Friday, June 22, 2012

Your Weekend: Gangsters in Texas?

Their journey began in 1930 after meeting at a mutual friends’ house. Bonnie was a café waitress just coming out of an abusive marriage, and Clyde was a school dropout who had just begun stealing cars and burglarizing houses. The two lovers were inseparable after that, and thus began their four year reign of terror.

Until their deaths in 1934, Bonnie and Clyde's crime spree took them across Texas, where they stole cars, robbed banks, murdered officers, broke out of prisons, and cheated death multiple times. The fugitive couple survived gunshot wounds, car crashes, and malnourishment, and Bonnie survived a car crash with gasoline burns and cuts to the bone that left her unable to walk without the support of a cane.
They became notorious; other men joined the criminal-couple including Clyde’s brother, Buck Barrow, forming the Barrow Gang.   The Barrow Gang slowly unraveled; with most of the gang getting caught and sent to years in prison. Bonnie and Clyde were not so easy to catch.
Here T. Lindsay Baker, author of Gangster Tour of Texas, shares his favorite historic crime scene, starring none other than Bonnie and Clyde -- the scene of the shooting at Lillian McBride's house in Dallas.

"It was here that around midnight on Jan. 6, 1933, Clyde Barrow stumbled into a lawmen's stakeout for another criminal, "said Baker. "He wanted to check with robber Raymond Hamilton's sister, Lillian McBride, to determine whether a radio with hidden hacksaw blades had been delivered to Raymond in the Hillsboro jail."
When Barrow approached the door to the house, he discovered lawmen inside, fired a shot into a window from a sawed-off shotgun hidden under his overcoat and then shot to death Deputy Sheriff Malcolm Davis when he ran around the house from the rear.

Barrow then ran around the house and a block and a half down an alley to meet up with Bonnie Parker at the wheel of an automobile to escape from the scene of the murder.
"The crime scene is pristine, looking today almost identical to the way that it appears in contemprary crime scene photographs," said Baker.
Crime Scene:
3111 North Winnetka Avenue (formerly 507 County Avenue), Dallas
West Dallas, just off Singleton Boulevard (formerly Eagle Ford Road).
Getting There:
Leave Interstate 30 at exit 44A and drive north 0.8 miles on Sylvan Avenue (crossing Fort Worth Avenue and West Commerce Street) to Singleton Boulevard. Turn west on Singleton and proceed four blocks to the intersection with Winnetka Avenue. Turn north (right) on Winnetka Avenue and drive a block and a half to the house, which stands on the west side of the street next to a red-brick Methodist church. The single-story wood dwelling with a porch across the front is painted white.
What You'll See:
The well-preserved former residence of Lillian McBride in West Dallas, where Clyde Barrow walked into an ambush planned for another criminal and subsequently killed Dallas deputy sheriff Malcolm Davis.
By: Madeline Loving

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