Tuesday marks the 80th anniversary of the infamous shootout between the FBI and John Dillinger and his gang at the Little Bohemia Lodge in Vilas County.
On the evening of April 22, 1934, acting on a tip that notorious mobster John Dillinger and his gang were hiding out at the Little Bohemia vacation lodge in Manitowish Waters,, FBI agents were dispatched from St. Paul and Chicago with local law enforcement to that location. As agents raided the lodge, a full gun battle with the Dillinger gang ensued.
During the incident, a civilian Conservation Corps worker was killed. FBI Special Agent W. Carter Baum was ambushed and killed by another well-known gangster of the era, Baby Face Nelson, who shot and wounded FBI Special Agent Herman E. Hollis, and a local constable in the same exchange. The constable, Karl Christensen, survived several gunshot wounds.
Dillinger and his men escaped the Little Bohemia resort that evening. Eventually, Dillinger would encounter the FBI again on the night of July 22, 1934, when his crime spree came to an end after being shot and killed by FBI Agents outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago.
Joseph A. Fath, the Sheriff of Vilas County stated, “The Vilas County Sheriff's Office acknowledges the sacrifices made by Special Agent W. Carter Baum of the FBI and local law enforcement officers on April 22, 1934 at Little Bohemia. The professional relationship with Vilas County law enforcement and the FBI may have started in 1934 with the Dillinger shootout, but it has continued to grow since that tragic incident. Today we rely on our local and state law enforcement agencies and partnerships with the FBI and other federal agencies to address the current problems facing our communities.”
The FBI and its law enforcement partners honor the memories of those who lost their lives, or were injured in the line of duty, serving justice during the fatal confrontation at Little Bohemia 80 years ago today.
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