Bonnie & Clyde Get Into Shootout in Joplin: April 13, 1933

Notorious criminals Bonnie & Clyde got into a shootout in Joplin on this date in 1933.

The infamous duo, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, left a significant mark on the history of Joplin, Missouri, during the early 1930s. Known for their string of robberies and daring escapes, Bonnie and Clyde became figures of public fascination and fear during the Great Depression.

In April 1933, Bonnie and Clyde, along with members of their gang, sought temporary refuge in an apartment over a garage in Joplin. They hoped to lay low, avoiding the increasingly fervent manhunt that followed their crime spree across several states. However, their stay in Joplin would prove to be anything but quiet.

The group’s presence in the neighborhood did not go unnoticed. Their loud, boisterous behavior, coupled with the flashy cars and frequent coming and going, aroused the suspicions of the locals. After just two weeks, on April, 12, law enforcement officers approached the apartment with the intent to investigate. What ensued was a violent shootout between the police and the gang members. Clyde Barrow immediately began opening fire when he became aware of the police presence, and a deadly gun battle ensued. Two officers were killed in the firefight, which allowed Bonnie and Clyde to escape once again, but not without consequence.

During their hurried departure, they left behind several items that would become key in shaping their public image: a camera with undeveloped films and several personal belongings. The photographs, once developed and circulated, gave the public a rare glimpse into the lives of America’s most notorious criminals—images of Bonnie with a cigar in her mouth and Clyde with his gun, which sensationalized their outlaw status and captivated the American public.

The Joplin shootout significantly escalated the national response to Bonnie and Clyde. Law enforcement agencies across multiple states intensified their efforts to capture the duo. This incident not only marked a pivotal moment in their criminal careers but also led to increased police coordination that would eventually culminate in their demise in May 1934. The events in Joplin remain a vivid chapter in the tumultuous saga of Bonnie and Clyde, highlighting the lethal mix of youth, love, and crime during the hardest times of the Great Depression.