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Joseph Bowers

Joseph Bowers

Joseph "Dutch" Bowers (December 13, 1896-April 27, 1936) was the first man to attempt an escape from Alcatraz prison. On 27 April, 1936, Bowers finished working on the prison incinerator. Instead of going back to the prison, he headed out towards the surrounding wire fence. The guards ordered him twice to stop, he refused. They shot twice at the ground. He continued until he reached the fence, then scaled it and dropped down on the other side. The guards shot twice and hit him in the neck and his right thigh. He was propelled headfirst over the cliff and down 60 feet to the rocks. He died from a bullet lodged in his lungs.

Bowers' escape attempt was believed to be a deliberate suicide by inmates and was the first of the island's fourteen.

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