On May 23, 1934, the legendary criminals Bonnie and Clyde were shot and killed by police while driving a stolen car in Louisiana.
Both Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker grew up in the slums of Dallas, Texas, but while Clyde ended up on the wrong side of the law by his teen years, Bonnie seemed to stay out of trouble. The two met in 1930, when Clyde was 20 and Bonnie 19; Bonnie was already married but was separated from her husband. Clyde was sent to prison for robbery not long after their meeting, but the two reunited when he was released in 1932. Clyde initially appeared to try to straighten out his life but soon returned to small-time robberies, this time involving Bonnie in some of his criminal activities.
Bonnie and Clyde, along with various accomplices, began a crime spree that would last two years. They mostly robbed gas stations, restaurants, and stores, sometimes hitting small banks as well, and in 1934 they engineered a prison break. Whenever the police caught up with them, Clyde and his accomplices rarely hesitated to shoot, allegedly killing 9 officers of the law—and 13 people total—while they were on the run.
Bonnie was often portrayed in newspapers as a “cigar-smoking gun moll,” after police raided a hideout and found photographs of her with a gun in her hand and a cigar in her mouth. (Bonnie vehemently denied she ever smoked cigars, only cigarettes, and there is little evidence that she ever murdered anyone.)
Their crime spree finally ended in May 1934 when Frank Hamer, a Texas Ranger, and his posse tracked down Clyde and Bonnie in Louisiana. The group set up an ambush, hiding along the side of a road. When they saw Bonnie and Clyde’s car, the posse let loose with a hail of more than 100 bullets, killing both of the car’s occupants.
Clyde’s and Bonnie’s gunshot-riddled bodies were taken back to Texas, and thousands of people came to see their corpses. In accordance with Bonnie’s mother’s wishes, the two were given separate funerals and Bonnie was buried apart from Clyde in a different cemetery. At the time of their deaths, Clyde was just 25 and Bonnie 23.
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25 thoughts on “Bonnie and Clyde Killed: May 23, 1934”
There is a little town in East Texas named Kemp. There sets a jail house no bigger than a small storage shed made of brick and mortar. Steel bars for the window and door. Bonnie Parker was jailed there , it set’s right outside the municipal court and a road leads right to the front of it.
Bonnie never went to jail
Bonnie and Clyde was the first violent movie I had ever seen. Me and my best friend were teenagers. On the way home, I laid down in the back seat, nauseated at such violence. Bonnie and Clyde were terrible. Then, the way they died. It was all a terrible situation. I regretted going to see the movie.
If that violence is so horrible to you, than look at the world now. This was before people could get ahold of high tech guns and all sorts of new weapons that you probably have no idea exist. It’s not healthy to stay blind to such matters in life.
And now to set the record straight from the ‘Official’ version this site dishes up. I grew up in Louisiana and my parents and grand-parents grew up in and around Gibsland, La. where Bonnie and Clyde were murdered. That’s right…,MURDERED.
First of all, as the article correctly states, the couple gunned down mostly Police (who were trying to gun down Bonnie and Clyde). The couple mostly left civilians alone which is one reason the public had a kind of sympathy for them. Life during the 1930’s was difficult, at best. Some had it more difficult than others. This is not a blanket approval of their criminality. It is just a fact that desperate times yield desperation, and Bonnie and Clyde were no exception.
Secondly, as true today as it was back then, if you shoot a Cop you will see the entire weight of “Law Enforcement” mobilize to AVENGE one of their own (a vengeance never seen when any of we mundanes are killed). The “ambush” of Bonnie and Clyde was just that; a premeditated killing which only had one intent…,TO KILL. There was ample opportunity that day to take them alive, once at the small diner in Gibsland where they ate breakfast, then again on the road where the ambush took place. These “law enforcement” officials knew they were in the Diner and most of their weapons were in the car. At best, both were armed with only handguns, and the “Law” had come that day armed to the teeth with pistols, rifles, shotguns, and automatic weapons. They could easily have surrounded the Diner and forced them to surrender. At the ambush site, they could have conducted a road block both in front and behind and trapped them on a lonely road in the middle of nowhere. To this day, anyone who has driven down Hwy 154 to the spot of the ambush knows what a lonely road that is, and it was even lonelier back in 1934.
