John Dillinger — public enemy


The legend of John Dillinger still burns brightly throughout the Midwest. A stick-up man with a penchant for violence, Dillinger was shot to death outside the Biograph Movie Theater in Chicago by FBI agents hellbent on stopping an unparalleled crime wave.

Johnny Depp plays Dillinger in the movie Public Enemies, based on the 2003 book by Bryan Burrough.

For the better part of 10 months (between Sept 1933 and July 1934) Dillinger and his gang terrorized Midwest towns from Michigan to South Dakota — and all points in between.
Dillinger escaped prison twice, was likely responsible for 10 murders, and pulled off numerous bank robberies. FBI agents in Chicago ultimately caught up with Dillinger by using a Romanian prostitute to feed them information on his whereabouts. 
The FBI’s John Dillinger page describes what happened next:

On Sunday, July 22, Special Agent Samuel Cowley ordered all Agents of the Chicago office to stand by for urgent duty. Anna Sage called that evening to confirm the plans, but she still did not know which theater they would attend. Therefore, Agents and policemen were sent to both theaters. At 8:30 p.m., Anna Sage, John Dillinger, and Polly Hamilton strolled into the Biograph Theater to see Clark Gable in “Manhattan Melodrama.” Special Agent Melvin Purvis phoned Cowley, who shifted the other men from the Marbro to the Biograph.

Cowley also phoned Hoover for instructions. Hoover cautioned them to wait outside rather than risk a shooting match inside the crowded theater. Each man was instructed not to unnecessarily endanger himself and was told that if Dillinger offered any resistance, it would be each man for himself.

At 10:30 p.m., Dillinger, with his two female companions on either side, walked out of the theater and turned to his left. As they walked past the doorway in which Purvis was standing, Purvis lit a cigar as a signal for the other men to close in. Dillinger quickly realized what was happening and acted by instinct. He grabbed a pistol from his right trouser pocket as he ran toward the alley. Five shots were fired from the guns of three FBI Agents. Three of the shots hit Dillinger and he fell face down on the pavement. At 10:50 p.m. on July 22, 1934, John Dillinger was pronounced dead in a little room in the Alexian Brothers Hospital.

Some Dillinger links of note:

FBI famous cases — John Dillinger

FBI case file — John Dillinger

Wikipedia — John Dillinger

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“Creepy” Alvin Karpis — Public Enemy No. 1


When gangsters flourished in the Middle America during the Great Depression, none was more cold-blooded than Alvin “Creepy” Karpis. Public Enemy No. 1, Karpis is briefly profiled in the movie of the same name, starring Johnny Depp, as John Dillinger.*

Born in Montreal on Aug. 10, 1907, Karpis grew up in Topeka, Kansas — America’s Heartland.
After he joined up with Fred and Doc Barker of the Ma Barker gang, Karpis became a notorious killer and kidnapper — on top of being a bank robber.
In all, Karpis was believed responsible for 10 killings and a half dozen kidnappings between 1931 and 1936.
In 1936, Creepy was sentenced to life for kidnapping William Hamm, of Hamm’s Brewery.
The FBI’s own head, J. Edgar Hoover took credit for arresting Karpis, although in his biography, Karpis said he was surrounded by a team of agents who alerted Hoover when the scene was secure.
Karpis ended up in Alcatraz for 25 years. When the Rock finally was shut down, Karpis spent time in a state of Washington federal prison. There ol’ “Creepy” met someone even creepier — Charlie Manson. Karpis takes credit for teaching Manson how to play guitar.
There’s some interesting Web pages about Karpis and more photos.
Here’s some links:
FBI summary of the Barker-Karpis gang’s activities
True Crime Library — story of Alvin Karpis
Google timeline search — pretty interesting way to look at Karpis biography.
AP article on Karpis 1979 death from the Toledo Blade
Photos of Karpis in Spain in late 1970s
(FYI: between now and Friday I’ll run profiles of 1930s gangsters including Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger, “Machine Gun” Kelly and others. I think there are some interesting parallels between that era and our own)
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Mongols under close watch in Azusa when Pico Rivera shooting occurred

