Today in History, March 19: 1943:
Most of us are familiar with the scene from the “Untouchables” in which Elliott Ness pushes the incredibly evil Frank Nitti from the roof of the courthouse to his death, because Nitti is cajoling Ness about the death of his friend.
Nitti took over the Chicago rackets after Al Capone went to prison. He tried to extort California movie studios, and, failing, faced prison time.
He had also married the widow of Edward J. O’Hare, Capone’s attorney. Facing prison, he decided instead to get drunk (.23 bac), to walk to a nearby railroad center, and commit suicide.
He tried to stand in front of a train, but his courage failed. He then shot himself in the head with a .32 caliber pistol…missed the first two times…and finally on the third time, succeeded.
O’Hare had turned state’s witness to save his family…his son Butch would become a WWII hero, and O’Hare International Airport would be named for him.