Additionally, if you look at the ambush photos the “Law” so proudly and gruesomely paraded around, you will see Bonnie and Clyde sitting in their seats, facing forward, and the car pulled over on the side of the road. The “Law” would have you believe they were shot while moving. Any AMATEUR viewing these photos can clearly see no such event could have possibly taken place. The car would have careened off the road instead of being pulled over onto the side of the road as any motorist would pull over. The fact that they are sitting in their seats and not either out on the ground or in some other contorted fashion shows that they were gunned down after being stopped and posing no threat to these “officers.”
It is apparent to me that the couple had, indeed, been properly road blocked, stopped their car while realizing there was no escape, the “officers” approached the car, then summarily EXECUTED them where they sat. The only reason “100 rounds” would have been fired is to MAKE SURE they were dead (‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’).
This was a Vigilante-style revenge killing, pure and simple. And everyone I’ve ever known who grew up in those parts – including my family – agrees.
You are right that when Bonnie and Clyde were killed by the police that it probably would have been considered excessive and a violation of police policy by today’s standards. However, this was 80+ years ago. I think laws regarding the police have changed drastically since then. And as far as saying that desperate times cause desperate measures is an attempt to defend and justify the actions of the pair. This is off base. Almost everyone felt the despair of the depression and not everyone became robbers and killers. So no Bonnie and Clyde did not have to do what they did.
Really, as for bringing out the full force of law enforcement – it should if someone is willing to kill a cop they will kill anyone. I think that Bonnie and Clyde have been glamorized and made into heroes which they were not. So it was the depression my parents went through it as did my grandparents and none of them broke out the guns and started robbing and killing people. The fact is that they were criminals and do not deserve to be turned into heroes.
It depends on each situation, on the times they actually killed a cop I would agree, but they weren’t really out on a murder crusade. When they were actually killed that was not justified no matter what you say. The police were just bad at their jobs an couldn’t track them down that well so when they finally found them the wanted them dead on site. It’s horrible how police use their power for selfish reasons, and that’s what they did.
As an expert on events that happened over 80 years ago, perhaps you can share your progressive insight on the families of Bonnie & Clyde victims!
Good riddance. If law enforcement were allowed to treat criminals that way today, there might be a lot fewer violent crimes. There certainly would be fewer violent criminals. If Bonnie was indeed pregnant, it was probably a blessing that she never had the child. Imagine the life it would have had to live. Make bad choices, suffer the consequences.
You can tell you are one of those asses that believe an eye for an eye. They were young, confused, and probably suffered in ways you could never wrap your mind around. You do remember when drugs could just be purchased? Do you think that because they were legal back then, that there were no side effects?? You have no idea what they went through or who they were personally. And how dare you say that it was ok for Bonnie’s baby to die. Back in those days, cops had no one to answer to. If a cop was trying to kill me, I can say that I wouldn’t go quietly. A closed mind is an ignorant mind.
My Dad knew Clyde from the Dallas Farmers Markets where they hung out for work. Mom and Dad both said they were blamed for a lot of crimes they did not commit. And Mom knew for a fact that Bonnie was pregnant when they were murdered.
If Bonnie was pregnant, that’s probably why the pulled over and surrendered.
Good point, Carol.
I don’t discount the lethal force used by law enforcement used to kill Bonnie & Clyde. That said, they murdered my great-uncle, Cal Campbell, outside Commerce, OK, when he, the small town’s marshal, and Officer Percy Boyd, drove to an area near one of the old (now abandoned) lead and zinc mines in that area of NE OK. Campbell was the last “lawman” killed by the Barrow Gang.
my husbands mother was a cousin of bonnie’s.And they were blamed for crimes they didn’t commit.All in all it was a terrible thing that happened to them.And as far as law enforcement goes it isn’t much different today.there are so many of the law enforcement officers who ABUSE their authority because they have a badge.I am sure they didn’t let the public know everything.But I do agree they were Murdered .and I think those ALL who were involved with them that day should have been punished to the fullest ,just as Any one Not wearing a Badge would have been.Just because they had a badge Didn’t mean they could go out and deliberately KILL ANYONE for ANY REASON. That is for the courts to decide.But you know it is way too late for that . GOD will take care of All of them.And I am sorry for the sheriff dying but Bonnie and Clyde Also had a family who loved them too.And they are also Missed and Loved.So I think out of all who was involved that day there were No winners.No One Person was right in what they did on Either side of the law .But it sure is WRONG for Law Enforcement Officers on UP didn’t have to answer in their actions that day.So God will take care of each and every person .Killing IS A SIN……….no matter Who does the killing………THAT’S GODS JOB…..NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO GO KILL ANYONE FOR ANY REASON. My husband also was murdered …and we had not one law enforcement officer help us .But if it happened to one of their family it would have been so different .That sure made a big difference in how my family is when it comes to “trusting the ”LAW” whats worse telling your ”kids” to trust an officer if they ever need help.I think their the last ones they would trust.
