The Barrow Gang is reported to have been involved in the deaths of a total of nine law officers during the two year period that they were at large. This post concerns the first four individuals and we hope to cover the remainder of them as time permits.
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The first officer killed was Oklahoma deputy Eugene Clyde Moore (31) of Atoka, Oklahoma. Deputy Moore was killed on August 5, 1932. The incident occurred at an outdoor bandstand in Stringtown, Oklahoma. Bonnie Parker was said to have been there with Barrow and Hamilton. According to one account, Barrow and Hamilton had gotten into a minor altercation, possibly attracting the attention of the lawmen. According to other published accounts, Deputy Moore and Sheriff C. G. Maxwell approached a vehicle with two men inside (later identified as Clyde Barrow and Ray Hamilton) holding an open container of whiskey. The officers attempted to arrest the individual who opened fire on the officers. Sheriff Maxwell was wounded and Deputy Moore was killed with a shot to the forehead. Deputy Moore was married and was survived by his wife and three children. He was interred in the Rose Hill Cemetery, Calera, Bryan County, Oklahoma.
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The second law enforcement officer killed by the Barrow Gang was Tarrant County Deputy Sheriff Malcolm Simmons Davis (51) who died on January 6, 1933 after being shot by Clyde Barrow. He was a Tarrant County deputy but was involved in a stakeout at 3111 N. Winetka Ave. (the home of Barrow’s aunt Lillie McBride) in Dallas, Texas looking for an individual named Odell Chandler. Chandler was wanted in connection with a bank robbery in Grapevine that had occurred one week earlier, according to an article from the Brownsville Herald.
According to the above newspaper article, a small coupe had passed slowly by the house several times before stopping. A man exited the car carrying a sawed off shotgun and walked up to the front porch. A woman inside the house had previously been contacted by officers and instructed to let the visitor in, and she opened the door to do so. There were around six more officers inside. Almost instantaneously, the visitor apparently spotted the officers and began firing through a window and his fire was returned by officers. Deputy Davis and another officer had been at the back door and ran around the house in response to the gunfire. A second person in the car also began firing at the officers. Deputy Davis was hit twice by shotgun blasts and is believed to have died instantly. The man on the porch ran back and jumped in the car which sped away. The shooter on the front porch was later identified as Clyde Barrow. The shooter from the car was later identified as W. D. Jones. Jones was later arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to fifteen years in prison for his role in the shooting. In a twenty-seven page statement, Jones denied taking part in the shooting and said that the purpose of the visit was to obtain information about Ray Hamilton who was in jail in Hillsboro, Texas. Jones stated that Bonnie Parker was also in the car and that she fired a pistol several times at the officers.
Deputy Davis was single at the time of his death. His remains were released to a Fort Worth funeral home and he was buried in Grapevine Cemetery, Grapevine, Tarrant County, Texas.
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The third and fourth law officers to be killed by the Barrow Gang were Harry L. McGinnis (53) and John Wesley “Wes” Harryman (42) of Joplin, Missouri three months later on April 13, 1933. The two officers, along with several others, had gone to a newly constructed apartment to investigate suspected bootleggers.
According to an article in the Joplin (Missouri) Globe, Buck Barrow had just been pardoned from prison and had made arrangements with his wife Blanche to meet him along with his brother Clyde and Bonnie Parker. The apartment was located at 34th and Oak Ridge Drive in Joplin. About two weeks earlier, a prospective tenant (presumably one of the gang) had approached the landlord, saying he was an engineer from Minnesota and wanted to rent the apartment. The next two weeks passed uneventfully until a patrol car stopped at the apartment. Realizing that the police had somehow found them, the Barrow gang (Buck, Blanche, Clyde, Bonnie and W. D. Jones) opened fire on them. Harryman died at the scene and McGinnis died some time later. The other three officers, Walter Grammar, George Kahler of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Thomas DeGraff, a detective with the Joplin Police Department all survived. The gang escaped in their stolen 1932 Ford, but not without some difficulty, since the police car was partially blocking the garage exit. They first tried to roll the police car out of the way. Unable to do that, they rammed it with their Ford until they had created a gap wide enough that they could get away.
The apartment was described as having more than a dozen and a half windows that provided almost a 360 degree view of the outside, which adds to the understanding of how the gang was able to see the oncoming officers.
In their haste, the gang left behind Buck’s pardon documents, guns, jewelry and a camera and two rolls of unprocessed film. When the film was developed, the images contained the now famous poses of Bonnie Parker with a shotgun and chewing a cigar. The photos were later developed and published in newspapers. They were supposedly hated by Bonnie.
Detective McGinnis was a widower, having survived his wife. He was buried in Deepwood Cemetery, Nevada, Vernon County, Missouri. Constable Harryman was survived by his wife and was buried in Saginaw Cemetery, Saginaw, Newton County, Missouri.
The list of law officers who were victims of the gang is as follows:
Eugene Moore, Atoka, OK, 8/5/1932
Malcolm Davis, Dallas, TX 1/6/1933
Harry McGinnis, Joplin, MO 4/13/1933
Wes Harryman, Joplin, MO 4/13/1933
Henry D. Humphrey, Alma, AR 6/26/1933
Major Crowson, Huntsville, TX 1/16/1934
E. B. Wheeler, Grapevine, TX 4/1/1934
H. D. Murphy, Grapevine, TX 4/1/1934
Cal Campbell, Commerce, OK, 4/6/1934
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