On this day, Feb. 17, in 1943, William "Dint" Colbeck, a St. Louis politician and head of the notorious Egan's Rats gang, was gunned down after trying to get back into the underworld. Colbeck had been the most powerful gangster in St. Louis during the 1920s, while also serving as the sergeant-at-arms of the St. Louis Democratic City Committee. But his empire came crashing down in 1925 when a disgruntled henchman testified against the gang, sending Colbeck and others to the slammer for nearly two decades. After he got out of prison, Colbeck tried to reassert himself atop the city's organized crime world, but was gunned down in his car. No one was ever charged in the slaying.

- Scott McCabe