Bonnie Parker, Clyde Barrow killed by lawmen in ambush

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow met their end in Bienville Parish, Louisiana, in a hail of bullets on May 23, 1934. She was 23 years old, he was 25. FBI/UPI
1 of 5 | Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow met their end in Bienville Parish, Louisiana, in a hail of bullets on May 23, 1934. She was 23 years old, he was 25. FBI/UPI

GIBSLAND, La., May 23, 1934 (UP) - Clyde Barrow and his cigar-smoking sweetheart, Bonnie Parker, who lived by violence, died by violence today.

The notorious southwest desperado and his companion were shot down from ambush by six officers.


The outlaw rode into a trap, set by Sheriff Henderson Jordan of Bienville Parish. Deputy Prentiss Oakley, a federal agent named Kendall, a Dallas (Tex.) deputy sheriff and two other men were in the posse.

The officers had lain in wait since 2 a.m., after receiving a tip that Barrow was in this vicinity.

The outlaw approached the trap, riding in a gray Ford sedan. Barrow was at the wheel. Bonnie sat beside him.

The officers blocked the road ahead of him. Barrow opened fire with a sawed-off shotgun. The officers loosed a barrage of fire, riddling the bandit's automobile and killing both occupants.

With the ambuscade ended a career of 12 murders and a series of violent crimes attributed to Barrow, 25-year-old Texas youth who covered the midwest and southwest in his depredations.


His sweetheart, Bonnie Parker, 23, fell with him even as she had fought it out with peace officers beside her man many times in the past. Her pistol eye had been credited with being as keen as Barrow's.

In Barrow's car were found several shot-guns, machine guns, pistols and revolvers. The outlaws were driving toward Ringgold, near the Texas state line, when they were met.

Dr. J.L. Wade, coroner at Arcadia, left immediately for the scene of the killings.

The bodies were taken to Arcadia. None of the officers in the attacking party was killed or injured, it was reported at Arcadia.

Throughout the southwest an intensive search had been in progress for the gunman and the girl for several months.

Officers unanimously agreed that it would be only a matter of time until the two were captured, or killed.

It was thought that possibly officers obtained knowledge of Barrow's whereabouts by questioning his relatives.

Barrow blazed a trail of crime including 12 murders and countless bank robberies, lootings and kidnappings in the last few years in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, Illinois, Ohio, New Mexico and Indiana.

He was accompanied usually by his sweetheart, Bonnie Parker, known for the black cigars she smoked. She had frequently been reported as clever with a pistol as Barrow himself.


Barrow and Bonnie grew up in West Dallas, Tex. Barrow had his first brush with the law when he was 15. He was arrested for stealing an automobile. Later he and a pal, Raymond Hamilton, armed themselves with revolvers and started on a career of holdups and shootings.

Late in 1929, Barrow was arrested in Dallas for two safe cracking jobs. About this time he met Bonnie, who had been a waitress. She joined them in their escapades and soon the three became fugitives.

Barrow drew his first jail sentence in 1930 in Waco, Tex. He was sentenced for two years, but he escaped before he could be taken to prison. Two weeks later he had a gun battle with police in Middletown, Ohio, was captured and returned to Waco. The sentence was increased to 14 years.

Barrow was taken to the Texas Penitentiary May 21, 1930. His mother appealed to Gov. Ross Sterling for clemency, and Barrow was paroled Feb. 2, 1932. Once released, Barrow started out again on a life of crime.

With Hamilton and Bonnie Parker, he allegedly killed a butcher in a robbery; killed a sheriff and wounded his deputy at Atoka, Okla.; wounded a deputy at Wharton, Tex., and killed a grocery clerk at Sherman, Tex. Then Hamilton and Barrow parted company, reportedly in a dispute over Bonnie.


Hamilton later was arrested at Bay City, Mich., returned to Texas, and given sentences totaling 263 years. He said he was sorry he ever parted company with Barrow. On Jan. 16 last Barrow and Bonnie led a daring delivery of five convicts from the prison farm near Huntsville, Tex., one of them being Hamilton. The State Legislature offered $1,000 reward for the capture of "the most dangerous desperado of the middle west."

Barrow and Bonnie, surrounded in a farm house at Joplin, Mo., early last year, shot their way out, killing two officers. A small arsenal was found in the house, as well as a bit of doggerel verse by Bonnie, entitled "Suicide Sal," describing her life with Barrow. Since then she has been known as Suicide Sal.

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