Paul McGonagle was one of the leaders of the Mullen’s gang in Boston during the mob war, along with Pat Nee. The Mullen’s were primarily a crew of up to 60 members that specialized in armed robbery, among other things.
As the mob war ground on, with losses mounting on both sides, hits and near misses on the leadership of both sides began to take its toll. Innocent people were targetted also, mainly in cases of mistaken identity. One such hit involved Donald McGonagle, Paul’s brother who looked like Paul, who wasnt involved in any crime, a law abiding citizen.
According to Kevin Weeks:
“One day Jimmy (Bulger) was driving down Seventh Street in South Boston when he saw Paulie driving toward him. Jimmy pulled up beside him, window to window and called his name. As Paulie looked over, Jimmy shot him right between the eyes. Only at that moment, just as he pulled the trigger, Jimmy realized it wasn’t Paulie. It was Donald, the only one who wasn’t involved in anything.”
Bulger drove straight to Billy O’Sullivan’s house on Savin Hill Avenue, Billy O’Sullivan was Bulger’s mentor and an enforcer for the Killeen gang. Bulger told Billy O’Sullivan, who was at the stove cooking, “I shot the wrong one. I shot Donald.” Billy looked up from the stove and said, ‘Don’t worry about it. He wasn’t healthy anyway. He smoked. He would have gotten lung cancer. How do you want your pork chops?’”
The death of his brother enraged Paul McGonagle who was convinced that Billy O’Sullivan was involved with his brothers shooting. Paul McGonagle personally ambushed and killed Billy O’Sullivan in revenge.
Eventually the Killeen’s found themselves outgunned by the Mullen’s, the Mullen’s having picked off other key members of the Killeen’s, including the leader Donald Killeen. Members of the Mullen’s wanted Bulger dead too but a sit down was called and all sides agreed to peace.
However in 1974 Paul McGonagle went missing. He was shot twice in the head by Whitey Bulger and buried in a shallow grave on Tenean Beach, where his body remained buried for 20 years. Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi alleged in his testimony that the FBI knew that McGonagle’s body was there but said nothing. Flemmi said that him, John Connolly and Whitey Bulger sometimes met at the beach, where Bulger would make a remark about it. Flemmi also said that when him and Bulger would drive past the spot and the tide was coming in Bulger would say “drink up Paulie”
McGonagles family would later sue the FBI. McGonagle’s son Sean said he met Bulger when he was 17 years old and said “They were steely blue (eyes). They were scary. They had nothing in them. They had no soul.” He says, “He wanted to let me know who runs the town and I made a mistake and you don’t want to make another with him.”