Walter O’Donnell


Walter O’Donnell was the younger brother of Edward “Spike” O’Donnell, a rum-runner from Chicago and part of the South-side O’Donnell’s gang.

Walter O’Donnell had been lucky one night when he narrowly escaped a shooting in a bar where he and a friend Jerry O’Connor had been eating, four or five men had entered the bar carrying rifles, the men opened fire, Walter escaped through a back door, while O’Connor, who was following him was hit several times and died.

The shooting was believed to be in connection with a “beer runners feud”, just prior to the shooting of Jerry O’Connor police had received a report that another saloonkeeper had been roughed up by Tom O’Donnell and another man, which turned out to be Steve O’Donnell, both Walter and Spike O’Donnell’s brothers. However the 2nd saloonkeeper refused to identify Tom or Steve O’Donnell. After this, a third saloonkeeper made a report that the O’Donnell brothers and another associate, George Meegan had threatened him, saying the brothers accused him of selling beer from one of their rivals.

On June 9,1925 Walter O’Donnell died in Auburn Park Hospital of gunshot wounds he received on June 7th during an altercation at the Capital Inn. Walter and an associate, Harry Wilson apparently entered the bar at around 5.30 am where the owner Thomas McLaughlin had been counting the nights takings, they ordered him to put his hands up, which he did but a porter who had been in another room heard what happened, picked up a revolver and came up behind O’Donnell and Wilson, he opened fire while Thomas McLaughlin made a move for his gun and also opened fire, O’Donnell and Wilson returned fire but missed both men.

O’Donnell was wounded in the back and Harry Wilson was hit four times, Wilson was taken to St. Francis hospital in Blue Island while O’Donnell was taken to Auburn Park hospital. Both men died from their wounds.


Posted on

February 29, 2020

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