this day in crime history: march 19, 1943

On this date in 1943, Chicago mob boss Frank “The Enforcer” Nitti committed suicide. Nitti, who rose to prominence as Al Capone’s right hand man, was facing a prison sentence for shaking down several Hollywood movie studios. Severe claustrophobia, which had surfaced during a previous eighteen month stint in prison, made the mobster terrified at the thought of being locked up again. On the morning of March 19th, after his wife left for church, Nitti began drinking heavily. Once he had enough liquid courage, Nitti got his gun and went for a walk. He wound up at a rail yard several blocks from his house. He sat down on the ground, put the gun to his head, and pulled the trigger.

Further reading:

My Al Capone Museum – Frank Nitti

Find A Grave – Frank “The Enforcer” Nitti

Wikipedia – Frank Nitti

9 thoughts on “this day in crime history: march 19, 1943

  1. Fun fact: He fired three times. He was so drunk that he only knocked his hat off with the first one, and completely missed with the second. This was witnessed by a nearby train crew.


  2. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.
    At least Nitti had enough balls to KEEP trying until he got it right.
    Wish more criminals would do us such a favor.

    Good post (and comment).
    Roll safe out there, people.


  3. So Ness didn’t throw him off a roof and say “He’s in the car”? You can’t trust Hollywood. You would think that Nitti might have gone on the run instead. He could always shoot himself as a last resort. I wonder if his “friends” in the mob pressured him into doing something that might take the heat off of them.


    • I’m not so sure he was resourceful enough to last long as a fugitive. He probably knew this himself. As Dirty Harry says, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” 🙂


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