March 26, 1911
The “Shotgun Man” of Chicago kills his last known victim
The Shotgun Man was never positively identified by police though witnesses knew the man by sight. Carrying a sawed-off double-barreled shotgun in broad daylight, the Shotgun Man would confront those who refused to pay the Black Hand, an extortion racket in the area. He would ask the victims again to pay, and if they refused, the Shotgun Man would make good on his threats.
There were so many killings during a few years, Little Italy took the nickname Little Hell momentarily. The Black Hand was reportedly responsible for almost 40 murders between 1910 and 1911, with the Shotgun Man suspected in carrying out 12 or more of them singlehandedly between January 1, 1910 and March 26, 1911. These killings included four victims shot down in a 72 hour period at the intersection of Oak St. and Milton Ave. (now Cleveland Ave.), an area which was nicknamed “Death Corner.”
Witnesses came forward to police often, though no convictions were made. In addition, homicide records from the time do not reflect the Shotgun Man’s supposed killings such as the four killed in 72 hours in March of 1911. Because of these factors, there is some debate among modern historians regarding the validity of the Shotgun Man, with some believing he was no more than an urban legend while others suggest the discrepancies are evidence of crooked cops working for the mafia.
“Homicide in Chicago 1870-1930.” Northwestern University of Law. Accessed: March 26, 2019. http://homicide.northwestern.edu/database/
Sifakis, Carl. The Mafia Encyclopedia. New York, Facts on File, Inc: 1987
Nash, Jay Robert. Crime Chronology. 1984
“Mafia Dooms Trio To Die.” The Los Angeles Times. March 18, 1911
“2 Tragedies Due To ‘Shotgun’ Man.” Chicago Tribune. April 28, 1910