, walked into the garage. Six of the victims died immediately, a seventh, Frank Gusenberg, lived for a few hours, declaring on his dying breath, “Coppers done it.”
Jake Lingle — He was a mob controlled reporter who worked at the Chicago Tribune, shot dead on June 9, 1930 in the Illinois Central Station at Randolph and Michigan Avenue. Lingle was owned by Chicago’s Al Capone, working openly on his payroll while working for the Tribune. Lingle had once bragged, “I fixed the price of beer in this town!” Capone could put up with Lingle’s boasts and flamboyance, but not his treachery. Lingle had taken $50,000 from Capone to influence a dog track operation, but never delivered. Capone had given Lingle a diamond studded belt buckle he was wearing when he body was found. Said Capone, “Jake was a dear friend of mine.”
Machine Gun Jack McGurn — He was Capone’s chief hitman, one of two people identified as a triggerman in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. He was gunned down himself at a bowling alley in February 13, 1936 on Milwaukee Avenue. Although he had once built a career as a nightclub owner and one of Capone’s toughest killers, McGurn found himself penniless and abandoned. Although many suspected the hit was ordered by Capone, who felt McGurn had become a liability, the two killers are believed to have beenr emnants of the old Moran gang, who placed a comic Valentine in the victim’s left hand that read: “You’ve lost your job; You’ve lost your dough; Your jewels and handsome houses. But things could be worse,y ou know. You haven’t lost your trousers.”
Richard Cain — He served dual roles as an informant for the FBI and as a corrupt Chicago Cop working for the mob. He was killed in a sandwich shop at 1117 W. grand Avenue., on Dec. 20, 1973. A pair of unknown assailants had walked into the sandwich shop and blew away Cain’s face in a hail of gunfire. A third gunman was stationed outside the shop communicating with a walkie talkie on guard for a potential surprise police bust.
Sam Giancana — Certainly not the highest ranking member of the mob killed by his own mob family. But Giancana, who ran Chicago for years until his relations with a famous Vegas showgirl made him into a liability for the mob, was the highest ranking Chicago mobster murdered, killed in the basement of his home in Oak Park on June 19, 1975, most likely by someone he had known and had trusted as a close friend. Giancana had been exiled by the US government to a South American republic and had just returned to the states. Giancana had invited his killer into his home. He was murdered as he was frying sausage and preparing dinner for himself and his guest.
Allen Dorfman — A crooked insurance executive, he was gunned down by his mob associates as he walked to his car outside a Lincolnwood hotel parking lot on Jan. 21, 1983. The mob was fearfull that Dorfman, sought as a witness by an FBI grand jury probe of organized crime and mob infiltration of Las Vegas, would “beef.”
Anthony and Michael Spilotro — Tony “The Ant” Spilotro was the mob’s man in Las Vegas. His and the body of his brother Michael were found buried in a cornfield in Indiana on June 23, 1986. Spilotro’s hit was reputedly ordered by Ferriola during a meeting at the Czech Restaurant that included Ernest Rocco Infelise and other mob leaders. The Chicago Laborers District Council Trusteeship Hearings transcripts revealed that Albert Tocco and Dominic Palermo of Laborers local 5 in Chicago Heights, (McGough’s local) was in on the hit, depicted gruesomely in the movie “Casino”. Tocco’s wife “Betty” had to pick him up near the crime scene at a public phone booth. He had to use the phone to call her for a ride home after his accomplices left him in the corn field when they fled the burial scene. See Agent Pecoraro testimony in Chicago Laborers District Council Trusteeship hearings. With friends like that, who needs enemies. “Betty”, a reliable informant, later led FBI agents to the phone booth and related what she was told happened.
Michael O’Mara — Did this 27 Year Cook County Sheriff’s veteran crime fighter commit suicide on May 30, 1988 or was he the victim of a mob hit. You decide.
— Ray Hanania