FBI says it killed Dillinger 85 years ago

The FBI has released a statement saying its agents got the right man more than 85 years ago when they fatally shot notorious gangster John Dillinger outside a Chicago theater.

The FBI’s Chicago office took the unusual step of issuing the statement Thursday in response to affidavits from some relatives of Dillinger who say they want his body exhumed from an Indianapolis cemetery because there is “evidence” that federal agents shot the wrong man in 1934.

The Indiana State Department of Health released affidavits signed by Mike Thompson and Carol Thompson Griffith, who say Dillinger was their uncle. They want the body exhumed for a forensic analysis.

The Chicago Sun-Times and WLS-TV in Chicago first reported on the affidavits supporting an exhumation permit.

The permit was approved in July. A&E Networks says the exhumation will be covered as part of a documentary for The History Channel.

The statement from the says FBI agents shot and killed Dillinger on July 22, 1934, “as he reached for a pistol from his trouser pocket” outside the Biograph Theater.

The FBI says Dillinger was pronounced dead at a Chicago hospital and “a wealth of information supports Dillinger’s demise” including fingerprint matches.

The agency says it’s a “common myth” that “a stand-in” and not Dillinger was the man killed, saying that such claims “have been advanced with only circumstantial evidence.”