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John Dillinger
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John Herbert Dillinger

(1903-06-22)June 22, 1903
Died July 22, 1934(1934-07-22) (aged 31)
Cause of death Gunshot wounds
Criminal charge(s) Bank robbery, murder, assault, assault of an officer, grand theft auto
Criminal penalty Imprisonment from 1924 to 1933
Spouse(s) Beryl Hovious (divorced)
Evelyn Frechette (common law relationship)

John Herbert Dillinger (June 22, 1903 – July 22, 1934) was an American gangster of the Great Depression. He led a group known as the "Dillinger Gang", which was accused of robbing 24 banks and four police stations. Dillinger was imprisoned several times but escaped twice. He was charged, but not convicted, of the murder of an East Chicago, Indiana, police officer who shot Dillinger in his bullet-proof vest during a shootout; it was the only time Dillinger was charged with homicide.

Dillinger courted publicity. The media ran exaggerated accounts of his bravado and colorful personality and cast him as a Robin Hood. In response, J. Edgar Hoover, then director of the Bureau of Investigation (BOI), used Dillinger and his gang as his campaign platform to evolve the BOI into the Federal Bureau of Investigation, developing more sophisticated investigative techniques as weapons against organized crime.

After evading police in four states for almost a year, Dillinger was wounded and went to his father's home to mend. He returned to Chicago in July 1934 and sought refuge in a business owned by Ana Cumpănaș. She informed authorities of his whereabouts. On July 22, 1934, local and federal law enforcement closed in on the Biograph Theater. As BOI agents moved to arrest Dillinger as he exited the theater, he drew a gun while attempting to flee, but was killed; this was later ruled as justifiable homicide.

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