Johnny Torrio Retires, Puts Al Capone In Charge

The Torrio-Capone duo soon was on the move, taking over mobs that bowed to their entreaties or threats and going to war with those that wouldn't cooperate.

Their most impressive coup was arranging the killing in 1924 of Dion O'Banion, the head of the largely Irish North Side Gang. Utilizing the murderous abilities of Frankie Yale of Brooklyn, the same man who carried out the Colosimo assassination, O'Banion's death ultimately failed to rout the North Siders who, instead, waged war off and on for several years. Torrio himself was badly shot in an ambush but, after lingering on the edge of death for days, recovered. When he got out of the hospital in February 1925, Torrio told Capone after considerable soul-searching: "Al, it's all yours." Torrio took the $30 million he had squirreled away and retired back to Brooklyn, thereafter to function as a sort of elder statesman and adviser to the leaders of organized crime and the national crime syndicate that would emerge in the 1930s.

After the O'Banion hit Torrio feels very threatened. At the funeral the O'Banion gang members stare at Torrio and Capone with icy cold death stares knowing full well Torrio gave the go ahead.They incessantly stalk Torrio until one day in 1925, in front of Torrio's appartment at 7016 S. Clyde ave. after returning from shopping with his wife ,he is attacked by Hymie Weiss and George "Bugs" Moran. Vincent Drucci is driving the hit car. Bugs and Hymie let loose with a volley of shots from a .45 auto and a .12 gauge shotgun. One bullet strikes Torrio's auto shattering the glass.Another hits his Chauffeur in the legs. Torrio is hit in the arm as he stumbles over the pacakages he has acquired from shopping.His wife Anna Jacob Torrio sees this happening and is totally horrified.Neighbors can't understand why anyone would want to hurt poor Mr. Langley (alias).The next round of slugs tears into Torrio's jaw.

The next shots find their way in his lung and abdomen. Bugs Moran presses his .45 to Torrio's temple for the final blow. Click! Click! he is out of ammo.He struggles to put and clip in the colt when Drucci signals with the horn taht it's time to split! The killers get into their car and disapper in the darkness.Torrio is gurgling blood.The ambulance arrives as Torrio signals them to Cauterize the wounds.He is in fear that the killers had rubbed the tips of their bullets with garlic. (A common belief was that this would induce lead poisoning when in fact all it would cause is a smelly bullet).

Torrio slowly recovers refusing to name his assailants to the police.Al Capone has guards around the clock for Johnny and vows to kill the Northsiders. John Torrio hands over all of the Outfit to Al Capone and after serving a year in jail(for breaking prohibition laws) he retires with his savings, wife and mother over to the safety of Italy.

Severely injured in a 1925 assassination attempt by the North Side Gang, the shaken Torrio turned over his business to Capone and returned to Italy. Capone was notorious during the Prohibition Era for his control of large portions of the Chicago underworld, which provided the Outfit with an estimated US $100 million per year in revenue. This wealth was generated through all manner of illegal enterprises, such as gambling and prostitution, although the largest moneymaker was the sale of liquor. In those days Capone had the habit of "interviewing" new prostitutes for his club himself.

Demand was met by a transportation network that moved smuggled liquor from the rum-runners of the East Coast and The Purple Gang in Detroit and local production in the form of Midwestern moonshine operations and illegal breweries. With the funds generated by his bootlegging operation, Capone's grip on the political and law-enforcement establishments in Chicago grew stronger.

Through this organized corruption, which included the bribing of Mayor of Chicago William "Big Bill" Hale Thompson, Capone's gang operated largely free from legal intrusion, operating casinos and speakeasies throughout Chicago. Wealth also permitted Capone to indulge in a luxurious lifestyle of custom suits, cigars, gourmet food and drink (his preferred liquor was Templeton Rye from Iowa), jewelry, and female companionship. He garnered media attention, to which his favorite responses were "I am just a businessman, giving the people what they want" and "All I do is satisfy a public demand." Capone had become a celebrity.