May 23

This Day in History

Crime

May 23, 1934:

Bonnie and Clyde are killed by police

Famed fugitives Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker are killed in a police ambush near Sailes, Louisiana. A contingent of officers from Texas and Louisiana set up along the highway, waiting for Bonnie and Clyde to appear, and then unloaded a two-minute fusillade of 167 bullets at their car, killing the criminal couple.

Bonnie Parker was 19 years old when she met Clyde Barrow while visiting her husband in a Texas jail. Barrow, serving time for burglary, obviously made quite an impression on Parker, because she smuggled a gun, taped to her thigh, into prison to help him escape. He was eventually caught in Ohio and brought back to prison. When a personal appeal from his mother to the Texas governor earned his release in 1932, he vowed never to return.

Bonnie and Clyde teamed up shortly thereafter. After Bonnie was caught stealing a car, she had to spend three months in prison, while Clyde went on a robbery spree. He then killed a sheriff and deputy at a barn dance in Oklahoma. In the fall of 1932, the pair spent their time carrying out small-time robberies throughout Texas and Oklahoma. At one such robbery, they picked up W. D. Jones, a gas station attendant, who joined their team for the next 18 months. Buck Barrow, Clyde's brother who was recently pardoned by the new Texas governor, Ma Ferguson, also joined the gang.

For some reason, the media latched onto Bonnie and Clyde. The pair loved the attention, posing for snapshots with their arsenal of weapons. In early 1934, they barely escaped a trap in Missouri, killing two lawmen in the ensuing shootout. Buck and his wife, Blanche, were shot and captured, but Buck died from his wounds. Texas Ranger Frank Hamer finally caught up with Bonnie and Clyde in May, after tracking them for more than three months.

Today, Bonnie and Clyde have an unwarranted reputation as charming Robin Hoods, mostly due to the sympathetic personalities portrayed in the 1967 classic movie Bonnie and Clyde, starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.

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For news and information about the upcoming Bonnie and Clyde movie check out www.bonnieandclydethemovie.com

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