Death of a Gangster
July 22, 1934 - At 10:50PM on this night John Dillinger was pronounced dead after being gunned down by agents from the BOI (Bureau of Information - an early version of the FBI). It was the end of a life spent stealing cars, robbing banks and killing cops.
The feds were tipped off by a woman named Anna Sage. She was a Romanian immigrant who ran a Chicago brothel. Her friend, Polly Hamilton, was Dillinger's lover. Since Sage had been threatened with deportation she negotiated a deal in which she would get to stay in America by helping the feds catch Dillinger.
The plan was for Sage to wear an orange (not red) dress when she accompanied Dillinger and Hamilton to a movie at Chicago's Biograph Theater. When the trio emerged from the theater, Agent Melvin Purvis lit a cigarette. That was the signal for the other agents to move in. Dillinger sensed an ambush and started running for an alley. The agents opened fire and Dillinger was hit twice in the chest and once in the back of the neck. He died almost instantly.
In the light of the Biograph's marquee Anna Sage's orange dress looked red, and thus she is remembered incorrectly as the "Woman in Red."
Despite the arrangement she struck with the feds, Sage was deported anyway. She was sent back to Romania where spent the rest of her life.