Gun History

Thompson Specifications

The two Massacre Thompsons numbered Number 7580 and Number 2347 were positively identified by Colonel Calvin Goddard in December of 1929 after investigating many Thompson guns found in the Chicago area.

Thompson Number 7580 was marked Exhibit "A" and was determined to have fired one twenty-round magazine at the Massacre scene. Thompson Number 2347 was marked Exhibit "B" and was determined to have fired one 50-round magazine at the Massacre scene.

Microscopic identification was made of the bullets fired from each of the test guns. Identification was made of the ejector piece from gun Number 7580, Exhibit "A" and of the irregular firing pin from gun Number 2347, Exhibit "B". The cartridges fired in this case from both Thompson submachine guns at the Massacre scene were of the United States Cartridge Company. They were manufactured only between July, 1927 and July, 1928. The jacketed bullets were an alloy of copper and 5% zinc and were given a nickel wash which gave them a shiny appearance sometimes mistaken for steel.

The Colt Thompson submachine gun had a six groove barrel 10 1/2 inches long, one turn in 16 inches, "right hand" twist. Only two guns at the time had a "right hand" twist, the Colt Thompson submachine and the Model 1917 Smith & Wesson Revolver, which also fired the 45 auto ammunition.

Gun History as Taken From The Coroner's Inquest

Thompson serial Number 7580 was shipped from Auto-Ordnance Corporation of New Haven, Connecticut on October 19, 1928 as part of a shipment of three Thompson submachine guns, serial Number 6926, Number 7580, Number 7699. This shipment also included three "L" type fifty round drum magazines.

Shipment was received October 23rd by Peter Von Frantzius Sporting Goods of 608 Diversey Parkway, Chicago, Illinois, a noted Sporting Goods dealer in the area. On October 23rd, a "dummy" box was shipped by Railway Express to one Victor Thompson (aka Frank V. Thompson), of Fox Hotel, 100 Douglas Avenue, Elgin, Illinois. This entry in the ledger would account for the destination of the three guns. As agreed the serial numbers were filed off by gunsmith Valentine Guch at a cost of two dollars for each gun.

Frank V. Thompson (aka F. V. Thompson, Victor Thompson, Frank Russell), paid cash and took the guns over the counter on October 23, 1928. These three Thompsons were in turn sold or delivered.

This "dummy" package had been at the Railway Express office about seven months. The package was subpoenaed May 4, 1929 from the American Railway Express Company in Elgin, Illinois by Officer Frank Donahue of the Chicago Police Department. It was kept sealed until brought into the Jury room, then opened in the presence of the Coroner's Jury. The box alleged to hold three Thompson submachine guns was actually found to contain some excelsior and four bricks but no Thompson submachine guns.

Frank V. Thompson testified in 1929 at the Coroner's Inquest that Thompson submachine gun Number 7580, with numbers removed, was sold to a Bozo Shupe of Chicago. When confronted by the Chicago Police Department, Bozo Shupe refused to testify or make a statement. Sometime later, he was found murdered on the west side of Chicago near Cicero. At some point, Thompson Number 7580 passed from Mr. Bozo Shupe to Fred R. "Killer" Burke (aka Fred Dane) of Stevensville, Michigan.

Today, the address of Peter Von Frantzius Sporting Goods, 608 Diversey Parkway in Chicago, does not exist. In its place is a small city park which takes up most of that block.

Research on the Cook County Coroner's Inquest courtesy of Gordon Herigstad, Burbank, California, January 1996.


  • Book 695 session 4/13 page 20-23
  • Book 696 session 4/30 page 194-196
  • Book 697 session 5/1 page 275-276
  • Book 718 session 12/23 page 26, 37-40, 42-44, 45-50