Gangsters Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow are notorious for robbing and killing several people during the Great Depression in the United States. On May 23, 1934, Bonnie and Clyde died in a spectacular manner after being ambushed by lawmen who fired hundreds of shots into their car. Their bodies were riddled with bullets, and photos of the chilling Bonnie and Clyde death scene demonstrate how committed authorities were to stopping the pair from killing anyone else.
Bonnie and Clyde met in Texas in 1930 when she was 19 and he was 21. At the time, Bonnie was married to a man who was in prison for murder. Shortly after they met, Clyde was arrested for burglary and car theft and sent to jail. Bonnie came to the rescue by smuggling a gun into the prison and helping Clyde escape. He was caught but eventually released on parole. That's when the couple's crime spree began.
While they're most known for robbing banks, they also targeted privately owned stores and rural gas stations. They had no qualms about killing anyone who got in their way. It's believed they murdered at least 13 people, several of them police officers. Bonnie and Clyde also had many associates, and the gang made headlines for their brazen robberies. As photos of Bonnie and Clyde's death show, their notoriety made them a serious target for local authorities. And it wasn't just the car they were in that sustained bullets; Bonnie and Clyde's bodies were so riddled with bullets that it's said embalming fluid ran straight out of them.
Bonnie and Clyde were active in their criminal escapades during what has become known as the "Public Enemy Era" of the United States. Frank J. Loesch, chairman of the Chicago Crime Commission during the 1930s coined the term to refer to the slew of gangsters and other criminals whose enterprises were flourishing during the decade. These criminal ranks included the likes of Al Capone, Pretty Boy Floyd, Machine Gun Kelly, Ma Barker, John Dillinger, and – of course – Bonnie and Clyde. Because of this group's extralegal antics, Loesch created a list of "public enemies"; and the person at the top became "Public Enemy Number 1."
On May 23, 1934, Bonnie & Clyde's reign of terror came to an end. Several lawman from Texas and Louisiana had set up an ambush by hiding in the bushes on a Louisiana back road. When Clyde, driving a stolen 1934 Ford Deluxe, stopped to help someone with a broken-down truck on a road in Louisiana, the lawmen opened fire and shot over 150 rounds into the vehicle. The pair died almost instantly.
The vehicle was riddled with bullets, but the law posse's leader, Frank Hamer, wanted to be sure the duo was dead. So, after the barrage of bullets ceased, he approached the vehicle and fired several more shots into Bonnie's corpse. She was still holding a half-eaten sandwich in her hands.
When people heard that the pair had died, a crowd gathered at the scene. Many took souvenirs, such as hair and pieces of clothing. According to the coroner, Clyde was struck by 17 bullets, while Bonnie was hit by 26. However, there may have been even more holes in their bodies than the coroner reported. The undertaker, C.B. Bailey, was tasked with preparing the bodies for burial. For his part, Bailey had a difficult time embalming them because they had so many holes in their bodies, and the embalming fluid kept leaking out.
An undertaker named Dillard Darby assisted in preparing Bonnie and Clyde's bodies for burial. Darby had a personal connection to Clyde, who had kidnapped him the previous year. Clyde had stolen Darby's car, and Darby had attempted to retrieve it. Bonnie had been delighted to discover that Darby was an undertaker and had requested he handle all the gang's mortuary needs should they ever require his assistance. When Bonnie and Clyde released Darby, they gave him $5 and had no idea that he would be responsible for taking care of their corpses. Bonnie and Clyde had two separate funerals held in two different funeral homes. Thousands of people attended each one of their funerals.