One of the prime suspects, if not the prime suspect for ordering or giving his blessing for the murder of Dean O’Banion, was John “The Fox” Torrio or Papa John. Undoubtedly O’Banions murder would not have have without Torrio’s blessing, John Torrio at the time was the head of the Chicago Outfit and had a good a reason as any to see O’Bannion rubbed out.
When John Torrio was brought in for questioning in relation to the murder of O’Banion in Schofields flowershop, their business relationship would have been examined. Torrio was more diplomatic in his approach to gangland business, preferring to have peace rather than bloodshed.
O’Banion and Torrio had come to an agreement that John Torrio would buy O’Banion’s share of Sieben’s brewery for $500,000, however while they were at the brewery working out the deal it was raided by the law. O’Banion was let off but John Torrio who had previously been arrested under the Volstead Act was now facing prison. Rumors began swirling around that O’Banion had knowledge of the raid beforehand but refused to share the information with John Torrio.
But during questioning, John Torrio claimed that he had good relations with Dean O’Banion and glowing words about him, that they were both good friends. He also said that he had only placed an order for $10,000 worth of flowers the previous week for Mike Merlo’s funeral.
The remaining North Side Gang, O’Banion’s friends wanted revenge on John Torrio and it came in the form of an ambush as John Torrio and his wife were coming home from a shopping trip. Two gunmen, believed to be George “Bugs” Moran & Earl “Hymie” Wiess, one who was carrying a shotgun and the other a handgun, approached Torrio and opened fire. Torrio was shot in the stomach, chest and face, he did survive the assassination. However, he left Chicago, leaving Al Capone in charge in his place.
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