Jake Lingle

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Alfred "Jake" Lingle Jr.
Born Alfred Lingle
July 2, 1891
Chicago, Illinois
Died June 9, 1930(1930-06-09) (aged 38)
Chicago, Illinois
Cause of death Gun shot to the back of the head
Body discovered Found June 9, 1930 in a Chicago train station
Other names Jake
Education John Calhoun North Elementary (8th grade)
Occupation Journalist, crime reporting
Years active 1912–1930
Employer Chicago Tribune
Known for working with Al Capone
Salary $65 a week
Net worth $60,000 (annual income)[citation needed]
Opponent(s) Leo Vincent Brothers
Religion Jewish, converted to Roman Catholicism[1]
Spouse(s) Helen Sullivan Lingle
Children Alfred Jr. and Dolores

Alfred "Jake" Lingle, Jr. (July 2, 1891 - June 9, 1930) was a reporter for the Chicago Tribune. He was shot dead gangland-style at the Illinois Central commuter train station underpass, during rush hour on June 9, 1930, as dozens of people watched.[2][3] The man convicted of the murder was a German-American mob associate, Leo Vincent Brothers.[4]

Lingle was initially lionized as a martyred journalist, but it was eventually revealed that he was involved in racketeering with the Capone organization and that his death had more to do with his own criminal activities than his journalism.[2][5]

Early life[edit]

Jake Lingle was born July 1891 and raised on the West Side of Chicago. When Lingle was eight years old his parents converted from Judaism to Roman Catholicism.[1] He received an education up to the eight grade at John Calhoun North Elementary. Lingle's childhood friend was William F. Russell, who would later become the chief of police in Chicago.[citation needed] Before becoming an office boy for the Chicago Tribune, Jake played semi-professional baseball and worked for a surgical supply company.


Jake Lingle began his career in journalism in 1912.[1] Lingle was known as a reporter for his work as a legman covering gang-related crime stories. He reported from the scene by telephone to a writer at the Chicago Tribune office and then that person would write up his story. During this period, Lingle made connections outside of journalism, and while he earned $65 a week reporting, he had an annual income of $60,000.[4]


On the afternoon of June 9, 1930, in Chicago, Jake Lingle left the Sherman House Hotel where he had conversed with some power brokers. Lingle was on his way to catch the 1:30 pm train to a racetrack in Homewood where he gambled on horses. On his way though the Randolph Street Terminal, he was followed by two males. One man described as being thin, blonde hair, and blue eyes, raised his .38 caliber pistol and shot Lingle once directly in the back of the head, which killed Lingle.[2] Lingle's death brought to the public's attention his connections with the mafia. Not only did some people discover what Lingle's occupation really was, but also they learned about the gangs and about those with whom Lingle was associated.[6]


The police got 664 hoodlums going around the city of Chicago performing what they called a "manhunt". One way of finding the killer and quickly, the Chicago Tribune told readers the newspaper would give them a $25,000 reward if they had information that led them to the killer. Other local newspaper companies said they would throw in an extra $30,000.

In January 1931, the police received a tip and arrested a man by the name of Leo V. Brothers from St. Louis. Many people swore that he was Lingle's killer. Others, including Brothers, denied his involvement. Convicted, Brothers was given the minimum sentence for murder of 14 years, and he served 8 years of the sentence.[4]


Once other journalists learned about Jake Lingle'a association with mobsters and his gambling activity, they began questioning the Chicago Tribune about it. In response, the Tribune said that it had not been aware of Lingle's activities. However, Frank Wilson, an IRS agent, said Robert McCormick, who was the Tribune's proprietor, had arranged a meeting between Lingle and himself when he was investigating the Al Capone case, and claimed this proved that the Tribune knew about Jake Lingle's involvement with the mafia.[6]

In popular culture[edit]

The 1931 film The Finger Points was loosely based on Lingle's life and death, and starred Richard Barthelmess as the reporter, Fay Wray as his love interest, and Clark Gable as the gangster who corrupts him.

In 1959, the Jake Lingle murder was dramatized on a television episode of The Untouchables.

In the 1979 film, The Lady in Red, Lingle is seen as the reporter harassing John Dillinger's escort/girlfriend, Polly Hamilton (called "Polly Franklin" in this film). But this is fiction, as Dillinger first met Hamilton in 1934, four years after Lingle's murder.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Robert L Gale. Characters and Plots in the Novels of Horace McCoy. 
  2. ^ a b c Krajicek, David. "Corrupt Chicago Tribune newsman Jake Lingle gunned down by Mafia thug". Daily News. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  3. ^ O'Brien, John (1930-06-09). "The shooting of Jake Lingle". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2014-04-15. 
  4. ^ a b c Vitaliev, Vitali. "Mob rules in the Windy City There are still racketeers in Chicago, but fortunately they don't quite run things the way they did in the 1930s". The Daily Telegraph. London. 
  5. ^ "Martyr Into Racketeer". Time. July 7, 1930. 
  6. ^ a b Silverman, Gary (July 7, 2011). "A Chicago twist on the tabloid troubles". Financial Times. London, England. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Poulsen, Ellen (2002). Don't Call Us Molls: Women of the John Dillinger Gang. New York: Clinton Cook Publishing.