Monday, February 20, 2017

John Dillinger

John Herbert Dillinger, Jr. (June 22, 1903 – July 22, 1934) was an American bank robber. 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.

His gang robbed two dozen banks and four police stations. Dillinger escaped from jail twice and became a driving reason for the creation of the FBI. In the heyday of the Depression-era outlaw, Dillinger was the most notorious of them all. Dillinger is known to have participated with The Dillinger Gang in twelve separate bank robberies between June 1933 and June 1934.

Dillinger was imprisoned at the Crown Point jail after committing a robbery at a bank in East Chicago on January 15, 1934. Police boasted to area newspapers that the Crown Point jail was escape-proof and posted extra guards to make sure.

Dillinger escaped on March 3 using a fake gun carved with a razor made from some shelving in his cell.

John Dillinger's Wooden Gun. Sold at Heritage Auction Galleries for $19,120.00
Three days after Dillinger's escape from Crown Point, he robbed a bank in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

By July 1934, Dillinger had dropped out of sight, and federal agents had no solid leads. He had drifted into Chicago where he went under the alias of Jimmy Lawrence, a petty criminal who bore a close resemblance to him. Division of Investigations chief J. Edgar Hoover created a special task force headquartered in Chicago to locate Dillinger. On July 21 a madam from a brothel in Gary, Indiana, Ana Cumpănaş, also known as Anna Sage, contacted the police.

She was a Romanian immigrant threatened with deportation and offered the federal agency information on Dillinger in exchange for their help in preventing her deportation.
Dillinger attended the film Manhattan Melodrama at the Biograph Theater in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. Dillinger was with Ana Cumpănaş. (Who was wearing a red dress to identify herself to agents.)

When the movie let out, Special Agent Melvin Purvis stood by the front door and signaled Dillinger's exit by lighting a cigar.
Both he and the other agents reported that Dillinger turned his head and looked directly at the agent as he walked by, glanced across the street, then moved ahead of his female companions, reached into his pocket and ran toward a nearby alley.

Dillinger ignored a command to surrender, then headed for the alley. Agents already had the alley closed off. Agents Cowley, Charles Winstead, and Herman "Ed" Hollis opened fire, firing five shots. Dillinger was hit from behind and he fell face first to the ground.

Dillinger was struck three times, with two bullets entering the chest, one nicking his heart, and the fatal shot, which entered the back of his neck and exited just under his right eye.