CLARENCE O. HURT
Year Inducted: 2013Clarence O. Hurt was born on March 14, 1895, in Springfield, Ill. He was raised in Hollister and Frederick, OK, and graduated from Frederick High School in 1916. He served in the U.S. Army during World War I and was honorably discharged in 1919. He was hired by the Oklahoma City Police Department and assigned as a motorcycle officer. Hurt worked a variety of assignments including patrol officer, jailer, detective, night chief of police, and superintendent of the auto theft bureau. In 1928, he was captain of the pistol team and met Jelly Bryce. The two became lifelong friends. Through the years, he and Bryce would be responsible for assisting in the capture of Wilbur Underhill, who escaped from the Kansas City Prison on Memorial Day, 1933. Underhill had gone on a three-state bank robbery spree killing three people. A posse of local, state and federal officers, including Hurt and Bryce, surrounded the house where Underhill was hiding. Hurt yelled, "This is the law, Wilbur, stick 'em up." Underhill then grabbed two pistols and started firing. Hurt fired a projectile from a gas gun, which struck Underhill in the chest. As other officers fired upon Underhill, he escaped and was found critically wounded in a furniture store in downtown Shawnee. He was taken to Oklahoma State Penitentiary where he died a few weeks later. Hurt was later accepted into the FBI and worked on the capture of Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd, who was involved in the Kansas City Massacre in which McAlester Chief of Police Ott Reed was killed. Hurt was assigned to the Chicago office, becoming a member of the famous "Flying Squad." He was involved in the arrest or deaths of several 1930's gangsters, most famously John Dillinger, who reportedly died in Hurt's arms. He also arrested, along with J. Edgar Hoover, Alvin Karpis, the last survivor of the Ma Barker gang. In 1942 he opened the McAlester FBI office, later serving two terms as Pittsburg County Sheriff. Following the December 7, 1941, bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hurt was one of several FBI agents sent to Hawaii to conduct espionage investigations. After a bout with cancer, Hurt died on November 4, 1975 in McAlester. He is survived by his daughter, Pat Prater, and granddaughter Bunny Hurt Riley.