This from the “Aging Rebel” blog, which adds some context to several of the stories we’ve reported about the triple homicide in Pico Rivera Saturday night:

Last week the Azusa, California Police Department issued a “tactical alert” that the Mongols were planning a party at a restaurant on Foothill Boulevard, old Route 66, in Azusa. When the partiers arrived they were greeted by a command center and officers from the Montebello, Azusa, Glendora, Arcadia and Monrovia Police departments. The Mongols and friends were also surveilled by a Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department helicopter.

A source has alleged that ATF Case Agent John Ciccone and another well known “outlaw motorcycle gang investigator” named Chris Cervantes both attended the event with their special spy cameras. Cervantes works for the Montebello police and his hobbies include the Mongols.

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Pico Rivera shooting leaves 3 dead, 7 wounded

29327-FALCONES-thumb-300x400-29326.jpgPICO RIVERA — Detectives tried to make sense Sunday of a pizza parlor shooting that left three men dead and seven people wounded during a charity fund-raiser.
The names of those killed were not released Sunday evening pending notification of family members, coroner’s officials said. Two of the dead men were cousins.
The attack occurred about 6:45 p.m. on Saturday in front of Falcone’s Pizza, at 9247 Slauson Ave.
Officials believe the Old School Riders motorcycle club was holding a charity event in the eatery’s parking lot when a male Hispanic adult opened fire.
“(He was) firing wildly into the crowd,” said Detective Joe Sheehy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, which is investigating the shooting.
The gunman was last seen getting into the passenger side of a dark-colored vehicle with a waiting driver, Sheehy said. The car sped away west on Slauson Avenue.
No further description of the gunman was available Sunday.
The three deceased victims were pronounced dead at the scene. Additionally, four men and three women were hospitalized, but all were expected to survive their injuries, Sheehy said.
About a dozen children were present when the shooting occurred, Sheehy said. “It was very lucky no kids were hit.”
It was unclear Sunday what motivated the attack, which appeared to be unprovoked, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Byron Ward said in a written statement.
Sheehy declined to say if additional gunmen may have been involved.
“That’s something we’re going to have to hold back for right now,” he said.
Officials said detectives were sifting through footage on surveillance tapes from nearby businesses. About 40 witnesses inside the pizza parlor had been interviewed Saturday night.
Sheehy said the Old School Riders has no gang affiliation, and Falcone’s Pizza is not a gang hangout.
While some witnesses said the shooting may have involved members of the Mongols motorcycle gang, Sheehy said he did not believe anyone attending the party Saturday was a Mongol.
“If this was (an attack) against Mongols, it was definitely a case of mistaken identity,” Sheehy said.
“Friends, family members, that’s who was attending this,” he added. “That’s about all it is.”
Falcone’s Pizza was open for business Sunday, but an on-duty manager declined to comment. A memorial of flowers and candles stood in the parking lot.
A stray bullet Saturday had pierced the window in front of the playground area of a nearby McDonald’s restaurant, but no one was injured. By Sunday, the window had been replaced and the business was also open.
Rey Castillo, 52, of Highland Park said his daughter’s boyfriend, Garret Dandini, and Dandini’s cousin, Tony Dandini, were among the dead.
He said the two were members of the Old School Riders club — which he described as a group of motorcyclists who enjoy riding together and raising money for charity.
“The club’s just family and friends,” Castillo said. “All they want to do is ride together and have fun.”
Attempts to reach the Old School Riders were unsuccessful Sunday.
The group’s Web site,, described its members as “ordinary people who enjoy the freedom of riding.”
“No one represents any club,” a statement on the site read. “We are just friends and family who gather together and ride.”
A flyer on the Web site advertised Saturday’s event as “Bike Night,” and indicated there would be awards for best motorcycles, a raffle and security.
Sheehy said detectives needed witnesses to step forward and identify suspects.
“We’d like to ask for the public’s assistance in helping solve this one,” he said.

