Dillinger Gansters In Running Gun Battle With Hastings Posse In 1934

This was taken from the April 27, 1934 issue of the Hastings Gazette:


Hastings Officer Scores in Gun Duel although Gangsters escape

A hazardous and exciting bandit chase, in which three Dakota County Deputies and a Hastings policeman participated Monday morning, and in which one of a trio of fleeing Dillinger gangsters is thought to have been fatally wounded, came as a swift aftermath of the breaking up of a Dillinger rendezvous in the northern Wisconsin woods late Sunday night.

The bandit pursuit by the local posse culminated a six-hour vigil by Deputy Sheriffs Joe Heinen, Norman Dieters and Larry Dunn and Night Policeman F. H. McArdle, who had been assigned to guard the high bridge on the supposition that some of the Dillinger mob, fleeing from the Little Bohemia lodge from which they routed by Federal agents Sunday, might try to gain access to the Twin Cities by crossing the river here.

Sheriff J. J. Dunn immediately summoned Deputy Sheriff’s Heinen and Dieters and two officers, stationed themselves at the Finch drug store corner, to await developments. Shortly after ten o’clock, a coupe, containing their men and bearing a Wisconsin license plate entered the city form the south on Highway No. 3, turned the drug store corner to cross the high bridge, in the direction of St. Paul. Unfortunately, a large cattle truck had slipped between the deputies’ car and the one which the Dillinger’s henchmen were riding, and it was impossible to pass the vehicle until it had reached the opposite side of the bridge.

As the cars roared up the highway toward Newport, nearly fifty shots were exchanged by the officers and gangsters. One of the bullets from McArdle’s high-powered rifle bored its way through the rear of the speeding coupe and apparently inflicted a serious if not mortal wound to one of the gangsters.

In the exchange of bullets, one of the 45-caliber shots from the gangster’s gun ripped into the visor of Deputy Heinen’s car, about four inches above the officer’s head, but luckily none of the bullets hit the windshield of the officer’s sedan.

Federal agents finally ambushed and killed John Dillinger in an alley outside Chicago’s Biograph Theater on July 22, 1934. It was said that bystanders dipped their handkerchiefs in his blood, and 15,000 gawkers walked through the morgue to view Dillinger’s body.

One month later at an intersection just two blocks from the Minnesota State Capital, Dillinger’s partner, Homer Van Meter was shot to death by police in an alley, betrayed by the underworld. After Dillinger’s death it was said that Van Meter sought refuge in Minnesota hiding at Leech Lake Log Cabin Camp on Route 34 near Walker, Minnesota and sneaking into St. Paul for furtive “meets” with his colleagues at bars and bowling alleys along Rice Street.