- Associated Press - Saturday, June 7, 2014

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - Eighty years ago this week, one of gangster John Dillinger’s accomplices met his end in a hail of bullets in a Waterloo alley.

And this weekend, actors will re-enact Tommy Carroll’s death at the hands of Waterloo police.

The event, which has Saturday and Sunday performances, involves a screening of the 2009 gangland movie “Public Enemies” followed by a live outdoor performance of Carroll’s last gunfight.

“It’s going to be a really fun evening. It will allow the audience to imbue themselves in a little bit of the history of Waterloo,” said Anita Ross, artistic director at the Black Hawk Children’s Theatre, who is directing the performance.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports (https://bit.ly/SvKv3c ) the event is dubbed “Dillinger’s Wheelman in Waterloo,” and Dan Trelka, the city’s police chief, would like to make an annual presentation in the spirit of re-enactments of old west shootouts.

“My goal is to bring people into downtown. I thought this was a way to do it,” Trelka said.

He came up with the idea after seeing the re-enactment of Doc Holiday’s last gunfight in Leadville, Colorado (Holiday won and later died in bed of ill health).

“It’s neat to see, so I said let’s do something here,” Trelka said. He would like to see a pre-1935 car show coincide with future performances to add flavor.

The performances will be at The Brown Derby, 616 1/2 Sycamore St. On both days, doors open at 5 p.m. with a showing of Universal Studios’ “Public Enemies,” which stars Johnny Depp as Dillinger and Spencer Garrett as Carroll. A short documentary on Carroll and the Dillinger gang will be at 7 p.m.

From there, the show moves outside for the re-enactment of Carroll’s confrontation with police.

“They will see a dramatic re-enactment. It’s not in the exact same spot, and Tommy Carroll was shot in an alley, and there isn’t an available alley there to use, so we’re shifting things around a little bit,” Ross said.

Carroll, a Montana native, was a boxer and served in World War I before he was briefly imprisoned in Anamosa for a theft conviction in Council Bluffs. He also served time in a Missouri prison for armed robbery. Carroll joined Dillinger’s gang in 1933 and robbed a Minnesota bank with “Baby Face” Nelson and others.

The following year, Carroll and Dillinger were involved in a Mason City bank heist that netted $52,000. Dillinger was injured in a scrape with police in Minnesota a month later and then escaped after lawmen tracked him and his associates to the Little Bohemia Lodge in Wisconsin.

Following a May 1934 robbery of an Ohio bank, the gang dropped out of sight.

Then on June 7, 1934, a Waterloo gas station attendant went to police after spotting a pile of license plates hidden in a car. The vehicle was driven by Carroll.

Officers searched and found Carroll and his girlfriend at Jack’s Welcome Inn. When they left, Officers Emil Steffen and P.E. Walker confronted Carroll, who reached for his gun. Walker hit Carroll, who took off down an alley in the 600 block of Lafayette Street.

Walker and Steffen then opened fire, striking Carroll. He later died at St. Francis Hospital.

Dillinger was shot and killed in South Bend, Indiana, on June 30, 1934.

Organizations involved with the production include Waterloo Community Playhouse, Waterloo Police Department, JSA Development, the Brown Derby and Main Street Waterloo.

Tickets are $10, and are available at the Waterloo Community Playhouse, 224 Commercial St., and are limited to 300 tickets for each day. Tickets will be available at the Brown Derby on the nights of the event.


Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, https://www.wcfcourier.com

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