Monday, May 21, 2012

John Dillinger in court, Crown Point, Indiana, 1934

John Herbert Dillinger, Jr. (June 22, 1903 – July 22, 1934) was an American bank robber of German descent in the Depression-era United States. He was charged with, but never convicted of, the murder of an East Chicago, Indiana police officer during a shoot-out. This was his only alleged homicide, and was likely not his action. His gang robbed two dozen banks and four police stations. Dillinger escaped from jail twice.

In 1933–34, seen in retrospect as the heyday of the Depression-era outlaw, Dillinger was the most notorious of all, standing out even among more violent criminals such as Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Bonnie and Clyde. Media reports were spiced with exaggerated accounts of Dillinger's bravado and daring and his colorful personality. The government demanded federal action, and J. Edgar Hoover developed a more sophisticated Federal Bureau of Investigation as a weapon against organized crime and used Dillinger and his gang as his campaign platform to launch the FBI.

After evading police in four states for almost a year, Dillinger was wounded and returned to his father's home to recover. He returned to Chicago in July 1934 and met his end at the hands of police and federal agents who were informed of his whereabouts by Ana Cumpănaş (the owner of the brothel where Dillinger sought refuge at the time). On July 22, the police and Division of Investigation closed in on the Biograph Theater. Federal agents, led by Melvin Purvis, moved to arrest him as he left the theater. He pulled a weapon and attempted to flee but was shot three (four according to some historians) times and killed. (Wikipedia)








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