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THE CAST OF CHARACTERS

THE CAST OF CHARACTERS

The saga of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre featured a diverse array of individuals, from low-level gangsters to a scientific pioneer to the president of the United States. What started as a gang feud on the North Side of Chicago mushroomed into a national crusade against organized crime.

Dr. Herman Bundesen
Courtesy of University of Chicago Special Collections

Dr. Herman Bundesen (1882-1960)

Cook County coroner who gathered evidence from the Massacre scene and brought in Dr. Calvin Goddard for his ballistics expertise. Bundesen later would be known for writing a popular book about baby care.

Fred Killer Burke
Courtesy of John Binder Collection

Fred “Killer” Burke (1893-1940)

Gangster in St. Louis, Detroit and Chicago. Two Tommy guns used in the Massacre were found at his home in rural Michigan in 1930. In 1931, Burke was convicted of murdering a police officer in Michigan and spent the last nine years of his life in prison for that crime. He is widely believed to have been involved in the Massacre.

Al “Scarface” Capone
Courtesy of John Binder Collection

Al “Scarface” Capone (1899-1947)

Al Capone was Chicago’s biggest and most notorious Mob boss during the 1920s. He engaged in a heated rivalry with George “Bugs” Moran to control bootlegging in the city. He was suspected, though never charged, of orchestrating the Massacre. In 1931, he was convicted of tax evasion and served almost eight years in prison.

Dr. Calvin Goddard (1891-1955)

Pioneering ballistics expert who proved that the two Tommy guns found at Fred “Killer” Burke’s house in Michigan were used in the Massacre. His work on the Massacre case led to his founding one of the nation’s first crime labs at Northwestern University in Chicago.

President Herbert Hoover
Courtesy of Library of Congress

President Herbert Hoover (1874-1964)

President of the United States who ordered federal law enforcement authorities to “get Capone.”

Joseph Hunsaker (1901-1982)

A truck driver and gas station attendant in Green City, Missouri, who discovered Fred “Killer” Burke was living in the town under an assumed name and alerted authorities.

Elmer Irey
Courtesy of Library of Congress

Elmer Irey (1888-1948)

Chief of U.S. Treasury Department’s Special Intelligence Unit that built the tax evasion case that brought down Al Capone.

Jack McGurn
Courtesy of John Binder Collection

Jack McGurn (1902-1936)

Associate of Al Capone. Suspected of masterminding the Massacre but never prosecuted. He was shot to death in a bowling alley in 1936.

George “Bugs” Moran
Courtesy of John Binder Collection

George “Bugs” Moran (1893-1957)

Boss of Chicago’s North Side Gang and rival of Al Capone. Seven of his men were killed in the Massacre. He is believed to have been the intended target but he avoided the Massacre because he was running late and spotted the assailants’ vehicle parked outside the garage.

Louise Rolfe
Courtesy of John Binder Collection

Louise Rolfe (1906-1995)

Jack McGurn’s girlfriend and later wife. She provided McGurn’s alibi in the Massacre case.

Charles Skelly (1904-1929)

St. Joseph, Michigan, police officer who was shot and killed by Fred “Killer” Burke during a traffic stop.

Massacre Victims

Frank Gusenberg
Courtesy of John Binder Collection

Frank Gusenberg (1892-1929)

Enforcer for Bugs Moran’s North Side Gang. Victim of Massacre. He was only victim who did not die immediately. He lived for three hours but told police nothing.

Peter Gusenberg
Courtesy of John Binder Collection

Peter Gusenberg (1888-1929)

Enforcer for Bugs Moran’s North Side Gang.

Adam Heyer
Courtesy of John Binder Collection

Adam Heyer (1887-1929)

Business manager for Bugs Moran’s North Side Gang.

Albert Kachellek
Courtesy of John Binder Collection

Albert Kachellek (1887-1929)

Also known as James Clark. Enforcer for Bugs Moran’s North Side Gang.

John May
Courtesy of John Binder Collection

John May (1893-1929)

Auto mechanic who worked for Bugs Moran’s North Side Gang.

Reinhardt Schwimmer (1898-1929)

An optician who hung out with Bugs Moran’s North Side Gang.

Albert Weinshenk
Courtesy of the Bettmann Archive, Getty Images

Albert Weinshenk (1892-1929)

Business operator for Bugs Moran’s North Side Gang.

Highball The Dog
Courtesy of John Binder Collection

Highball

Massacre victim John May’s dog, which was leashed to the axle of a truck in the North Clark Street garage during the shooting. Highball reportedly was so traumatized by the Massacre that he had to be put down.

THE TOMMY GUNS

The two Tommy guns seized from Fred “Killer” Burke’s house in Michigan and confirmed to have been used in the Massacre today reside with the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department in southwest Michigan.

THE TOMMY GUNS - The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Feb. 14th, 1929.
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