When Walter Maddox got shot in the arm, his wife gut shot and Clarence Amster killed, the public and the press assumed that Maddox was the target and Amster had been momentarily mistaken for Maddox. That was why he got killed. The news reports of the time offered a few theories of what had happened. One was that this was a Gangland fight over turf…that Walter’s Inn was cutting into James’ and his partners, Fred and Red Guthrie’s business at the Municipal Bar. Another theory was that Municipal Bar gambling chips were being counterfeited and that $5 dollar MB chips were being sold, presumably by Walter, for $1.
None of these were true. In reality, James had every chance to kill Walter Maddox and had he been the target, he would have been killed. No doubt about it. In his book, James recounts that Walter begged NOT to be shot…and James replied, “You dirty bastard, I ought to kill you right here and now” …but did not.
James and company were actually after 3 gangsters from Chicago. Maddox was a St Louis man who was connected to Chicago boss, Spike O Donnell …yeah..an Irish. Spike’s ways were violent ways. And he often found himself and his men getting shot at. Here is a old photo of one of the old Spikeroo’s vehicles after he was attacked a couple years after Jimmy and Whitey the Goop came gunning for his boys:
Here is some newsreel footage of old Spikeroo giving parents and John Q. Citizen advice on how to keep kids from becoming mobsters (1933 four years before
the AMSTER Case.
They decided to do something about. In the next part of the series…we will look at the “INDIGNATION COMMITTEE”…