Residents in South Boston respond to the death of Irish American gangster “Whitey” Bulger, who was killed in a West Virginia federal prison on Tuesday, October 30th.
“Satan is waiting,” a resident named Tom told The Guardian at a South Boston Bar. “That’s all I’ve got to say.”
Bulger, the 89-year-old former mob boss of the Winter Hill gang, was killed in US Penitentiary Hazelton just hours after being transferred from a prison in Florida, according to a statement from the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
The widow of Michael Donahue, whom Bulger killed in 1982 , told local news station WBZ-TV that she would like to “open up a champagne bottle and celebrate” Bulger’s death.
“I think that there’s one less scumbag on this earth,” she said. “That’s how I feel.”
However, there were some mixed feelings in Southie over the gangster’s death.
Kim Lynch, a bartender, said she was surprised to learn Bulger had died. “We thought he had been confined and that he couldn’t go out into the general prison population.” she said. “A lot of people are sad, but a lot of people, like the victims, will be really happy.”
Mike Fagan, a 28-year-Southie resident, said: “It’s terrible to kill an 89-year-old man. No matter what he did.”
One man told the Guardian: “Whitey never forgot his Irish roots. He supported the struggle for the Irish faith against the British.”
“I’m not gonna give you my name, but here’s a tip. Look up ‘Valhalla,’” he said, referencing Bulger’s attempted weapons shipments to the IRA in the 1980s.
“It’s definitely a strange day,” said John Shea, 53, a former associate of Bulger’s who served 12 years in prison on cocaine trafficking charges and is the author of Rat Bastards: The Story of South Boston’s Most Honorable Irish Mobster, a book about his experience in the Winter Hill gang.
Shea said he has no doubt that Bulger was murdered. “I predicted that if he was put in population anywhere, they’re not gonna put up with a guy who is an informant.”
Shea added: “We were taught to accept our lumps and mumps. It’s a tight-knit neighborhood. You don’t rat.”
He said he believes either mob connections or another inmate who “wants to be considered a legend and make a name for themselves” killed Bulger.
Bulger’s death is currently being investigated as a homicide with two inmates under investigation for the attack.