The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929 had nothing to do with love. A prominent gangster sent machine guns instead of flowers to rival Chicago gang members in an ongoing battle over who would control the city’s gambling, prostitution and bootlegging (it was Prohibition, after all).
When the smoke cleared, seven people were killed. At the time, police suspected the massacre was a failed attempt by mob kingpin Al Capone to snuff out rival George “Bugs” Moran.
No one was ever arrested.
Now you can see some of the bullets, coroner reports and other artifacts from the 88-year-old bloodbath at The Mob Museum, located at 300 Stewart Ave. in Las Vegas.
In the attack, victims facing a garage wall in a Lincoln Park neighborhood were shot from behind by gang members dressed as police officers and carrying Thompson submachine guns, also known as Tommy guns.
The original wall from the garage, which was torn down in 1967, was reassembled in the museum brick by brick, some still full of bullet holes, the museum’s website says.
Artifacts that went on display Friday include:
—bullets from the bodies of the victims and fragments found on the garage floor;
—test rounds fired from the guns (to prove that they were the ones used in the attack); and
— a display case filled with other items, like coroner reports filed at the time.
After the shooting, only one of the victims, Pete “Goosey” Gusenberg, was still alive when real Chicago police officers arrived at the scene. A museum historian says he never told officers anything about the attack and died shortly thereafter.
The show includes a bullet recovered from Gusenberg’s chest beside the report from the doctor who conducted the autopsy.
By the way, the Mob Museum marks its fifth anniversary Tuesday too. Trip Advisor ranks the site, dedicated to organized crime and law enforcement in Las Vegas, one of the top 25 museums in America.
Adult admission costs $20.95 when purchased in advance or $23.95 at the door. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Info: The Mob Museum