Johnny Torrio His Attempted Murder That Changed The Course Of Organized Crime

Johnny Torrio's car
Johnny Torrio car




Al Capone



Dion O'Banion
Dion O’Banion


torrio home
Johnny Torrio home today


Johnny Torrio Chicago kingpin ran organized crime in the 1920’s, when it became a real organized business. Prohibition became law in 1920; Along with gambling, and prostitution with many other vices. There were plenty of organized criminal activities in the roaring 20’s, and Johnny Torrio was the head of the most powerful organized crime out fit in Chicago in the first half of the decade, with the hit of his boss Big Jim Colosimo in 1920; a hit ordered by Torrio, and now the boss, with now his mob in place with his second in command Al Capone controlled the south side of Chicago. Johnny Torrio’s partner in some of the illegal rackets were gambling, and co- owned the behemoth Sieben brewery with the Irishman Dion O’Banion.

Who led the most colorful of all Chicago mobs of the more swankier north side of Chicago. The northsider’s and southsider’s often clashed throughout the early half of the decade of the 1920’s. When things came to a head with Torrio, and O’Banion in May 1924; When he sold his interest in the Sieben brewery to Torrio for about $500,000 $6.9 million in 2015 dollars. That’s a lot of money back then no wonder everyone was killing each other the profits were crazy. Torrio happily paid O’Banion in cold hard 1924 cash. Shortly thereafter the brewery was raided for Volstead Act violations. O’Banion walked, because he had no prohibition arrest or violations, but he knew Torrio did not, and would be arrested, which he was.

Johnny Torrio was buried at Green Lawn Cemetery in Brooklyn,NY

Frankie Yale was summoned from Brooklyn,NY to kill O’Banion just as he was called to kill Colosimo about 4 years earlier, but there was one issue in the way. Mike Merlo a very powerful Chicago bootlegger was a mediator of all gangsters, and the Union Siciliana refused to order a hit on O’Banion. The break came for Torrio in November when Merlo was thermally ill with cancer, and died November 8, 1924; Torrio moved on with his plan to have O’Banion murdered, so on the late afternoon on Novemer 10, 1925 Frankie Yale, murderous hit men duo. John Scalise, and Albert Anselmi shot O’Banion to death, in his flower shot located at 724 North State Street in Chicago, across the street from The Holy Name Cathedral where O’Banion served as an Alter Boy as a child. The surviving O’Banites now head of the gang. Earl “Hymie”Weiss, George”Bugs” Moran, and Vincent”The Schemer”Drucci, when gunning for all responsible for O’Banion’s death. This includes all of the other notorious south side gang the Genna brothers. The northsider’s wanted all of them dead as well, because. The Genna heads Mike, and Angelo OKed the hit, because Scalise, and Anselmi belonged to them.

Let’s fast forward to January 24, 1925 winter cold Chicago afternoon. It was cold that day in the mid 20’s, Johnny Torrio,and his wife Anna were returning from a trip shopping in downtown Chicago. When there driver spotted a car following them. It was you guesses it. Weiss, Drucci, and Moran, behind the wheel one of the Gusenberg brothers. They were out to get Torrio no matter what, he must pay form O’Banion. He was responsible for there leaders gruesome murder about 2 months earlier. They had shot guns with buckshot, and pistols ready for a major hit. They wanted to make up for the miss of Capone who was ambushed only 12 days earlier. January 1925 kicked off an all out gang war in Chicago.

Johnny Torrio had a legitimate bail bond operation in the 1930’s co owned by New York Mob boss Dutch Schultz

I guess Torrio had a naive out look on life as a gangster, in very violent times. Thinking the killing O’Banion was just business, and thinking no one would come call, and try to take him out. He was very wrong. Johnny Torrio, and his wife Anna just arrive at there home at 7011-13 South Clyde Avenue in Chicago from a Michigan ave shopping spree. A hail of gun shots blew out windows of there chauffeur driven car, and riddled it with buck shot, from the hands of the murder team, shattering glass. Torrio’s wife Anna made it to the safety of there home unhurt. Torrio was not so lucky he was struck by gun fire several times, in the jaw, lungs, groin, legs, and abdomen, and then beat with a billy club, by Moran.

Police gongs can be heard whaling in the icy cold distance of Chicago, and getting closer. The murder team only has seconds to make sure Torrio is dead. The police gongs were just around the corner, Gusenberg was honking, and yelling lets go. It’s a bit disputed of who was the mobster that tried to administer the last shot, the coup de grâce  if you will to Torrio’s skull, and lucky for Torrio, Weiss was out of ammo. Some say, or most it was Moran trying to make that final shot, other say it was Weiss, because of his hatred of the southsider’s. Can you just imagine that cold Thursday afternoon, Anna Torrio probably watching from the window of there home as his husband being assaulted in front of there home. Watching the effects of being a mob boss, and the hazards of the job.

Johnny Torrio died of natural causes in 1957 at 75

It’s a medical miracle that Torrio survived his wounds with the state of medicine of the day, you have to factor in his age not that he was an old man only in his early 40’s, but a senior citizen by mob standards. Torrio took some major hits to his body, while recovering from his wounds Torrio would observe the gangland code of  omertà, of complete silence. To add insult to injury Torrio had to spend sometime in jail following his hospital release about a year for a probation violation, with his shooting, and the on going attacks, on the southsider’s, and the complete war that was taking place. Johnny “the fox” Torrio said he had enough, and was throwing in the towel, quitting the racket’s of organized crime. His near death experience shaken the veteran gangster very badly, and at the very young age of 26 a kid if you will all operations went to his second in command Al Capone. Capone would now run, and control an empire worth 100’s of millions of dollars a year It was like a winning lottery ticket. Johnny Torrio would go back home to Italy for awhile before returning in the late 20’s. Al Capone would eventually win the war with the northsider’s ending with the St. Valentines Day massacre on February 14, 1929

As Capone took the reins of Chicago, and all out war began in the city from January 1925 till the end of the decade. The heads of all other gang leaders falling at the bloody hands of Capone men, the Chicago police, or rival gangs. Hymie Weiss killed by Capone men in October 1926, Angelo Genna brutally murdered, by northsider’s, in the spring of 1925, as his brother Mike a month later, and the carnage continued. We all know Capone went to prison for an 11 year stretch for tax evasion in the early 30’s, and Chicago crime was never the same, with the more organized out fit beginning, and prohibition ending in 1933

Johnny Torrio ordered the death of his boss Big Jim Colosimo in 1920






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