Eighty years after their Depression-era robbery and murder spree captivated the country, Bonnie and Clyde continue to fascinate crime and history buffs.
All this interest sparks the hope of a Missouri family selling a pair of rare weapons believed to have been seized from the outlaw couple’s Joplin hideout in 1933. The weapons are owned by the great-grandchildren of a Tulsa, Okla., police detective who was given them by a police officer involved in the April 13, 1933 raid. The .45-caliber , fully automatic Thompson submachine gun — better known as a Tommy gun — and 1897 Winchester 12-gauge shotgun had spent the past 40 years in relative historical obscurity, stored in a Springfield police museum that didn’t acknowledge the cache’s pop culture significance.
One of the owners, a great-grandson also named Mark Lairmore, said the family wants to turn the weapons over to “someone with an appreciation of antique guns and the history behind these guns.” The original Mark Lairmore’s son and grandson have both died, severing any sentimental connection to the items, he said.
Two law enforcement officers died during a shootout at the Joplin apartment where the couple and members of their gang were holed up, but all the members of the Clyde Barrow gang escaped.
The police raid also yielded a camera that produced widely distributed photos of the criminal lovebirds, cementing the image of Bonnie Elizabeth Parker as Barrow’s cigar-chomping, gun-toting moll. Those photos, first published in the Joplin Globe newspaper, were the first public depictions of the couple. Both were killed little more than a year later by pursuing police in rural Louisiana.