a Sicilian mobster in Chicago during the 1920s. He headed the Genna crime family with his brothers. He was killed by police officers after a shootout with North Siders, being one of the only American organized crime leaders to be killed by a policeman.
Michele Genna was born on January 18, 1895 in Marsala, Sicily. Genna’s parents, Antonino Genna Sr. and Maria Concetta Utica, had six other sons: Antonio “the Gentleman”, Angelo “Bloody Angelo”, Vincenzo “Jim”, Pietro “Peter”, Salvatore “Sam”, and Nicola Genna (whom stayed in Sicily); and two daughters: Rosa Laudicina and Caterina Mariana. He and his brothers entered the U.S. through New York around 1910.
On November 3, 1924, Dean O’Banion inadvertently signed his own death warrant during an argumentative phone call to arch-rival Angelo Genna. Their disagreement originated at The Ship, the gambling casino that the North Side gang boss owned along with the Torrio Syndicate. On this day, O’Banion sat in with Al Capone, Frank Nitti, Frank Rio, and others to tally the week’s profits. It was mentioned that Angelo Genna had dropped a large amount of cash, plus a sizable marker. Capone recommended that they cancel the marker as a professional courtesy. O’Banion, instead, got Genna on the telephone and demanded that he pay his debt within a week. With this personal insult, Angelo Genna and his family could no longer be restrained. Until then, Merlo and the Unione had refused to sanction a hit on O’Banion. However, Merlo had terminal cancer and died on November 8, 1924. With Merlo gone, the Gennas and South Siders were free to move on O’Banion.
Torrio ordered the Gennas to murder O’Banion; the brothers carried out the hit on November 10, 1924. Francesco Ioele and two Genna hitmen—Giovanni Scalise and Alberto Anselmi—entered O’Banion’s flower shop, Schofield, and when Yale and O’Banion shook hands, Scalise and Anselmi shot two bullets into O’Banion’s chest and two in his throat, and one of them shot a final bullet into the back of his skull as he was lying on the floor, face-down
After O’Banion’s death, the North Siders—now led by Henry Earl “Hymie” Weiss—attempted to kill Torrio outside his home on January 24, 1925, causing Torrio to flee to Naples; leaving his top bouncer—Alphonse “Scarface” Capone—in charge of the Outfit.
On May 26, 1925, Weiss, Vincent “the Schemer” Drucci, and George “Bugs” Moran shot and killed Angelo Genna in a high-speed car chase.
On June 13, 1925, Genna, Scalise, and Anselmi had a shootout with the North Siders. After the shootout, the three men killed two Chicago police officers and were chased by Chicago Police detectives. Police shot Genna in the leg, severing an artery; Genna died in an ambulance after he kicked an officer in the face.
Genna’s family had planned for his funeral to be lavish like his late brother Angelo’s funeral, but the funeral was quick and quiet due to the two policemen he killed. Police spread the word that they would arrest any gangster attending. No gangster attended, not wanting to be identified as one at his funeral and connected with the crime.
- January, 18, 1895
- Marsala, Sicily, Italy
- June, 13, 1925
- Chicago, Illinois
Cause of Death
- Mount Carmel Cemetery
- Hillside, Illinois