GIVE ME A BREAK. Murdered not a chance, they had more than enough chances to give up and they made the decision not to do that they chose to shoot and kill. That is the reason for the “ambush” because they knew they would shoot and kill officers if given half a chance.
As for her being pregnant then she had opportunities to get away from Clyde and choose to remain.
Everything that happened to them is consequences of their actions.
Yes, the shoutout was excessive force to say the least. However, police are people too, with families and friends. The fact that Bonnie and Clyde demonstrated that they will kill police rather than be taken in was cause for concern by the police. So yes, it was excessive force but Bonnie and Clyde did not exactly show any remorse or love lost for policemen simply doing there job which is to track down criminals. It was their decision to be criminals. Not forced on them. Probably thought it was fun and exciting and oh well if a policemen’s life was lost too bad.
My paternal grandmother Bonnie Stringfellow was a childhood friend of Bonnie.
Did you hear any stories about what she was like?
I agree with most if not all of the comments posted with one exception
Bonnie and Clyde had choosing a life of crime no matter what reason they may or may not have had
In like manner the law enforcement who then and now choose to make their career
In law enforcement
Law enforcement being the key words here
Had a parent of a abused or murdered/wrongfully treated child had got their family together and ambushed the perpetrated of that crime then they would have all been arrested and charged and likely got the electric chair in that time
Having said that: If you vow to enforce the law the enforce it for all that the law is
They had no justification to murder those people for any reason. The law they sword to enforce is clear on murder / premeditated murder
It doesn’t allow for the officers vengeance or excuses,so they will be excemte from it
Bonnie and Clyde knew with their choose they could well be killed or spend life be hind bars
When are we going to enforce the fact that badge or no badge all are under the law
Bonnie & Clyde were criminals – but it does not excuse premeditated murder!!
Another “law enforcement violation”!! Personally, I cannot trust anyone involved with the “law”!! Victim of “sorry, wrong house”, breaking ibasement window to enter the house, “Officers of the Court” telling blatant lies, changing from court transcripts – personally notifying Judge of “Officers of the Court are making a mockery out of you personally and as well as your court” (provided proof) – (Judge was “reassigned two weeks later)!! I could go on and on!!
There is a very long list of “questionable what really happened”!!
1. Bonnie & Clyde – is this the “real” story??
2. President John F. Kennedy
3. Richard Nixon – they did get part right
4. Marilyn Monroe – Suicide or Murder?
That’s about all I can think of at the moment – I’ve been on the road for over 8 hours!!!!!
The stories are very interesting. Hope the bring out something haunted.
It is obvious from some of the comments that some responders have either been on the wrong side of the law and suffered consequences OR have encountered some “bad” officers. Fortunately, the number of “bad” officers have been greatly reduced due to internal affairs procedures and more coddling of criminals. As the wife of a former police officer, I can vouch for many occurrences of (1) a person caught in the act testifying that it wasn’t them and they were being profiled (2) a big uproar in Tampa in the 80’s over a 15 year old boy who tried to kill 2 police officers and had a very long criminal record who was shot & killed while attempting to ambush an officer in an alley (3) if you are not there, you cannot possibly understand the atmosphere at that time nor can you unequivocally state what you would do. My husband witnessed two of his fellow officers getting shot (one died at the scene but was revived and suffered shotgun pellets in his heart thus ending his career and one lost an eye thus ending his career) and when my husband had the shooter in his sights and the man’s mother stepped in front of him, my husband did not shoot and kept his self control despite having his hat shot off his head.
In the 30s, the age of gangsters, there were many such shootouts as happened to B&C between police and gangsters and between gangsters themselves. It was a common occurrence.
Let me ask you, if you had one or more family members killed by bank robbers who had the reputation of shooting when cornered, how would you feel about confronting the shooters?
B&C were criminals – they took the easy way out to get money when money was hard to come by. It is tragic that they chose that path and lost their lives so early but, in today’s atmosphere of not accepting responsibility for our actions, those repliers who defended them are only perpetuating the no consequences for your actions mindset.
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