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Author: Capone Not Behind Valentine’s Day Massacre

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Picture dated 14 February 1929 of the Saint-Valentine's day massacre, considered to be mobster Al Capone's most notorious killing, allegedly committed by his hatchet men. On 14 February 1929, four Capone men, in which two were dressed as policemen, entered a garage, main liquor headquarters of bootlegger George "Bugs" Moran's North Side gang, and fired more than 150 bullets into the victims. All but one of the victims were members of rival "Bugs" Moran's gang. As usual, Capone had an alibi : he was in Florida during the massacre. But Chicago author Jonathan Eig says in his new book "Get Capone" that Capone had nothing to do with the massacre. He says it was an act of revenge by the family of  Billy Daverne, a young firefighter who was killed by two members of the Moran gang. (Photo credit: OFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Picture dated 14 February 1929 of the Saint-Valentine’s day massacre, considered to be mobster Al Capone’s most notorious killing, allegedly committed by his hatchet men. On 14 February 1929, four Capone men, in which two were dressed as policemen, entered a garage, main liquor headquarters of bootlegger George “Bugs” Moran’s North Side gang, and fired more than 150 bullets into the victims. All but one of the victims were members of rival “Bugs” Moran’s gang. As usual, Capone had an alibi : he was in Florida during the massacre. But Chicago author Jonathan Eig says in his new book “Get Capone” that Capone had nothing to do with the massacre. He says it was an act of revenge by the family of Billy Daverne, a young firefighter who was killed by two members of the Moran gang. (Photo credit: OFF/AFP/Getty Images)

John Cody John Cody
John Cody is a veteran reporter for Newsradio 780.
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CHICAGO (CBS) – A local author says you can blame gangster Al Capone for a lot of things, but not for the infamous Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929.

Jonathan Eig, author of “Get Capone” blames the murders of seven mobsters in a garage at 2122 N. Clark St. on a fatal bar fight, not a gang war between Capone and the “Bugs” Moran gang.

Eig says Capone had already won his war with Moran, so there was no reason to gun down rival George “Bugs” Moran’s troops; and he was too busy fighting a federal indictment to be involved.

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“It never made any sense to suspect that Al Capone was involved, because by 1929, Capone didn’t really have a very strong rivalry with the Moran gang. He had won that fight. He had no reason to take such a huge risk,” Eig said.

In “Get Capone,” Eig asserts the killing was an act of revenge by the family of Billy Daverne, a young firefighter who was shot to death by Peter and Frank Gusenberg, two of the seven massacre victims.

“Just about any time you see seven men dead, there’s a reason that somebody was angry, and in this case, I suspect that it was the family of a young firefighter who was killed by some members of the Moran gang,” Eig said. “This firefighter named Billy Daverne was shot by the Gusenberg boys and his family sought retaliation.”

Eig says, while the Gusenbergs were members of the Moran gang, that was incidental to their part in the bar shooting that killed Daverne.

“If he (Capone) did want to eliminate his competitor, Bugs Moran, he easily could have killed Moran himself,” Eig said.

Eig says it was ironic that the Valentine’s Day Massacre, which led to the federal crackdown on Capone and other Prohibition Era gangsters, actually had nothing to do with Capone, as he claims.

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