CRIME: Lovers in a Car

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Frank Hamer is 6 ft. 2 in., weighs 200 lb. and is reputed to be one of the best bagatelle players in the U. S. He wears a big black hat and his trousers outside his boot tops, speaks little and that little in a slow, courteous drawl. In Texas his marksmanship and speed on the draw are famed. His favorite revolver he calls "Betty" and some 60 badmen have died at his hand. For 27 years before November 1932, he was a Texas ranger. "When they elected a woman governor for the second time," he explained, "I quit." One morning last week he was in Bienville Parish, La. as a special highway patrol officer. With him were three Texas officers. Sheriff Jordon of Bienville Parish and a deputy. There they met two people for whom Captain Hamer had been look-ing for the last six months. One was a red-haired Dallas girl whose maiden name was Bonnie Parker. Her distinguishing characteristics were a lightning trigger finger, a fondness for cigars, and a heart bearing the name "Roy" tattooed on her thigh. Roy Thornton was the name of her husband, but since he began serving a long sentence at Houston, Tex., her companion has been the other person for whom Captain Hamer was looking—Clyde Barrow. Clyde Barrow's youth in Dallas was devoted to stealing automobiles. In 1930 he was sent to prison, paroled in February 1932. Thereafter he still stuck to petty thievery, never got more than $3,500 at one haul, but he did begin to find sport in shooting down, without provocation, people who got in his way—filling station men, constables, plain citizens. In two years he, Bonnie Parker & gang were credited with twelve murders, including one when he staged a prison farm delivery near Crockett, Tex. (TIME, Jan. 29). An awe-struck Press magnified him into one of the "worst killers of the Southwest." One morning last week Captain Hamer, who had been following Barrow from hideout to hideout, received a tip that Parker and Barrow would soon pass down a road near Arcadia, La. He and his five companions went there, lay in ambush, all on one side of the road to avoid a crossfire. One of the Texas deputies sighted a car speeding toward them at 85 m.p.h. It slowed down to pass a truck. The officers shouted an order to halt. Barrow reached for a gun. The officers fired. The car careened into an embankment. The fusillade continued: 167 shots. 50 of which hit the occupants. Barrow was found with the door of the car half-open and a sawed-off shotgun in his hand. Bonnie Parker, wearing a red dress, was doubled up with a submachine gun in her lap. There were two other machine guns, another sawed-off automatic shotgun, six automatic pistols, a revolver, a saxophone, sheet music, a half-eaten sandwich, a bloody package of cigarets, and $507 in cash in the car. "I hated," said Captain Hamer, "to bust a cap on a woman, especially when she was sitting down, but it was her or us."

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