Thursday, January 19, 2012

"Baby Face" Nelson

Lester Joseph Gillis (December 6, 1908 – November 27, 1934), known under the pseudonym George Nelson, was a bank robber and murderer in the 1930s. Gillis was known as Baby Face Nelson, a name given to him due to his youthful appearance and small stature.

Nelson was responsible for several murders, and has the dubious distinction of having killed more FBI agents in the line of duty than any other single American citizen.
On April 21, 1930, Nelson robbed his first bank, making off with $4,000. Nelson and his crew were linked to a botched roadhouse robbery in Summit, Illinois on November 23, 1930 that resulted in gunplay that left three people dead and three others wounded. Three nights later, the Tape Bandits hit a Waukegan Road tavern and Nelson ended up committing his first murder of note, when he killed stockbroker Edwin R. Thompson.
Nelson hooked up with the Dillinger gang and soon became nationally notorious and was made a high-priority target of the FBI.

After the death of Dillinger, Nelson was made public enemy number one. A running gun battle between FBI agents and Nelson took place on November 27, 1934 outside Chicago, in the town of Barrington resulting in the deaths of Nelson and FBI Special Agents Herman "Ed" Hollis and Samuel P. Cowley.

Nelson had been shot a total of seventeen times; seven submachine gun slugs had struck his torso and ten shotgun pellets had torn into his legs. After telling his wife "I'm done for", Nelson gave directions as Chase drove them to a safe house on Walnut Street in Wilmette. Nelson died in bed here, with his wife at his side, at 7:35 that evening.