restricted access 17 “Killer” Burke and the Policeman’s Murder
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During the winter I heard Gus mention some friends he and Bob Carey had met in a Calumet City saloon. HecalledthemHarveyBailey,Bob“Slim”Morris,amanIheardhim call nothing but “Jack,” and several others I can’t recall. Bailey is now in Alcatraz Prison for the Urschel kidnapping. Morris is dead. Although I didn’t know it, some of the gang were escaped convicts. On the surface things were moving easily until Bob Carey started making frequent visits to our home for conferences with Gus. I heard considerable conversation concerning some bonds. On one occasion I heard Gus say: “Don’t be a fool, Bob, you’ll only get in Dutch with Capone and the police. Lay off that stuff.” Carey replied: “Bailey and his boys are smart enough to know what they are doing.” Then I heard Carey ask Gus to take him to Burke’s place near St. Joseph, Michigan. He said he wanted Fred to keep some bonds, which he apparently had taken over from Bailey, until some dealers came from St. Paul, Minnesota, to buy them. Gus agreed, for the next morning, December 15, 1929, Carey came over with a grip, and they left in our car after Gus promised to be back by six o’clock in the evening. When Gus got back he said they found Burke drunk, and still drinking when they left. He said on the way back Carey regretted leaving the bonds in Burke’s care, and might go back after them after talking it over with Bailey. 17 “Killer” Burke and the Policeman’s Murder 101 102 al capone and his american boys Gus told me the bonds were taken by Bailey and his boys in a hold up of the Farmers and Merchants Bank at Jefferson, Wisconsin, on November 7, 1929. Bob Carey and his girl friend visited us the next day, and the four of us had just settled down to a game of bridge when the telephone rang and someone asked to speak to Gus. After listening a moment he turned pale and ejaculated, “What,” then listened for a moment longer with a peculiar look on his face. “Well I’ll be damned,” he said finally. “Okay, I’ll do it right away.” When he left the phone he beckoned to Carey and me to follow him into the kitchen. “Bob,” he said with the odd look still on his face, “that call came from the syndicate office, and we’ve both got to go to Michigan right away. Someone is in trouble. I expect it’s George and Irene [Goetz] so we better make it snappy.” They left immediately and I tried to entertain Bob’s girl, but I had a strange feeling that something was wrong, and I couldn’t free my mind of the worry. My nerves were on edge, although I knew Gus had been in no recent trouble. A newsboy’s cry of “extra” gave me a start, for it carried me back over a year when every newspaper on the street was a new source of worry. I called the hotel clerk to send me a paper just as the telephone rang. It was Gus. “Packeverything,andhurryifyoueverdidinyourlife,”hedirected. “Someone will be after you in a minute.” “What about Carey’s girl?” I asked as my knees started to tremble. “Send her home to pack and Bob’ll take her along,” he said. I explained to Bob’s girl that the boys were going out of town and wanted to take us along. I tried to keep from frightening her, but I don’t see how she could have overlooked my pale face. I had a Christmas present for her, and not knowing if I would get a better opportunity to present it, gave it to her then. It was a musical instrument known as a “tipple,” resembling a small guitar. I had one of my own she admired very much. It was in a black case. I mention this fact because later, when the police investigated our disappearance, they learned she had left the house with the case, and “Killer” Burke and the Policeman’s Murder 103 announced that it had contained guns, destined to reach the hands of gangsters. She left in a cab and I looked at the papers. The necessity for haste became clear. The headlines said: “Killer Burke Kills Policeman.” Burke had shot Policeman Charles Skelley in cold blood at St. Joseph , Michigan, December 15, in an argument over...


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Subject Headings

  • Crime -- Illinois -- Chicago -- History -- 20th century.
  • Murder -- Illinois -- Chicago -- History -- 20th century.
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