Sunday, June 7, 2020

Big Jim Colosimo: The father of the Chicago Outfit

Vincenzo 'Big Jim' Colosimo was a crime boss who emigrated from Calabria in 1895 and rose from a street sweeper to building a criminal empire in Chicago based on prostitution, gambling, and racketeering.

From 1902 until his death in 1920, he led a gang that became known as the Chicago Outfit. Johnny Torrio was an enforcer Colosimo imported in 1909 from New York. Al Capone was Torrio's henchman, and his driver. On May 11, 1920 Colosimo was killed by two shots. Chicago had lost its first mob boss.
His murder was unsolved.
His funeral set the standard for gangland sendoffs. The milelong cortege was led by brass bands and was big news. “Thousands blocked nearby streets, clung to fire escapes, leaned from windows and peered down from roofs on the funeral procession.”

Torrio took over Colosimo’s criminal enterprises. In 1925, he was shot several times during an assassination attempt. He took early retirement and turned the operation over to Capone.

Johnny Torrio