PHOTO: A memorial of candles and flowers stood in the parking lot of Falcone’s Pizza, 9247 Slauson Ave., in Pico Rivera Sunday, June 28, 2009. Three people were killed and seven others wounded at the pizza parlor the previous evening.

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Burglary suspects jailed in Pasadena

PASADENA — Three local men and a teenage boy were arrested on suspicion of burglary Saturday with the help of an observant neighbor, police said.
Marquise Montgomery, 18, Antonio Dismuke, 18, Lance Black, 20, and a 17-year-old boy were booked on suspicion of burglary, Pasadena police Lt. Tracey Ibarra said.
The incident began about 1:50 p.m. when someone called police from the 2000 of Dudley Street to report three suspicious looking men going into a neighbors backyard, the lieutenant said.
The men had already left the neighborhood in a blue Oldsmobile Cutlass when officers arrived, but the witness gave a description of the car and police stopped on Villa Street near Martelo Avenue, Ibarra said.
The men and boy were allegedly found with property stolen from a home on Dudley Street and arrested, she added.
Police are investigating the possibility the men may be responsible for more crimes, as Pasadena has recently seen an increase in daytime burglaries, Ibarra said.
The lieutenant advised residents to report suspicious people or solicitors in their neighborhoods to police.
According to court records, the adult suspects are being held in lieu of $50,000 bail each. Initial court dates for the men were not available Sunday.

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UPDATED: Mother arrested in connection with shooting, daughter placed in protective custody

UPDATE: Sheriff’s officials confirmed Sunday that this shooting is apparently an extension of the ongoing violence between the Bassett Grande and Puente 13 street gangs. The suspect in the shooting, a juvenile, is believed to be a member of Puente 13, authorities said, while the wounded man, estimated to be in his 20s, is believed to be a member of Bassett Grande.

29316-LP shooting 6-26-09-thumb-300x224-29315.jpgLA PUENTE — A teenage girl who allegedly drove a car with her young daughter in the back as a teenage boy passenger carried out a drive-by shooting was in jail Saturday, authorities said.
The mother was initially detained as officials examined her involvement in the shooting and was ultimately booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon along with the male suspect, sheriff’s officials said.
The girl was taken into protective custody, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Steven Katz said. She appeared to be a toddler.
The shooting occurred about 7 p.m. Friday in the 13800 block of Amar Road.
A Latino man estimated to be in his 20s was airlifted to the hospital in critical condition, sheriff’s and fire officials said.
Though officials initially reported the shooting was not a drive-by, Katz said Saturday that “Shots were fired from a (passing) vehicle at pedestrians.”
Several other people who may have been with the wounded man when he was shot had not been located Saturday, he added.
Due to their age, the suspects’ names were not released, Katz said, and a their ages and cities of residency were unavailable Saturday. The relationship between the male and female suspects was also unclear.
The incident was believed to be gang-related, Katz said, and may have been related to ongoing violence between the Bassett Grande and Puente 13 street gangs. The gang affiliations of those involved in the shooting were not available Saturday.
The female suspect crashed the car into a curb and pole just after the shooting, but no one was seriously injured in the crash, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Gerard Velona said.
The alleged shooter fled on foot but was quickly captured, he addded. A gun was located in a nearby yard.
The attack was the 26th La Puente-area shooting reported this year, and the 6th reported this month.
About a dozen of this year’s shootings are believed to be connected to the Bassett Grande street gang, which officials said is trying to exploit perceived weakening of the Puente 13 street gang and expand its territory.

See original posting for more information.

PHOTO: Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials investigate the scene of Friday’s shooting in the 13800 block of Amar Road.

