May 23, 1934 | Deputy Ted Hinton

 
 

Deputy Ted Hinton was the youngest member of the six-man posse that ambushed and killed the notorious criminal pair, Bonnie & Clyde. He and the other members of the posse had mostly remained silent about the details of that morning. But 43 years later, in 1977, Hinton presented his side of the event in a book called Ambush. Published in 1979, two years after his death, it contains a vivid description of those blazing 12 seconds on a back road in Louisiana:

I remember the next moments so clearly, it seems I am living them right now. All of us are concealed, but the car moving toward us is in view now, at full speed, the only way Clyde ever drove. The car has descended the hill and is approaching our position at the crest of the long and slowly rising incline. He is slowing: his eyes are on the truck, on the jacked-up right front of the truck in the middle of the road. He will drive in front of it, or he will come into the lane nearer to me. His eyes are still on the truck.

He has pulled even with the engine part of the parked truck, 20 feet in front of me, and he is in my gun’s sight, though the car is still moving. Suddenly, Alcorn’s [Ted’s partner] deep bellow, ‘HALT!’ arouses him. Alongside him Bonnie screams, and I fire and everyone fires, and in the awful hell and noise Clyde is reaching for a weapon, the wheels are digging into the gravel as he makes a start to get away.

My B.A.R. [Browning Automatic Rifle] spits out 20 shots in an instant, and a drumbeat of shells knife through the steel body of the car, and glass is shattering. For a fleeting instant, the car seems to melt and hang in a kind of eerie and animated suspension, trying to move forward, spitting gravel at the wheels, but unable to break through the shield of withering fire.*

Hinton, who was from the same West Dallas neighborhood as Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, had only been a deputy sheriff with Dallas County (TX) Sheriff’s Department for two years when he was assigned to help track down the infamous duo. The Deputy was also said to have a crush on Bonnie from the days when she was a waitress at Marco’s Café in Dallas and he was one of her customers. Thirteen murders were attributed to Bonnie & Clyde at the time of their death—nine of those murdered were law enforcement officers. Hinton writes that at their death, “I did not feel anything, least of all rejoicing.

 

*Ted Hinton’s account of the events leading up to the ambush contradicts that of other posse members, but his description of the actual ambush, as told to Larry Groves, captures the moment better than any other.