On This Day: Infamous Criminals Bonnie and Clyde Were Killed in 1934

by Matthew Wilson

Infamous criminals Bonnie and Clyde reached the end of the line on this day in 1934. The couple died in a shootout with the police, bringing their crime spree to an end.

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were a match made in heaven, or hell depending on who you asked. The two met when Bonnie was only 19. She was married at the time to another man, who was serving time for murder. Likewise, Bonnie was apparently attracted to bad boys because Clyde soon found himself in jail for robbery.

They quickly struck up a relationship when Bonnie visited him every day and even helped him escape by smuggling a gun into jail. Of course, the law caught up to Clyde. So, the couple’s life of crime didn’t begin in earnest until Clyde made parole in 1932.

They would carve a place for themselves in the history books, becoming one of the most infamous criminal double-acts of the 20th century. They started off by stealing a car and going on a robbery spree, cut short by the law. This time Bonnie was sent to the slammer for a short while. Released in mid-1932, Bonnie rejoined Clyde, and they spent the next two years robbing banks.

Bonnie And Clyde Died In A Standoff

Bonnie and Clyde soon terrorized five states, robbing a number of banks and stores. They recruited several of Barrow’s associates in their crime spree. Moving across the South, they hit locations in Texas, Missouri, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.

The duo formed a conflicting figure in American mythology. Some viewed them as folk heroes striking back against the rich in a Depression-Era. Their fame grew as they posed for playful photos, often taunting the police. They were Romeo and Juliet if the two Shakespearean characters went rogue. But Bonnie and Clyde were also cold-blooded killers. In total, they killed 13 people, nine of which were police officers.

But soon their luck ran out. Police circled in on the couple, and their associates had either been arrested or killed. In early 1934, they staged a jailbreak for one of their associates at the Eastham Prison Farm in Texas. It ended in a shootout and more violence.

Law enforcement hired a special investigator to track down the duo and put a stop to them. On May 23rd, 1934, Texas police ambushed the couple on a back road. Outgunned, both Bonnie and Clyde quickly succumbed to a hail of gunfire. It put an end to their crime reign after two short years.

But Bonnie and Clyde continue to live on in pop culture. Over the years, there have been several films made about the two, portraying them as romantic lovers.