“Baby Face” Nelson And The Ruthless Murder Of FBI Agent Willis Carter Baum

Baum

On April 22, 1934, FBI agents heard that John Dillinger and his gang were seen at the Little Bohemia Lodge. The Lodge was 50 miles north of Rhinelander, Wisconsin.

Confronting a Dangerous Mob

W. Carter Baum was born in July of 1904 to a family in Washington D.C. He joined the Bureau in 1930 and was sent to the New York Field Office. Baum was transferred to the Chicago Field office.

Agents from both the St. Paul and the Chicago offices went out to the area as fast as possible to try to catch the group of gangsters. However, the band escaped the agent’s grasp before the agents even surrounded the building.

Special Agent W. Carter Baum and another agent went two miles away from the lodge where someone had reported a disturbance. A local constable came along with them.

The constable saw a car that he knew belonged to one of the locals as they approached the area. The constable and the agents pulled up next to the car.

Confronted by a Killer

A man asked the agents and constable who they were. This man turned out to be Lester J. Gillis, otherwise known as “Baby Face” Nelson.

As soon as the agents and officers identified themselves, Gillis pulled out a pistol, ordering the men to exit their vehicle. Even though they complied, Gillis shot at the first agent.

The first agent was hit in the head and knocked unconscious. Gillis shot Special Agent Baum and killed him. The constable was shot and sustained major injuries.

Gillis was a notorious criminal, as was his wife, Helen Gillis. Both of them had lengthy criminal records with arrests for robberies and eventually for the murders of multiple FBI agents.

The FBI would go on to find Gillis in November of 1934. In a firefight, Gillis killed two more FBI agents. However, he was gravely wounded in the shooting and died from his injuries.

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