Posts Tagged 'Crime'

Big Hit in the Loop (9-7-1928)

One of Chicago’s most spectacular gangland killings took place on this date.  On a busy Loop street corner, at the height of the evening rush hour, with hundreds of potential witnesses present, Antonio Lombardo was shot.

Lombardo was 37 years old, and listed his occupation as “wholesale grocer.”  But Chicago police knew him as a close associate of Al Capone.  He was also the local president of Italo-American National Union, formerly the Unione Siciliane.  The Union was a politically-potent fraternal group.  It was also alleged to have Mafia ties.

Antonio Lombardo

Capone had helped engineer Lombardo’s election as Union president.  His opponent in the election, Joe Aiello, had been a sore loser.  Aiello had gone to New York and complained to the Union’s national president, Frank Yale.  Shortly afterward, Yale was murdered.

Did Capone have Yale killed?  The two men were old friends–Capone had gotten his start in the rackets as a member of Yale’s New York gang.  But business was business.  At least, that’s the way Joe Aiello’s mind was working.

So at 4:30 on the afternoon of September 7, Lombardo left his office at the Hartford Building, on Dearborn near Madison.  He was accompanied by two bodyguards.  As they turned onto Madison, one of the bodyguards heard a voice say, “Here he is.”

Then four shots rang out.  Two hit Lombardo, killing him instantly.  The other two hit one of the bodyguards.  The second bodyguard saw two men running away.  He began to chase them, but was stopped by a policeman who mistook him for the shooter.

The street was in an uproar.  “Gunmen and police ran here and there waving guns,” the Tribune reported.  “Men and women jumped first one way, then another, wondering from which direction the next bullet might come.”  Meanwhile, people poured out of the adjacent Morrison Hotel to see what the commotion was about.  Order was finally restored, and the victims were removed.

Antonio Lombardo was the fourth Union president in seven years to die a violent death.  His wounded bodyguard also died, without naming his killers.  The murders remained unsolved.

In 1930 Joe Aiello finally achieved his ambition and was elected president of the Italo-American National Union.  Later that year he was killed by a machine gun blast.

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