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Jack McGurn

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Jack McGurn
Jack McGurn

Born

1905 Licata, Sicily, Italy

Died

February 15, 1936 Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

Gender

Male

Status

Deceased

Cause of death

Cerebral hemorrhage

Resting Place

Mount Carmel Cemetery

Vincent Antonio Gibardi aka Jack "Machine Gun" McGurn (1905 – February 15, 1936) was an Italian-American mobster and key member of Al Capone's Chicago Outfit


Early LifeEdit

Jack McGurn was one of gangster Al Capone's most feared and ruthless killers. He picked up the nickname "Machine Gun" because of his proficiency with the new Thompson sub-machine gun - aka Tommy Gun - favored by Chicago gangsters. McGurn - born Vincenzo DeMora -didn't seem bound for a life of crime as a youngster. Unlike many of his colleagues, he came from a middle-class background and had no run-ins with the law as a youth. That all changed the day his father was killed by a Chicago gang headed by the Genna family, for the crime of selling bootleg liquor without cutting the gang in on the action. The story is that the teenager dipped his hands in the blood of his father and swore to kill everyone who had anything to do with his murder.

Too young and inexperienced to be hired into one of the gangs that ran Chicago at the time, McGurn spent the next few years sharpening his skills with a gun and toughening himself as a professional boxer, under the name "Battling Jack McGurn". When he decided the time was right, he got himself hired by the Capone mob, which was engaged in a deadly war with the Genna outfit. McGurn soon became Capone's top gun, and was credited with killing anywhere from 25 to 30 of Capone's rivals. Among the victims were six members of the Genna family who were involved in his father's murder. After McGurn killed each one, he would leave a nickel in his hand, signifying his contempt for men he considered "nickel and dimers".


Chicago OutfitEdit

He soon became Capone's personal bodyguard, and Capone went nowhere without him. McGurn was suspected by Chicago police of having planned and carried out the infamous "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" in which seven members of the George Moran (aka "Bugs" Moran) mob - another of Capone's rivals - were machine-gunned to death in a Chicago garage (Moran himself said, when he found out about the massacre, "Nobody but Capone kills like that"). Although McGurn was brought in for questioning, his girlfriend provided an alibi for the morning of the murders. When it was later proved that she was lying, McGurn was arrested and charged with perjury. However, he got around that charge by marrying his girlfriend, thereby ensuring that she couldn't testify against him.

McGurn also had an interest in several nightclubs, in one of which he had hired up-and-coming comic Joe E. Lewis to perform. When it came time for Lewis to renew his contract, he told McGurn that he had decided to accept an offer from another club. McGurn exploded and told Lewis he would never live to accept the offer. A few days later Lewis was attacked in his room by three men he recognized as McGurn associates. The men pistol-whipped him, beat him severely and one of them pulled out a large knife and proceeded to carve up Lewis' face, cut his throat and slice his tongue. Although severely injured, Lewis recovered, but it took him almost ten years to learn how to talk again.

McGurn's fortunes began to wane in 1929, when Capone was sent to prison for income tax evasion. Many in Capone's gang feared and hated McGurn, and took the opportunity to strip him of his power and take away most of his legit businesses. His wife left him and he was reduced to getting involved in small-time narcotics deals, which at the time was an activity the mob forbade its members to become involved in.


AssassinationEdit

On February 15,1936, almost exactly seven years after the massacre he masterminded, Jack McGurn entered a bowling alley at 805 Milwaukee ave with two so called friends. He was planning a bowling match when another entered the bowling alley. There was commotion when the the third man yelled for everyone to stand still."You move and you die" was the yell before the semi circle of men began firing in Mcgurn's direction. Three shots fatally hit Jack in the head and back before he crumpled to the floor. A comic valentine is not found on his body as most books will tell you , but left at the reception of the bowling alley in which Jack reads at his arrival. The note states " You lost your dough and handsome houses, but things could be worse you know at least you haven't lost your trousers". It lead to believe that this was payback for the massacre by the Northside mob, but it also could have been a convenient smokescreen for Frank Nitti's outfit to rid themselves of someone who knew alot and was now at odds with them. With Capone put away, Jack had no longer the Capone immunity needed from the Nitti mob to stay alive. Jack McGurn's brother is later killed on March 2,1936, thus preventing any real retaliation from any family members.

TriviaEdit

  • He was one of the top members of the inner circle of Al Capone's organization in Chicago.
  • He was the architect of a mob hit on a rival gang leader. Although it was regarded as a brilliant plan, it failed to eliminate the prime target, George Moran (aka Bugs Moran). The operation left seven men dead, resulted in public outrage and drew national attention to the problem of organized crime. It became known as the "St. Valentine's Day Massacre," one of the most infamous incidents in the history of organized crime.
  • Both his father and stepfather were murdered. By the time he was 21, he had personally killed all of those who were responsible for their deaths.


McGurn Character PicturesEdit

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