Bangor, Maine - Outside Of #15 Central Avenue

Bangor, Maine - Outside Of #15 Central Avenue

The "Gangster Era" didn't end in 1934 per se; in 1937 the Brady Gang was bragging they'd make Dillinger "look like a piker." The Brady Gang consisted of Al Brady, James Dalhover and Clarence Shaffer. Robberies of stores and banks, stealing autos and the murder of 2/3 people were notched in their guns. Brady and Shaffer were killed in the gun battle and Dalhover was tried later on murder and convicted. He was electrocuted in November, 1938. Between the 3 of them, they had 35 various handguns and pistols.

Retired FBI Agent, Walter Walsh, who passed away in April, 2014 at the age of 106, was wounded during the Bangor shootout. During the gun battle, the sharpshooting abilities of the Agents involved were revealed since it was found they fired 45 shots, 43 hitting the three gang members on the street.

Those involved in the special assignment of the Brady gang and their capture were, SA E. J. Connelly, SA Chris Callan (Dave's father), Walter Walsh, Bill Nitschke, Tony Reeder, Walter Devereaux, Rufus Coulter, Vernon Criss, George Fitch, Myron Gurnea, Almon Barber, George F. Fitch, Joseph S. Johnson, and Kenneth Logan.

Brady, an Indiana farm boy, met his destiny in the middle of the street with Gmen in Bangor, Maine as did the other two. Two pages of a 1937 newspaper tell the story.

You can see page 1 here

Page 2 is here

An article in the FBI's internal "Grapevine" magazine reveals the events that day.  Click here.

An extensive account of the Brady Gang and their activities is at the FBI's website here:

The below backgrounds were accumulated through various "Grapevine" articles of the 1950's, personal accounts and donated photos.

The below is NOT in alphabetical order. 

SAC/Inspector E. J. Connelly - (See the biography section and do a site search for more)

SA G. Christopher Callan

SA Callan's position at the shootout was with SA Johnson in the second story of a store being used in the stakeout. Callan was an FBI Agent from 1934 to 1960. He served in several Bureau offices, mostly in the East for 10 years and then was assigned to the Investigative Section at FBIHQ in Washington. After retirement, he moved to Florida and spent a few years working for Wackenhut. SA Callan died in July, 1972 and as of April, 2007 is survived by his son, Dave Callan, in Florida. Dave is now a retired FBI Agent also and has a scrapbook of his father's memories and the Brady gang.

SA Callan's retired son, Dave, writes of his father:

"My father, Chris Callan, graduated from Georgetown Law School in 1932 and found a job with the FBI in 1934. He was an excellent athlete, having lettered in basketball and tennis during his undergraduate years at Georgetown. His first office was Philadelphia, where he became totally smitten with a nurse at Hahnemann Hospital. They married in his hometown of D.C., and he was immediately transferred to Boston.

It was there that he found his first major challenge. He was the case agent on the Brady Case. This resulted in a nationwide press event, when FBI Agents destroyed the Brady operation on 10/12/37. I asked him about his role in the take down. He said that he and others covered it from a store above the take down. He was never sure about his abilities with firearms, but he was damn sure about how to organize a shoot.

He transferred to the Trenton RA, where he said that he had a good relationship with a local chief trying to do things right, but shortly after that , he was transferred to Springfield, Ill. and assigned to the Danville RA. He was happy as an RA and gave his son - me - one bit of advice. The life of a Resident Agent (RA) is the best there is in the Bureau. Be your own boss and stay away from the suits. I followed it."

SA Walter R. Walsh

  Retired SA Walter Walsh, left with SA Jeff Moss, (RIP) 1999: courtesy SA Moss

Retired SA Walter Walsh, left with SA Jeff Moss, (RIP) 1999: courtesy SA Moss

Colonel Walter R. Walsh was the oldest retired FBI special agent, and passed away in April, 2014 at the age of 106. He resided in Arlington, VA. and regularly attended re-enactments, services and more in regard to his FBI career. SA Walsh was wounded in the shooting with Brady gang members.

SA Walsh served in the Bureau as a Special Agent from 1934-1942 and again from 1946-1947. His break in service was as a result of his overseas assignment with the First Marine Division. He participated in the action at Okinawa and occupation of North China.

Born in New Jersey in 1907, Walsh proved his greatness as a sharpshooter with the pistol and the rifle in national and international competition. He was a member of the FBI pistol team in 1935 and made a good showing at the matches at Camp Perry, Ohio. He had been selected on 5 occasions for the All-American Pistol Shooting Team, and he had won the All Around Rifle and Pistol Shooting Championship at Camp Perry in 1939 (the last time the match was fired.)

SA Walsh, in addition to the Brady gang investigation in his early days, participated in the arrest of Doc Barker and was heavily involved in the Dillinger and other high profile cases of the Midwest. Truly today, one of the all time FBI greats and like others, an American hero.

May he rest in peace...

SA Almon P. Barber

Almon P. Barber served as an FBI Agent from 1934 to 1944. He was born August 29, 1902 in Ohio and his first assignment took him to Boston, Mass. Barber had served as a Cleveland, Ohio police officer prior to entry into the Bureau.

Barber also served in Midwest offices and was on the FBI Champion Pistol Team of 1935.

