Born Colosimi, Calabria, Italy, Feb. 16, 1878.
Killed Chicago, IL, May 11, 1920.
Colosimo was repeatedly victimized by Black Hand extortion and, for reasons largely unknown, sent to New York for aid. He called for Johnny Torrio, who partnered in a Brooklyn-Manhattan gang leadership with Frankie Yale, to move west. Torrio settled in Chicago around 1909 and immediately put an end to Colosimo's Black Hand troubles.
In 1919, Five Points Gang enforcer Al Capone, who was wanted on murder charges in New York, decided to follow in Torrio's footsteps and joined Colosimo's Chicago organization.
With the arrival of Prohibition, Torrio and Capone wished to expand their illicit enterprises into bootlegging. Colosimo, perhaps fearing to compete with established underworld gangs in the import of alcohol, reportedly refused.
The Colosimo-Torrio-Capone group was not a Mafia organization, and, in fact, was presenting growing problems for the true Mafiosi in town - the Gennas and later the Aiellos. The Gennas might have been partly responsible for Colosimo's death. Colosimo also went through an ugly divorce just before his death, and his former brother-in-law was apparently suspected by police.
Whoever the responsible parties were, Torrio and Capone were the main beneficiaries. They took over Colosimo's businesses and formed a full-fledged gang.