The Irish Gang Wars in Boston 1961-1976:
- Locations: Boston, Charlestown, Dorchester, South Boston
- The Irish Gang War was between the McLaughlin Gang of Charlestown, led by Bernie McLaughlin and the Winter Hill Gang of Somerville, led by James “Buddy” McLean.
This could be one of the bloodiest New England gang wars ever with over 60 killed. The war started over a women being disrespected by another Irish gang member of the Charlestown faction (McLaughlin Gang) .
The girlfriend of the now famous Hollywood actor:Alex Rocco, then known as Alex “BoBo” Petricone. The first event occurred on Labor Day in 1961, the same year that Marino was born in Boston.Members of the Irish clans from Somerville and Charlestown crossed paths at a beach party in Salisbury/Hampton Beach. George McLaughlin of Charlestown’s gang, was a drunken hoodlum with little respect of women, grabbed the ass of Alex’s girlfriend of the Winter Hill Gang. The incident prompted Alex and his friends to beat George McLaughlin half to death.
Alex Incorporated believing they killed him, threw McLaughlin’s body in the trunk and then dumped him on the lawn of a hospital. Bernie McLaughlin was furious, as the head of the Charlestown factions of the Irish mob, paid a visit to the head of the Winter Hill Gang James “Buddy” McLean and demanded that the two men involved in his brother’s beating be killed pronto.McLean refused and McLaughlin took off.
A few days later McLean found dynamite sticks attached under his car to the ignition.On Halloween in 1961, just one day later, McLean shot and killed Bernie McLaughlin in front of about one hundred people in City Square in Charlestown as a message to the Charlestown gangsters.During 1965 the killings continued in Boston, in which the Boston Herald’s Obituaries were referred to as “The Irish Sports Page”. On October 20, Punchy was shot dead while waiting for a bus that was on his way to the trial of his brother George for killing William Sheridan.With the two leaders of both Irish Gangs dead one would think the war would be over, Wrong, it just picked up. Buddy McLean and Punchy McLaughlin, now dead and George McLaughlin serving a life sentence on Death Row in Walpole State Prison for the murder of William Sheridan.
Joseph Baron “The Animal” Barboza and Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme the triggermen shot Punchy a total of nine times including twice in the balls and once in the face, for disrespecting the girlfriend of now famed actor Alex Rocco also known as Alexander F. Petricone Jr. With the Hughes brothers as the next targets for death, by both the dreaded Italian Mob and the Winter Hill Gang’s Somerville, South Boston Irish Mob branches.
Frank “Cadillac Frank” Salemme Sr. (later government alleged target of Marino, Inc. in 1989) and Joseph Baron “The Animal” Barboza along with James “Whitey” Bulger (Later became a target of Marino inc. according to the government) and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi (later became a target of Marino Inc. according to the government) cleaned up the rest of the Charlestown Irish Gangsters with machine gun fire, bombs and shot gun blasts according to Public records.
On May 25, 1966, a speeding car pulled up alongside of Connie Hughes as he was driving home on Route 1 to Malden through Revere, Massachusetts, Connie Hughes’s car was bullet riddled and smashed into the guard rail. Connie age thirty Six was dead at the scene.Punchy McLaughlin already survived two major attempts on his life by the Italian Mafia in conjunction with the Somerville/South Boston Irish Mob vs. The Irish Mob of Charlestown. The Italians jumped into the war to eliminate it totally by killing the other side off, which the war was logically bad for business and it brought unnecessary heat. ELEVEN DAYS AFTER PUNCHY WAS KILLED, the head of the Irish mob in Somerville and Charlestown “Aka” The Winter Hill Gang, was assassinated as he left a bar on Broadway Somerville by Stephen and Connie Hughes, loyalist of the McLaughlin’s.With two Irish gang leaders now dead, one would think the war is over.
Instead it continued with the Hughes brother targeted for death by the dreaded Italians.Connie Hughes age 36 died from a fusillade of automatic weapons fire and died at the scene on May 25, 1966.On September 23, 1966, his brother Stephen Hughes and another Charlestown (“THE TOWN”) gangsters were gunned down while driving along Route 114 in Middleton, Massachusetts just outside of Boston in the mid-afternoon in board daylight. Stephen was 39 years old.
The war continued until 1972, when 48 year old Donald Killeen, head of another Irish clan known as the Killeen Gang of South Boston was machine gunned down in his car outside of his hideout in Framingham, Massachusetts, not far from Boston the Combat Zone in the war. He was the third Killeen brother killed in the gangland war zone.With killen now dead, James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi seized control of the South Boston, Dorchester, Quincy and Charlestown rackets.
Although they still had one more rival to contend with Howie Winter, a genuine chief of the Winter Hill Gang, half Italian and half Irish, would be a serious threat to Whitey and Rifleman if they did not make a pack with him and they did.Now after the war which totaled over 65 murders from 1966 to 1976, the Winter Hill Gang was in full power with good relations with the dreaded Anguilo Italian organization, whom was secretly trying to kill Bulger and Flemmi if they could get them in their sights, according to the public records.