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Bernard "Bernie" McLaughlin
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Bernard "Bernie" McLaughlin

Bernard "Bernie" McLaughlin was an Irish-American gangster from Charlestown, Massachusetts and leader of "The McLaughlin Brothers" gang.

Before Bernie formed his own crew he was a loan shark and enforcer for the Angiulo Brothers of the North End, Boston. After the Irish gangs decided to break away from Italian control, Bernie and his brothers (Edward "Punchy" McLaughlin and George McLaughlin (born July 7, 1927 )took over the rackets in and around Charlestown, Massachusetts. They soon built a reputation as a fearsome crew, and carried out contract killings for gangsters all over New England, including the Patriarca crime family and the Winter Hill Gang.

Soon after, at a Labor Day party on Salisbury Beach, George McLaughlin was badly beaten by two members of The Winter Hill Gang for drunkenly groping the girlfriend of mobster Alex Rocco (then known as Alex 'Bobo' Petricone). Believing George to be dead, the mobsters loaded him into the car to dispose of his body. However, when they realized that he was still alive, they dumped him on a hospital lawn.

When Bernie found out about this he demanded that his then friend Winter Hill leader James "Buddy" McLean turn over his two men. McLean said that George was "out of line" and refused to turn them over. Enraged, the McLaughlins wired a bomb under Buddy's family car. When Buddy surprised them, they fled, but not before McLean recognized them. He was infuriated and immediately went looking for Bernie. In October 1961, Buddy McLean, Alex Rocco, and corrupt police officer Russell Nicholson found Bernie in Long Wharf (Boston) and shot him dead. Despite the large crowd, not one witness agreed to violate the Neighborhood Code and the three went free. Soon after, Russ Nicholson was taken from the street and murdered by Bernie's brothers Punchy and Georgie.


  • English, T.J. Paddy Whacked: The Untold Story of the Irish American Gangster. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2005. ISBN 0-06-059003-3

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