Bonnie and Clyde shot dead in hail of bullets

During this week 87 years ago crossed the Atlantic Ocean to the News Letter’s office in Belfast in May 1934 of the last stand of the “desperado” Clyde Barrow and his “cigar-smoking” companion Bonnie Parker, who history have named ‘Bonnie and Clyde’, who had been shot dead by US police in Louisiana.

Saturday, 22nd May 2021, 10:00 am
Barrow Gang members Bonnie Parker, pictured here on the right, and William Daniel Jones. Parker was the other half of the notorious Bonnie and Clyde gangster duo who robbed and murdered in the United States during two years until they were shot dead at a police roadblock in Louisiana in May 1934. Picture: AFP/GettyImages

The report read: “A desperado called named Clyde Barrow and a woman companion, Bonnie Parker, were shot dead by police today. Barrow and Bonnie Parker were killed by two deputy sheriffs who had been keeping watch on their rendezvous.

As the desperado and his cigar-smoking woman companion drove near their “hide-out” they saw the police officers and drew their guns. But before they could fire they were shot dead by the sheriffs. The scene of the killing was near the home of a relative of Barrow. The officers had been hiding for nearly six weeks, after receiving instructions to get the pair, dead or alive.”

The report added: “Clyde Barrow, the notorious killer of half a dozen has been hunted by posses of police and sheriffs since 6th April, when a police constable was dead and a police chief kidnapped at Miami (Oklahoma).”

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ESCAPE FROM PRISON

Barrow, who had been been given the name of “the worst desperado in the South-West” and also the “Texas Rattlesnake”, had a list of crimes charged against him which stretched as far back as 1926, including six murders, bank robberies, car stealing and kidnapping.

Barrow and a man named Hamilton had escaped from Texas prison in January 1934. It was told of how Barrow had released Hamilton from Tennessee State Prison farm by directing a machine-gun at two wardens who had been escorting the convicts to work.

According to an eye-witness of the shooting in Louisiana Bonnie and Clyde had been driving along the road “at their usual reckless speed of about 85 miles per hour”, when the police officer sprang out and called upon them to stop.

Bonnie, who was reported to had been, “as usual”, smoking a large cigar, had a machine-gun on her lap, but before she had a chance to get it into position the police fired. The car then shot across the road and crashed in the embankment, and both gangsters fell out dead upon the ground.

TWO MOTHERS GRIEF-STRICKEN

Mrs Parker, the mother the of Bonnie Parker, fainted when she was informed of her daughter’s death, while Clyde Barrow’s mother, Mrs Henry Barrow, broke down in a storm of weeping.

She was reported to have said: “I prayed only last night that I might see him again just once more.”

The Reuters from Louisiana added: “The success of the police in hunting down the couple is hailed in Louisiana as ‘a hundred per cent victory of the law over crime’. It was not just luck on the part of the police, but the result of weeks of watching and waiting by Frank Hamer, a Texas ranger, and his assistants, who were specially assigned to the case.”

The report concluded: “The bandits’ car, which was splintered by the police gunfire, was a regular speeding arsenal. The bandit and girl were found riddled with bullet, the former with a pistol in his hand, and the latter bent over a machine-gun.”

MOTHER OBJECTS TO DOUBLE FUNERAL

The following day Reuters wired the following dispatch from Arcadia, Louisiana: “Inseparable crime, Clyde Barrow, the ‘Texas Rattlesnake’, and Bonnie Parker, his woman companion, have been parted in death Barrow’s mother, who has objected to double funeral service for the bandits who were hunted down and shot police near here yesterday.

“Thousands people have been streaming into Arcadia to view the riddled corpses at local undertaker’s, where they lay open to public inspection. The mother of Bonnie, the cigar-smoking gun woman, stayed by the side of her daughter until the bodies were removed.

The crowds cheer Frank Hamer, the deputy sheriff, who shot the bandits, upon his every appearance.

“I hated to bust a cap on woman,” said Hamer, “especially when she was sitting. But if it hadn’t been her it would’ve been me.”

MOTHER EJECTED FROM CINEMA

At the end of May 1934 Mrs Barrow, the mother of Clyde Barrow, was ejected from a cinema in Dallas, Texas, for protesting against the showing of a film of the recent death chase after her son.

“You can’t do that to my boy,” she shouted, standing up in the gangway as scenes flashed on the screen depicting speeding officers in police cars and other “preparatory measures” for the killing of “the South-West’s Public Enemy Number One”.

Stalwart ushers hustled Mrs Barrow out, but she started pulling down posters advertising the show. She was then placed under arrest.