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Al Brady (1911–1937) was an Indiana-born armed robber and murderer who became one of the FBI's "Public Enemies" in the 1930s. He and an accomplice were shot dead in an ambush by FBI agents in downtown Bangor, Maine, in 1937. The spectacular public gun-battle that led to the demise of "The Brady Gang" is an essential part of Maine folklore, and was even the subject of a re-enactment in 2007.
Al Brady lost his father at age 2, his mother at age 16 and his stepfather at age 18. Two months after his stepfather's death he committed his first robbery, in Indianapolis, Indiana, in which he was shot and wounded. On release from jail, he teamed up with Clarence Lee Shaffer, Jr., James Dalhover, and Charles Geisking, and the gang proceeded to steal cars and commit armed robberies across Indiana, mostly of grocery stores. They eventually murdered a 23-year-old Indianapolis store clerk, and then an Indianapolis policeman Richard Rivers. The gang was also suspected of killing an Anderson, Indiana policeman in 1935. The four were captured in 1936, but Brady, Dalhover, and Shaffer escaped from a Greenfield, Indiana jail, and then robbed a bank in Goodland, Indiana in May 1937. In fleeing the robbery, they managed to ambush and kill one of their pursuers, Indiana State Police trooper Paul V. Minneman, and severely injure another. The gang then relocated to first Baltimore, then to Bridgeport, Connecticut, and eventually to Bangor, Maine.
Relaxing their guard in Bangor, the trio began negotiating the purchase of automatic weapons at the downtown Dakin's Sporting Goods Store, but the suspicious owner contacted the police after taking their order and telling them to return in a few weeks. When the three later returned to pick up the guns, on October 12, 1937, a large number of FBI agents were waiting in ambush, inside the store and across the street. Dalhover was apprehended after a scuffle when he entered Dakin's alone, but Brady and Shaffer drew their weapons in the street and were shot down in a furious exchange. Photographs of their bullet-ridden bodies lying dead in the middle of Central St. became iconic local images, and long hung behind the counter at Dakin's.
Dalhover would be tried and executed for murder. One of the FBI agents who apprehended Dalhover and was wounded in the ensuing gun battle, Walter Walsh, became the bureau's oldest retired Special Agent.
With no living relatives, Brady's body went unclaimed, and he was buried in an unmarked grave at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Bangor. In 2007 the grave was finally marked with a stone and a brief religious ceremony conducted, in conjunction with a re-enactment of the shoot-out in Bangor's downtown.
- Time, June 7, 1937
- Time, Oct. 25, 1937
- "Brady Gang is Wiped Out Planning Bangor Bank Raid", New York Times, Oct. 13, 1937
- "Brady Buried as Pauper", New York Times, Oct. 16, 1937
- "Dalhover Put to Death", New York Times, Nov. 18, 1938
- Bangor in Focus: The Brady Gang. acc.5/24/08