Wednesday, January 9, 2013


1/2/1932 - Tragedy strikes outside of Brookline, Missouri when a group of ill prepared lawmen launch a raid on the family farm of the Young brothers, criminals with records for burglary, theft, stealing cars and murder.

                                                   The Young farmhouse

Believing that sisters Lorena and Vinita Young's attempt to sell a stolen car in the town of Springfield is evidence that their brothers might be in the area, Greene County Sheriff Marcell Hendrix puts together a small posse of nine police officers and one civilian and at 3:30 in the afternoon sets off for the Young Farm in two cars, armed with only pistols, limited ammunition, and a tear gas gun with two shells.  Fanning out around the farm house believed to be housing outlaw brothers Harry and Jennings Young, Hendrix's raiding party consists of Deputy Wiley Mashburn, Deputy Ollie Crosswhite, Springfield Chief Detective Tony Oliver, Officer Sid Meadows, Officer Charlie Houser, Officer Ben Bilyeu, Officer Owen Brown, Officer Virgil Johnson, Officer Frank Pike, and a local named R.G. Wegman ... none are prepared for the carnage that is about to come their way.

                                           Harry                         Jennings

Investigating whether the house is occupied or not, after knocking, shouting, and trying doors has provided no results, Hendrix and Mashburn kick in the kitchen door ... and are almost instantly greeted by two shotgun blasts fired from close range by Harry, one that hits Hendrix in the right shoulder and chest, killing the sheriff, and the other that blasts off most of the left side of Mashburn's face, mortally wounding the deputy.

                                     Kitchen door where Hendrix and
                                               Mashburn perished

Gun battle ... in the shooting that ensues as Johnson, Bilyeu, and Wegman return to town for help and more bullets (leaving in a hail of fire that blows out the windows of the car they are driving and wounding Johnson and Pike), the pistols of the remaining lawmen prove no match for the marksmanship of Jennings, armed with a Remington repeating rifle, or for Harry's Winchester 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun.  Seeking a target, Officer Houser is felled by a slug that hits him in the forehead as he peeks out from behind the tree he was hiding behind.  Officer Meadows suffers a similar fate when he is felled by a rifle round that plows through his brain just above his right eye.  Wounded by multiple shotgun pellets and a bullet through the shoulder, Detective Oliver stumbles into the open and is permanently put down by a bullet that destroys both his lungs.  Out of ammo, Officers Pike and Brown flee the scene and only Deputy Crosswhite remains to continue the fight ... but not for long.  Emptying his weapon into a window in the house, Crosswhite is eventually taken out too ... occupied by the rifle fire of Jennings, he is brutally killed when Harry creeps up behind him and shots him in the head from two feet away with his shotgun.

                                               Where Crosswhite was killed

                                       The dead

No targets remaining alive, the brothers take weapons and money from the bodies scattered about the house, quickly pack bags, and then flee into the night ... just as help finally arrives from town.  The deaths are the worst single killing of lawmen in the 20th century and will not be topped until sixty New York City and Port Authority police officers perish in the utter madness of the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001.  As for the killer brothers, Harry and Jennings Young have all of three short days left to live before fatal police retribution finds them. 

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