When Dion O’Banion was killed in 1924, Hymie Weiss (born Earl Wajciechowski in Poland, in 1898) took over his gang and swore vengeance on the killers of his best friend. Johnny Torrio had put out the contract on O’Banion; he was badly wounded by gunmen in January 1925, leaving Al Capone in charge of his mob.
That same month, Weiss, “Bugs” Moran and “Schemer” Drucci sprayed Capone’s limousine with shotgun blasts, wounding the driver. Capone had left the car seconds before the attack.
The ensuing gang war cost Weiss over 30 gunmen. Twice in August 1926, he and Drucci were almost killed in attacks outside the Standard Oil building.
On September the 20th, Weiss struck back. Capone and Frankie Rio were lunching at the Hawthorne Inn when they heard the roar of a speeding car and the clatter of a machine gun. The raced to the door. Seeing no bullet holes, Rio realized the first shots had been blanks and tackled Capone as a 10-car single file cavalcade turned the corner, sprouted machine guns and opened fire. The attack devastated the hotel facade, riddling parked cars and wounding three innocent diners.
Weiss used Dion O’Banion’s florist shop as his headquarters.
Early in October, new roomers moved into the second floor apartment next door.
On October the 11th, Weiss returned from watching jury selection for the trial of gang leader Joe Saltis. Weiss’ car pulled up in front of Holy Name Cathedral across from the florist shop. As Weiss crossed the street, gunfire burst from the second story apartment and he fell, killed instantly by 10 bullets. His bodyguard, Paddy Murray, was also killed and three others were wounded.
(1992 Max Allan Collins & George Hagenauer)