FBI Remembers Agents Killed In 1934 Shootout With Gangsters

(CBS) – More than 80 years ago, two FBI agents lost their lives in a gunfight in Chicago’s northwest suburbs.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams was at ceremony today honoring the men for their heroism during the ferocious gunfight known as the “Battle of Barrington.”

“We heard all the excitement down the road,” says Bill Eiserman, who was six at the time.

He and his brother were witnesses to the event.

“We saw Baby Face Nelson standing up on the highway with his machine guns firing,” he says.

Baby Face Nelson — real name Lester Gillis — and another gangster, John Paul Chase, were in a running gun fight with FBI agents Herman Hollis and Samuel Cowley.

Cowley’s son also is named Samuel.

“I was 8 months old when he was shot in Barrington,” Cowley says.

Agents Cowley and Hollis were brought to Chicago to fight the mob. They were killed that day in 1934. On Wednesday,  current and former FBI agents honored the fallen feds.

Nelson was wounded in that gunfight and found dead the next day. Chase was later arrested.

Eiserman went on to become a successful football coach in Grayslake.

Cowley is grateful the Battle of Barrington is remembered. He says he always considered his father a hero.

The 83-year-old came in from Salt Lake City for the ceremony.

Baby Face Nelson was part of the John Dillinger gang, which was responsible for 10 murders and 11 bank robberies.

Dillinger was famously killed earlier in 1934 outside the Biograph Theatre on Chicago’s North Side.

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