Posted 6:55 PM 2/9/2012 : Local historian uncovers century old shootout in Colorado Springs
Wanted bandits armed to the teeth speeding through Colorado; no this isn't a story about the Dougherty siblings but rather the Frank Lewis-Dale Jones gang.
In September of 1918, this gang of mostly family members were involved in a deadly shootout with Colorado Springs Police officers at a gas station at the corner of S. Nevada Avenue and Colorado Avenue downtown.
Retired police investigator and historian Dwight Haverkorn has spent years researching the history of the city's police department. He says there are many similarities between the Lewis-Jones gang and modern crimes, for example what were they stealing.
"Remember, this was during the first World War or just previous to it, and during a time when they were having trouble like we are now, they were stealing copper wire," Haverkorn said.
The group may not be as well known as other gangsters of the era such John Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde or Baby Face Nelson. But Haverkorn says they were certainly notorious. As many as 9 officers were killed by the Lewis-Jones gang members and several others were wounded.
"The reason they don't talk about them was nobody knows about them," Haverkorn said.
Lewis was arrested in Colorado Springs shortly after the shootout and died of pneumonia in jail. Jones made it to California where in November of 1918 he and his wife Marge were killed in another shootout with police.
Haverkorn says history gives us many examples of why Colorado isn't a place for fugitives to visit.
"Typical of gangs who shouldn't come here, there was a group called the Texas 7; guess who didn't leave," Haverkorn joked. "This is just not a place for bad guys to come."
Dwight will give a free presentation about the history of the Frank Lewis-Dale Jones Gang next Thursday, February 16, to the Palmer Lake Historical Society.
The program begins at 7:00 p.m. at the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent in Palmer Lake.