As of this time, it appears Barber did not join the Former Agent's Society when he left the Bureau, and as such, there's no additional information regarding him.

bill nitschke.JPG

SA Bill Nitschke

I. E. (Bill) Nitschke was a Special Agent from 1935-1945. Born in Austin, Texas in 1904 he served as a firearms instructor at the FBI Academy for seven years and the Brady case was just one of the many he was involved with. Prior to joining the FBI, Nitschke was a race car driver and his exceptional driving capabilities came in handy as an FBI Agent.

Upon leaving the Bureau in 1945, the much traveled, Bill Nitschke, operated a sporting goods store in Twin Falls, Idaho and was elected Police Commissioner. Subsequent to Idaho, Nitschke moved on to California and Reno, Nevada later and in 1958 was manager of the Riverside Hotel at Reno. The photo taken here was at a 1958 Former Agents convention in San Francisco.

SA Arthur S. (Tony) Reeder

Reeder was a Special Agent from 1935-1958 and hailed from Iowa where he was born in 1907. He served in multiple offices and finished his Bureau career in Denver, Co. for five years. At the time of the search for the Brady Gang, he was covering leads in Louisville, Ky.

A firearms expert and a skilled police instructor, Reeder retired from the FBI and subsequently worked in the security field for Coors Industries in Colorado.

SA Walter Devereaux

Walter Devereaux was a Special Agent from 1930-1942, and was born in Chicago, Ill. in 1902. Devereaux spent most of his career in the Chicago Office and was engaged with other gangster type cases in addition to the later Brady Gang.

Devereaux resigned from the FBI and worked with Montgomery Ward for a short time as head of security. He then went with Naval Intelligence until 1945. He became Chief Investigator for the Chicago Crime Commission working under retired SA, Virgil Peterson, of Dillinger fame and finally retired altogether in 1969.

Walt and his wife left Illinois after retirement and moved to Brooksville, Florida.

SA Rufus C. Coulter

SA Rufus C. Coulter served as an FBI Agent from 1928 to 1945, and was born in Tennessee in 1903.  He was a graduate of Arkansas University, having attended night classes. After being assigned to several Bureau offices, he served as Special Agent In Charge of the Phoenix office. SA Coulter was nearly killed in a shootout with John Dillinger and Homer Van Meter during the early 30's.

Coulter's report of the shooting is in the "navigation" area of the site under the section "Sorting The Dillinger Facts" and a news article of the 1934 incident is here.

When he resigned, he served as Chief Of Police in Phoenix and was later employed by Motorola, Inc. Coulter died in 1975 and had served as Chairman of the Phoenix Chapter, Society Of Former Agents.

SA Vernon E. Criss

SA Vernon E. Criss served as an FBI Agent from 1930 to 1942 and was born in 1897 at Bangor, California. Criss was a member of the FBI's 1935 Pistol Team. The best information available now is that in 1946 after he had left the FBI, Criss was listed as counsel for the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in San Francisco.

SA George Fitch

George F. Fitch was born in 1907 in Pittsburgh, Pa. and served as an FBI Agent from 1936 until 1942. He was finishing his first year on the job when he was sent on the Brady "special" to Bangor, Maine. Fitch served in the Los Angeles office and had a brother who was an Agent also.

By 1944 Fitch had left the Bureau and became a Supervisor of Plant Protection, Pratt & Whitney Aircraft, Kansas City, MO. Next he was with the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau, New York City. In the mid 1950's, he was with Trans Arabian Pipe Line and was in Lebanon by this time. As late as 1962, he practiced law in Pittsburgh and the date of his death is unknown.

SA Myron E. Gurnea

Gurnea was with SA Devereaux the day of the Brady Gang shootout and he and Devereaux approached Brady who was sitting in an auto outside of a store in Bangor, Maine. Brady was ordered out of the car but came out firing 4 shots at the Agents. In a return of gunfire, Brady was left dead in the street.

SA Myron E. Gurnea served as an FBI Agent from 1934 to 1950 and born in Oregon in 1902. Before joining the FBI, Gurnea was with the Los Angeles Police Department. In 1938, Gurnea became an Inspector in the FBI after having served time in various Field Offices.

Gurnea was sent to Honolulu the day after the Pearl Harbor attack, worked on security jobs during the war, handled the controversial Amerasia case, worked on the Roger Touhy case in Chicago during the early 30's, and on numerous bank robberies and kidnappings. He was a bachelor and stayed with Assistant Director, Alex Rosen in Arlington, Virginia.

Gurnea lost his life in an accidental drowning incident in 1950. Alex Rosen died in 2008.

An August 20, 1950's obituary was found:

FBI Man Falls From

Boat and Drowns

Washington, Aug. 1950— (IP) —

Myron Elmore Gurnea, 48, an FBI inspector who had worked on many of the bureau's biggest cases, fell overboard from an anchored motor cruiser In the Potomac river early today and drowned. Several hours later the body had not been recovered. He was a member of a party which went for a brief cruise aboard a cruiser owned by Eugene Meachurn, lawyer and retired navy captain. Members of that party said Gurnea, fell into the river as he tried to raise the anchor for a return to shore.

SA Joseph J. Johnson

Joseph S. Johnson was born in North Dakota in 1897 and served as an FBI Agent from 1929 until 1950. He spent time in FBI offices in Cincinnati, Atlanta, New York and Denver. After retiring from the FBI he taught at the Louisville Law School for nine years and later moved to Tampa, Fla. He died in 1970 at the age of 74.

SA Kenneth Logan

Kenneth Logan was born in 1905 and spent time as an FBI Agent from 1935 until 1960. Logan was a firearms instructor at Quantico, Va. training academy and later became in charge of the Academy, years unknown.