Friday, July 20, 2012


7/20/1931 - On the run from a shootout in the downtown Bowling Green, Ohio, in which his partner in crime, Bill Miller is killed, and he will gun down Officer Ralph Castner and wound the city's police chief, future Public Enemy #1, Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd hides out in turf he is familiar with, the criminal underground of Kansas City, Missouri.
Floyd Rap Sheet


Availing himself of the criminal underground services of Kansas City crime boss John Lazia and local kingpin Democrat politician, Thomas J. Pendergast (who will launch the career of future president, Harry Truman), Floyd is given shelter in a two-story brick building at 1039 Independence Avenue ... the bottom floor occupied by the Lusco-Noto Flower Shop, while a bootlegging operation ran out of the top floor ... Floyd is assigned a curtain partitioned "room" on the second floor.
Image result for john lazia
Unaware that anyone other than bootleggers occupy the upper floor, Kansas City police officers (led by Lt. E. L. Nelson) and Prohibition agents (Glenn Havens, Joe Anderson, and Curtis Burks) climb the stairway to the second floor, and suddenly crash through the door and into a dimly lit room smelling of whiskey, completely surprising nine men seated around a table.  "It's a raid, boys!  Put 'em up!" Havens orders, and the men seemingly do as requested (helped by the example of a man who protests, and is instantly beaten about the head with a pistol) ... at first.
Image result for agent curtis burks

Calm despite being surrounded by cops with drawn guns, as officers start searching the boxes in the room for contraband, Floyd slowly rises from the table and acts like he is drunk, stumbling and mumbling to himself, and about to collapse on the floor.  Nothing but a ruse, as a voice of one of the agents proclaims, "Hey, you fellas know who this is? It's that Pretty Boy character," the outlaw throws a whiskey bottle across the room and on to a nearby bed ... and as if watching a volley in a tennis match, all the heads in the room turn for a split second and look at the bed.  A mistake of taking their eyes off Floyd even for a moment, with rattlesnake speed the desperado draws two .45 automatics and begin firing.  An actual "shoot-out-the-lights" moment in which the room goes dark in the lead melee that follows, Floyd empties both guns forward, bulls his way through two men trying to grab him, leaps down the stairs and escapes through a crowd beginning to gather in the street, exiting the area in a nearby parked Plymouth.
Newspaper - Article from Kansas City Journal, dated July 21, 1931 - Federal Raider Tells of Battle in Dark Room
Next Day Headlines

Vanishing into Oklahoma's Cookson Hills (a rugged area that had previously sheltered the likes of Jesse James, Belle Starr, the Dalton brothers, and Bill Doolin), the outlaw leaves chaos behind him in Kansas City ... 23-year-old bootlegging suspect Joe Careo is cut down by a law enforcement shotgun blast, 37-year-old bootlegging suspect Joseph Lusco is sent to a local hospital with a fractured skull, officer Joe Anderson suffers a glancing bullet wound to his stomach, detective Clarence Reedy is wounded in the neck, 36-year-old Special Agent is mortally wounded by a round that holes his stomach, and outside, a 23-year-old innocent bystander named M. P. Wilson, from Bessemer, Alabama dies from another bulleted belly.
Wanted Poster

Lazia and Pendergast not happy at having one of their operations shot up, Floyd now has the criminal underworld looking for him, along with local and Federal authorities ... trifecta of fate awaiting ... the outlaw has 3 years, 3 months, and 3 days left to live ... a time period in which he is not done killing cops!
Image result for pretty boy floyd dead
Fingerprinting Dead Floyd

No comments:

Post a Comment