On May 23, 1934, Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow, infamous criminal duo, were ambushed and brutally gunned down by a posse of six police officers on Gibsland Road just outside Bienville Parish, Louisiana.
The group, four Texas police officers backed by two more from Louisiana, set up the ambush near the road and fired a combined total of 130 rounds at Bonnie and Clyde’s 1932 Ford V-8 when the couple approached their automobile early that morning.
What is not as well known is one of the men was a former friend of Bonnie’s and secretly had a crush on her.
Captain Frank Hamer began tracking the pair on February 12, 1934, in order to study their ways. A short while after, he noticed a pattern and came to the conclusion that they had a habit of circling the edges of the Midwestern states they targeted, exploiting the “state line” rule. The rule stated that officers from one jurisdiction were not authorized to pursue fugitives across their state borders.
This implied that if a police officer was ever to catch them, he had a legal obligation to be assisted at all times by representatives of the state police from which he could organize a posse and continue their pursuit. But in order to do so, first and foremost he would need some men that could recognize the notorious duo on sight, thus increasing the chance of successful capture. Knowing that the couple was always armed and dangerous, Hamer and his assistant Benjamin Gault formed a shoot-to-kill squad and demanded someone fast in thought and deed with the trigger.
With this in mind, Hamer asked Dallas County Sheriff Richard A. “Smoot” Schmid to recommend someone, and he assigned his deputy, Sheriff Bob Alcorn, an experienced gunman, and another deputy, 29-year-old Ted Hinton, under the premise that they knew Bonnie and Clyde well. Hinton did indeed.
After almost two years of continuous tracking, the four posse members from Texas, Frank Hamer, Benjamin Gault, Bob Alcorn, and Ted Hinton, led by Hamer, went to Shreveport on May 21, 1934, when they got a lead on Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. According to the lead, their stolen Ford V8 was spotted nearby, headed toward Bienville Parish.
They believed that the couple intended to meet up with one of their gang members, Henry Methvin, at his family home in Louisiana, so Frank and his posse intended to intercept them on the way. When the squad arrived, as required they asked and secured the aid of local Sheriff Jordan Henderson and his deputy, and immediately began to plan an ambush.
Hamer, now experienced and very aware of their movements, predicted they would go to Methvin’s parents’ house to meet up after they got separated from him in Shreveport. Therefore, Hamer and the full posse planned and set up a stakeout on Louisiana State Highway 154 leading to Henry Methvin’s home, where they waited for almost two days and nights.
Exhausted and running out of patience, Frank and company were considering abandoning the plan, when, concealed in the bushes near the road, they suddenly heard and saw what looked like the stolen car approaching at high speed.
Ted Hinton, the youngest in the posse, knowing her from back in the days when she worked as a waitress in Dallas, immediately recognized Bonnie Parker in the vehicle, which was slowing down as it came closer to Henry Methvin’s father and his truck placed nearby as a bait.
As soon as the car got within range and after Hinton identified the targets, the six of them emptied their machine guns into the vehicle. The first shot, fired by Bienville Parish Deputy Prentiss Oakley, killed Barrow instantly, leaving Parker screaming at her lover’s death.
According to Hinton and his official report, with Clyde dead and the car pulled over, Parker screaming inside it, the six lawmen then emptied all of their remaining ammunition into the Ford. The same statement says that between them, they used machine guns, a shotgun, and a sidearm pistol, firing a total of 130 rounds.
The car, including the two dead and fully decapitated bodies with a combined total of 52 flesh wounds, went up in smoke.
It’s believed that one-sixth of those wounds was inflicted by Bonnie Parker’s onetime admirer.
Before he was ever a deputy, postal worker Ted Hinton was a regular at Marco’s Cafe in Dallas and had a thing for the sweet and charming waitress working there. In his book, Ambush, published two years after his death in 1979, Hinton admitted that he always had a liking for the girl, sincerely believing she was seduced by Barrow and his grit. Additionally, he wrote that he was trapped between a rock and a hard place when he heard her screaming from the car and petrified during the shooting, knowing that he was killing someone very dear to him.
Although at times a gentleman, a kind customer, and literally the hand that fed the young waitress, Ted Hinton ended up being the hand that also killed her, if only by doing what he thought needed to be done. Sometimes, love is just too complicated.