Year of the Gangster, Part 2
Bonnie and Clyde Redux
The Year of the Gangster, Part 2
|A crowd gathers around Bonnie and Clyde’s bullet-ridden sedan not long after the fatal ambush.|
It was 75 years ago this past Saturday—on the morning of May 23, 1934—that Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker drove their Ford sedan down a dusty back road in Louisiana and straight into an ambush.
A posse of heavily-armed lawmen put an end to the infamous crime couple’s deadly reign—but it was really just the beginning of the nation’s fascination with the star-crossed lovers, whose story is still being told today.
Now, there’s a little bit more to talk about.
For the first time, we’re releasing on this website nearly 1,000 pages of new material on our investigations of Bonnie and Clyde and their partners in crime—including some pictures that you see here. The information represents the investigative case records of our Dallas Field Office, which were uncovered in the course of preparing a historical exhibit in Dallas and disclosed last year.
|Clyde Barrow poses by a road sign|
These pages describe the Bureau’s involvement in the pursuit of Bonnie and Clyde, which began almost exactly a year before their deaths when we discovered evidence that they had crossed state lines in a stolen car. By the time we joined the hunt, the pair had been crisscrossing the Midwest, chased by every level of law enforcement across eight states—stealing cars, robbing banks and gas stations, taking hostages, and even gunning down police officers and innocent bystanders alike. Their rapid-fire movements and connections were such that our agents in Dallas, New Orleans, Detroit, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, St. Louis, and elsewhere were soon involved.
|Clyde Barrow (left) with William D. Jones, one of the Barrow gang|
Our Dallas file clearly shows how the many different levels of law enforcement worked together closely in the hunt for Bonnie and Clyde. They shared information, leads, and informants, with the FBI often acting as a clearinghouse for the spread of information across the Midwest.
|Special Agent Kindell|
New Orleans Division Special Agent Lester Kindell, for example, played a central role in this cooperative effort to track the fugitives in Louisiana and parts of Texas, joining hands with former Texas Ranger Frank Hamer and others. Kindell was also closely involved in discussions that led to the final confrontation with Bonnie and Clyde, although he did not participate in the fatal ambush.
The four parts of this file add to the information we’ve already made available on these notorious criminals, and we hope that they lead to new understandings of law enforcement and crime during what we are calling “The Year of the Gangster.”