Thursday, October 16, 2008

Johnny Torrio Shot

After Dion O'Banion double-crossed him at Sieben Brewery, Johnny Torrio's south side organization came into constant conflict with the North side gang. With encouragement from the Genna brothers, Torrio had assented to O'Banion's murder.

In retaliation, O'Banion's followers targeted Torrio. After the bust at Sieben, Torrio had turned over his major operations to Al Capone, making him think he was safe from rival gangsters. However, Hymie Weiss and Bugs Moran, two of O'Banion's lieutenants, were motivated by revenge, not business matters, and about 4:30 p.m. on a cold January morning in 1925, they ambushed Torrio in front of his home, pictured here, at 7011 S. Clyde Ave.

Torrio and his ever-loyal wife, Ann, had spent the day shopping in the Loop, and had just returned to their South Shore home. Accompanied only by their driver, they walked up to the front door, with Torrio carrying a load of packages, unaware of the blue Cadillac that had arrived moments after them. Weiss and Moran jumped out and unloaded a hail of bullets, first at the Torrios' car (wounding the driver, who was still inside), then at Johnny Torrio himself. One bullet in the arm, another in the groin, both at point blank range. Finally, Bugs Moran put his pistol to Torrio's head for the coup de grace. Click. No bullets left.

Torrio survived the hit, though barely. After four weeks in the hospital, protected by Al Capone personally at his side day and night, Torrio served his nine-month sentence for the Sieben bust at Lake County Jail, then departed immediately for Italy, where he lived for several years before returning to New York. He never set foot in Chicago again, and Al Capone took over the leadership of his organization.


lee dumett said...

john torrio was as big as they come, and he was the most intelligent of all the underworld leaders. he not only ran chicago in the early 20s, but he put together the seven group in nyc, which was an association of all the eastcoast bosses. co.op is good for buisness, is what he used to say. he was a GENIUS.

MadSam said...

Lee, very well put, after retiring from the Chicago Syndicate he had a hand in forming, "Charlie Lucky" asked him for help with organizing the big time East Coast bootleggers in order to maximize the profits and create a "co-op", Torrio was an amazing strategist, he worked with men that carried guns and murdered people at will, yet his way was always considered the smarter, more economical way! Rest in Peace Mr.Torrio.

Anonymous said...

From Wiki: " In his memoirs, the official Elmer Irey considered him "the biggest gangster in America" and wrote as follows: "He was the smartest and, I dare say, the best of all the hoodlums. 'Best' referring to talent, not morals" "

Daniel Luce said...

My great great grandfather was Owen E Desmond who owned that building at the time. I wonder if he was involved somehow too?

Anonymous said...

Sure, and so was the window cleaner.