The Life of Al Capone
Al Capone was born in 1899 as Alphonse Gabriel Capone, in Brooklyn, New York. He was born to Italian immigrants who moved to New York during the peak of US immigrants arriving from Europe and had 7 other siblings. At the age of 14, Capone dropped out of school and started to work odd jobs. Some of the jobs he worked include a bowling alley and a candy shop. He soon met gangster Johnny Torrio, who would later become a big influence on him. He began working with some small-time gangs including one called the Junior Forty Thieves. Throughout these early years, Capone would often get involved in knife fights and got several scars, which earned him the nickname “scarface.”
In 1921, Capone moved his family to the city of Chicago, where they bought a modest house in a nice neighborhood. It was here that began to construct a new empire and become an influence among the mobsters there. Johnny Torrio was severely hurt when someone tried to kill him, so he moved to Italy and passed down his high rank among the mob to Capone. During this time, Al Capone began operating a prostitution and gambling ring, which brought in millions of dollars each year. With criminal activity comes violence, and this sparked what was soon known as the mob wars.
Within the city of Chicago, several mobs were clashing on the streets. Several assassination attempts were made on Capone including shooting his car up with bullets, and trying to kill him in public restaurants. He eventually asked for a truce but it never happened. The other mobs’ reluctance to cooperate prompted him to armor his car with metal plates, install bulletproof glass, and even implement a police siren on his vehicle. He also hired armed bodyguards, many of whom were already members of his mob. In 1929 Capone arranged for the largest killing of rival mobsters ever, known as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. The event took place in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, where Capone ran an extensive people search for other mobsters.
During the famous massacre, seven people were killed, yet no one was officially convicted of the murders. The victims thought police officers were entering the premises, since Capone had his men in disguise. Eliot Ness, a well-known officer of the law, decided to investigate Capone’s involvement in the massacre. Eventually, Al Capone was arrested for tax evasion in 1931. This was a highly unlikely charge for such a high-profile mobster, but the evidence was overwhelming and he was convicted on several counts. Capone finally ended up in San Francisco in Alcatraz where he suffered symptoms of syphilis that he had caught as a younger man. He served a year in prison in California for a misdemeanor, and finally went back to Florida. In 1947, he had a stroke, which eventually moved on to a massive and sudden heart attack. Al Capone died on January 25, 1947 but will always be remembered as one of the country’s most notorious mobsters.