Bonnie and Clyde die in a Hail of Bullets
Bonnie and Clyde die in a hail of bullets
A notorious couple met a violent end.
BETWEEN 1932 and 1934 the US midwest was terrorized by a wild gang on a violent crime spree. At the head of the gang were Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.
Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow embarked on a bloody crosscountry crime spree in the 1930s. Despite the violence and depravity of their crimes, the pair became celebrities as the sensational publicity of their crimes, and the cross-country manhunt for them one of the largest in US history at the time enthralled the nation. Their death, in a shootout with law enforcement 77 years ago today, enshrined them as legends within American criminal history.
Bonnie was just 19 years old and Clyde just 21 when they met in early 1930. Both came from poor families. Bonnie had dropped out of school to get married at 16, but her husband was imprisoned and she never saw him again. Clyde was already living a life of crime, and shortly after meeting Bonnie was sent to prison. He escaped using a gun Bonnie smuggled in to him, but was captured and returned to jail.
Clyde Barrow was paroled in 1932 and emerged from prison an angry and disturbed young man. His crimes were intended as acts of vengeance against the Texas criminal justice system. Clyde and Bonnie teamed up with Clyde brother, Buck Barrow, also recently paroled from prison, and Bucke, Blanche. The two couples, with a fifth friend, W. D. Jones, lived out of one stolen car after another as they robbed, stole, kidnapped and killed throughout the countryside. Clyde realized his ultimate goal in January 1934, when he broke five violent offenders out of the Texas state, killing two deputies during the escape.
Although Clyde is believed to have killed at least 13 people, most of them law enforcement officers, it’s now believed that Bonnie, though a willing accomplice, may never have actually shot anyone herself. However, following a raid on the gangs hideout in Joplin, Missouri, police found rolls of photographs of Bonnie posing with guns and chomping on a cigar. It sealed her public image as a wild, violent young woman.
The gang was often able to elude police because of laws that prevented police departments from chasing suspects into other jurisdictions. But, once the FBI discovered the gang had driven a stolen car across state lines, the Bureau was able to join the chase and launch the manhunt that ultimately led to Bonnie and Clydes demise.
As the authorities began to close in, Buck Barrow was killed, and Blanche and W. D. Jones arrested, during police raids and ambushed that Bonnie and Clyde managed to narrowly escape by shooting and killing their way out of the trap. But, the end was near.
On May 23, 1934, the FBI tracked the couples movements to Louisiana, where they were visiting the parents of a new accomplice, HenryMevthin. As Bonnie and Clyde drove in their stolen Ford sedan down a country road near Sailes, La., they stopped to speak with Methvins father, whos truck appeared to be stuck. But it was a trap.
A posse of FBI agents and local police hiding in the bushes opened fire. Bonnie and Clyde, in the end, had driven straight into an ambush.