CRIME FILE - Famous criminal:
The first to be apprehended was Arthur ‘Doc’ Barker, who was captured on 8 January 1935 by FBI hero, Melvin Purvis himself. Despite being taken alive, Doc was eventually sent to Alcatraz where he was shot and killed by guards as he attempted to escape from the infamous San Francisco prison.
On 16 January 1935, agents then tracked down Ma and favourite son Fred when they were renting a cottage in Lake Weir, Florida. Ma was manning a machine gun and during a four-hour shoot out both were shot and killed by the FBI. Ma Barker ended up with one to three fatal bullets in her, although another version has Ma committing suicide after she witnessed Freddie’s death.
In shootouts with the other gang members, Herman Barker who was wounded after a gun battle, shot and killed himself with his gun. Lloyd, who was captured and eventually served 25 years was later, ironically, killed by his own wife.
Karpis, who maintained that it was always J. Edgar Hoover who had created the myth of Ma Barker as ‘Bloody Mama’ to serve his purpose, vowed to kill Hoover in the same manner that the FBI had dealt with Ma and Freddie. He even sent a letter to the burly FBI director promising such a fate. At one stage the psychopathic mobster was nearly killed by the FBI when they located him in Atlantic City, but he managed to shoot his way to freedom despite his pregnant girlfriend getting shot in the thigh.
Hoover was intent on arresting Karpis himself and on 1 May 1936 he had that pleasure granted when the last of the Enemy Number Ones was located in New Orleans. A dozen agents swarmed over Karpis’ car and Hoover himself went up to the vehicle and declared that he was under arrest.
George Barker, Ma’s estranged husband buried her and his son Freddie in Welch, Oklahoma. Of his wife and sons he said: "She never would let me do with them what I wanted to."