Murdered teens and Barker Gang

Teen outlaws slain in same town as Ma Barker shootout

Three teenage gang members were shot and killed this week in the small Florida town that was the scene of the infamous 1935 Ma Barker Gang shootout.

The three victims were murdered by three other members of a gang that had pulled off a series burglaries in the area, said Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods in Ocklawaha, 50 miles northwest of Orlando.

All three suspects have been arrested.

Murdered teens and Barker Gang

The first victim, Layla Silvernail, 16, (pictured above) was still alive when she was found shot in the head Thursday night after being dumped on the side of the road. She was taken to hospital and was on a life support machine before being pronounced brain dead.

An unidentified 17-year-old boy was discovered the following morning on a roadway a half-mile away.

Murdered Florida teens
Camille Quarles

The third victim, Camille Quarles, 16, was found in the trunk of Layla Silvernail’s car after it had been located in a pond nine miles from where she had been dumped.

All six juveniles were traveling together in Silvernail’s car at some point, said Sheriff Woods. A witness heard the fatal gunshots, indicating that the victims were killed at the same time, he said.

Murdered teens Ma Barker gang
Sheriff Billy Woods

The first suspect, Robert Robinson, 17, was arrested after he was reported for brawling at his school; Christopher Atkins, who is only 12, was arrested at his home; and Tahj Brewton, 16, was picked up on a string of outstanding warrants including assault and grand theft auto.

Murdered Florida teens
Christopher Atkins, 12; Tahj Brewton, 16; and Robert Robinson, 17.

“There’s no honor among thieves,” said the Sheriff. “These three individuals turned on the three victims and murdered them.”


In 1935, Ocklawaha was the scene of a shootout between federal agents and bankrobber Fred Barker of the Barker-Karpis gang of outlaws. Although not as well known as their contemporaries Bonnie and Clyde and the Dillinger gang, they were more ruthless,

Murdered teens and Barker Gang
The Barker house in Ocklawaha, Florida.

Shortly after 5 a.m. on January 16, 1935, G-men surrounded the Barker house and demanded Barker surrender. When there was no response agents fired tear gas grenades through the windows. Machine-gun fire spurted from an upstairs window.

The cops and the gangsters engaged in a furious gun battle for over an hour, and then the firing from the houes suddenly stopped, It meant, as was soon discovered, that Ma and Fred Barker were both dead.

During the gun battle Alvin Karpis managed to slip from the house and went on the run, becoming the FBI’s Public Enemy No. 1. He was a fugitive for 16 months, pulling an armored car robbery and a train robbery before being nabbed in New Orleans in 1936.


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