Thursday, October 18, 2012


10/12/1937 - The stupidity of the Brady Gang (Al Brady, Clarence Lee Shaffer, Jr., James Dalhover) is paid off in bullets and blood in Bangor, Maine.


Thinking they are in need of more firepower for a series of jobs they have planned for later in the year, in September the gang goes to Bangor and at two sporting goods stores, while claiming to be hunters, purchases two .45 automatics, three .32 Colt automatics and ammunition, while asking about extra clips and special weapon modifications, while ordering a third .45 ... not the typical weapons to go deer hunting with which of course starts the gang's downfall chain.  After they leave, suspicions aroused, Louis Clark, the clerk helping the men, goes to the owner of Dankin's Sporting Goods, Everett Hurd (who will receive $1,500 for the information he supplies), about the strange men, Hurd then tells the town's Chief of Police, Thomas Crowley, and eventually Crowley contacts the FBI (additionally, C.E. Silsbury of the Rice & Miller store, the establishment where the outlaws buy the Colts, also relates his story about the "hunters").  


Could the boneheads possibly be the notorious Brady Gang?

                                           Al Brady, Public Enemy #1 - 1937

Further proof that the outlaws might be operating around Bangor is provided when a few days later members of the gang return and buy the .45 they ordered, purchase a rifle, and ask whether a tommy gun might be for sale (though sales of the weapon are illegal).  Thinking on his feet, Hurd tells the men he does have access to a machine gun, but it won't be available until later in the week ... later in the week when an ambush can be planned.  And planned it is, waiting for the gang when they foolishly come back to town are fifteen FBI agents, led by Special Agent Walter Walsh (who will be in Dankin's posing as a clerk), and fifteen Indiana (where the gang is wanted on murder charges) and Maine officers of the law.

                                                 Agent Walter Walsh

After twice driving by the store to make sure everything is on the up-and-up, at 8:30 in the morning the gang arrives at Dankin's to pick up their machine gun ... Dalhover goes into the store, Shaffer stands on guard at the entrance, and Brady waits in the back seat of the black Buick the gang is using.  Entering Dankin's, Dalhover asks Hurd whether the machine gun is ready, and before the owner of the store can respond, finds himself confronted by Walsh and the agent's two ready to fire pistols.  Instead of complying however, Dalhover swings around to fight and all Hell breaks loose.  Dalhover is knocked to the ground by Walsh, but the commotion draws the attention of Shaffer, who instantly draws his weapon and shoots into the store, wounding Walsh in the shoulder.  Weapon fired, the lurking snipers immediately respond with a barrage of lead which puts Shaffer down in the middle of the street.  At the same time as Shaffer is being shot, two agents accost Brady in the car.  Hands over his head, Brady appears to surrender, but as he exits the car door he rams into the arresting officers, draws his weapon, and begins to fire at targets of opportunity in the street ... a major mistake that results in him joining Shaffer in death.  


All over in roughly four minutes, the dead outlaws are massacred in a Bonnie and Clyde style ambush that sees Shaffer and Brady hit over sixty times.  Overkilled, and wisely so, in the aftermath of the shootout, the gang is found to be carrying on their persons or have in the car and hideout the following weaponry: eight .45 caliber automatic pistols, seven .38 caliber revolvers, three .30 caliber machine guns with 350 shot belts, five .32 caliber automatic pistols, five .30 caliber rifles, one .30 caliber automatic rifle, two 12-gauge shotguns, one .45 caliber revolver, one .32 caliber revolver, two .22 caliber automatic pistols, tear gas grenades, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition (and yet they needed to buy ANOTHER machine gun?).  

                                                                   Street Fight

                                                            Brady and Shaffer
                                            Downtown Bangor - 10/12/1937

Shaffer and Brady dead, Dalhover will soon follow them, frying in the Indiana electric chair in November of 1938 for the murder of Highway Patrol Officer Paul Minneman.  Over and out, the Brady Gang is no more!

                                               Al before his Bangor morning

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