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Pomona girl run over by neighbor’s car

POMONA — Officials rushed a 1-year-old girl to the hospital in critical condition Friday after she was run over by a neighbor’s car.
Police received 9-1-1 calls shortly after 2 p.m. reporting a child had been run over by a car in the 1300 block of Laurel Avenue, Pomona police Sgt. Patrick O’Malley said in a written statement.
“Pomona police officers responded and located the child in the arms of family members,” the statement said.
Authorities flew the injured girl by helicopter to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, O’Malley said.
The girl’s neighbor, a 45-year-old woman, apparently ran over the girl accidentally in her Toyota Corolla, police said.
“The preliminary investigation indicates the small child walked out of the garage at the same time the neighbor was backing their vehicle out of he driveway,” according to the police statement.
Police did not suspect drugs or alcohol were involved.

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Man wounded, suspect jailed in La Puente shooting

LA PUENTE – A man was flown to the hospital in critical condition and a suspect was behind bars Friday after an apparent gang-related shooting, authorities said. 
  The incident occurred about 7 p.m. in front of Sylvia’s Beauty Salon in the 13800 block of Amar Road, just east of Puente Avenue, sheriff’s officials said. 
  The alleged attacker fled the scene in a car driven by a woman and with a small child in the back seat, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Gerard Velona said. The car crashed only blocks away. 
  Officials declined to release the name of the suspect pending further investigation by sheriff’s gang investigators, Velona said. He was described only as a Latino man. 
  “He appears to have gang ties,” the sergeant said, though it was not clear what gang he was associated with. 
  It was not known if the wounded man had gang ties, he added. Sheriff’s and fire officials initially described the wounded man only as Latino and estimated to be in his 20s. 
  Velona declined to release the circumstances of the shooting, but said it was not a drive-by. 
  Frank Galtman, 20, of Montebello said he was driving on Ardilla Avenue, just south of the shooting scene, when he saw a car make an abrupt right turn onto Homeward Street and crash into a curb. 
 A man with a gun got out of the car and ran, Galtman said. 
 “He was tucking (the gun) away in his waist,” he said. 
  The woman driver got out of the car and immediately began saying, “My baby, my baby,” he said. 
  A woman and toddler girl were seated in the back of a patrol car near the crashed car late Friday. 
  Velona said the woman had not been arrested, and officials were investigating her connection to the shooting. 
 The male suspect was captured in the area by deputies, Velona said, and a gun was found in a backyard near where the car crashed. 
  Friday’s shooting came on the heels of a spate of violence in the La Puente area this month. 
  The shooting was the 26th handled by the sheriff’s Industry Station – which patrols Industry, La Puente, and surrounding unincorporated areas such as Bassett and Valinda – this year. 
  On June 5, an 18-year-old man was shot and wounded on Amar Road and Ardilla Avenue, just yards from the scene of Friday’s shooting, officials said. 
  On Tuesday, four men were arrested in connection with a drive-by shooting in the 800 block of Meeker Street in La Puente. 
  On Sunday, 24-year-old Michael Gudiel was killed in an alleged gang-related shooting in the 13900 block of Proctor Avenue in Bassett. 
  On June 18, an unidentified man was critically wounded and another slightly in a drive-by shooting near the intersection of Puente Avenue and Amar Road in West Valinda. The gunman shouted out the name of a Baldwin Park street gang, “East Side Bolen,” before opening fire. 
  About four hours later, Carlos Yanez, 18, of Valinda was killed and his teenage friend was wounded in a drive-by shooting on Griffiths Avenue near Fellowship Street in Valinda. Stray bullets from the incident struck a home and nearly hit toddlers playing inside, witnesses said. 
  On June 6, 15-year-old Ivan Sanchez of La Puente was fatally shot in a shooting authorities believe was gang-related drive-by shooting on Maplegrove Street, just west of Hacienda Boulevard. 

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