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Encyclopedia > Mike Merlo

Mike Merlo was born Michele Umberto Merlo in Vizzini, Sicily on August 1, 1888. (d. November 8, 1924)He was an United States mafioso, the leader of the Unione Siciliano.In 1897, at the age of 9, he and his family immigrated to Chicago. In 1905, his father died of a stroke at the age of 48, leaving the 17 year old Merlo and his sick mother alone. At the age of twenty, he became a friend of infamous Sicilian boss Gugliermo Scortella who at the time was a friend of Al Capone. Capone in turn, gave Merlo a position taking care of a restaurant he liked in lower Chicago. He was made in 1922, at the age of 34, after killing three men who had attempted to stab Al Capone. Capone had been eating dinner with Merlo and Frank Nitti and was leaving the restaurant when three men: Giovanni DeCitti, Rafaele Civano, and Umberto Casirinno rushed up to him each carrying switchblades. Merlo, who had spotted them, pulled his gun and fired 4 shots into DeCitti and Casirinno. Civano, who had not been shot managed to stab Merlo in the shoulder before Merlo put a bullet between his eyes. Al Capone, who was extreemly greatfull to Merlo for saving his life had him made (dignified) on August 7, 1922. In September of 1922, Merlo formed the Unione Sicilano which was an independant gang of Sicilian immigrants (although he still semi-worked for Al Capone). In 1923, he became notorious in the mob world for killing people who insulted him. On one occasion, he brutally killed 4 men who had made fun of him because he had recently gotten a bad haircut. Around Christmas of 1923 he was sent to Canada to kill a man who had cheated Capone on a rum deal. He returned in February of 1924, by which time he was a respected and feared associate of Al Capone. On April 19, 1924 he was sent to a local pub to sell booze to the bartender. The bartender refused the offer. Merlo then left his briefcase, which had a time bomb in it, in the bar. A little girl who noticed the briefcase, ran to the door of the bar yelling "Hey mister, you forgot your briefcase," when the bomb detonated, destroying the bar and killing the seven people inside. In September of 1924 Merlo was under severe suspicion by the police and was frequently watched by undercover officers. On the morning of November 8, 1924, a man named Giuseppe DeCitti, brother of Giovanni DeCitti, a man who Merlo had gunned down, approached Merlo as he entered his car. DeCitti was accompanied by another man who walked behind Merlo. DeCitti then pulled a tommy gun and blasted the unsuspecting Merlo with fire. Merlo then fell to the ground. He lived long enough however to pull his revolver and shoot DeCitti in the head, killing him. DeCitti's unknown accomplice then shot Merlo three more times, killing him. Al Capone was enraged upon being informed of Merlo's murder. He payed for the most expensive funeral he could in honor of his friend. November 8 is the 312th day of the year (313th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 53 days remaining. ... 1924 (MCMXXIV) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... This article is about the organized crime groups. ...

Mike Merlo was played by Vince Viverito in The Untouchables (1987).


  Results from FactBites:
Part II of Chicago's Unione Siciliana: 1920 – A Decade of Slaughter by Allan May (3960 words)
Merlo is survived by his wife and six children.
This was hardly a fitting accolade to Merlo's prestige in the community, especially in view of the $100,000 in floral tributes spent on his funeral.
Merlo was born in Sicily in 1880 and came to America when he was 9 years old.
  More results at FactBites »



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