1940: Holt, Brady And Whipps Shot By Mad Fisherman

The following is from the July 15, 1940 Daily Globe.

A. M. Holt, 52, veteran game warden stationed at Worthington for the past four months, met sudden death in the line of duty Friday evening when he and two other wardens were shot to death by a crazed fisherman at Waterville, northeast of Mankato. The other wardens who died in the attack were D. P. Brady, Windom warden well known here, and Marcus Whipps of Kasota.

The murderer, Bryant Baumgartner, operator of a fish market at Waterville, shot the three men to death with an automatic shotgun and then turned the gun on himself, accounting for four deaths in the space of a minute.

First word of the tragedy came Friday evening in a phone call from Dr. J.J. Kolars, LeSuer county coroner, to Chief C.E. Murphy, directing him to inform Mrs. Holt that her husband had been killed. A few minutes later the Associated Press phoned particulars to the Daily Globe. Murphy moved to bring into action Station KNHD at Redwood Falls in an effort to locate Rolland Holt, son of the victim.

Investigate infraction

Apparently the wardens were drawn to the Baumgartner place by reports of sales made to the fish dealers, whose bullhead operations were seriously curtailed by conservation department orders several months ago, prohibiting possession of more than 50 such fish at any one time.

When asked to submit his records and display his license, Baumgartner went to his cottage, adjoining the market, and came out with an automatic shotgun. Charles Coon and H.B. McCart, witnesses to the tragedy, quoted Brady as saying:

“It’s no use getting smart with that thing, Baumgartner.”

“I’ll show you whether I’ll get smart,” Baumgartner replied, opening fire. Brady dropped, instantly killed with a blast in the chest, while Whipps and Holt were cut down in the next few seconds. All the men were shot through the chest from the front.

Waterville friends of the murderer said he could drop five quail with as many shots, and the unarmed wardens had no chance at all.

Killer commits suicide

After firing the three shots, Baumgartner carried the gun to a fence nearby, leaned it against the pickets and pulled the trigger, dying instantly.

Friends said Baumgartner was well liked in the community and had shown no violent tendencies. His wife and son were at home when the tragedy occurred.

Further investigation of the deaths was carried out today by state and county officials.

The body of Holt lies in state here today at the Hanson funeral home. Services and burial will be Tuesday at Lake City. As escort from Worthington to Lake City will include members of the Worthington Sportsmen’s club who will be acting pall bearers. The Rev. Rudolph Bloomquist will conduct the service.

Adolph Melvin Holt was born July 26, 1888, at Preston, in Fillmore county, son of Otto N. and Johanna Olson Holt, and spent the early years of his life around LeRoy.

He was married in Minneapolis June 1, 1914, to Jeanette Schefstad, and a year later moved back to LeRoy, where he operated a confectionery for six years. In 1921 he moved to Bagley, where, after operating a confectionery for one year, he entered the state forestry service.

In 1925 he transferred to the game and fish division as a warden, during the administration of Jay Gould, and continued in that work in Clearwater county until March 1, this year, when he was transferred to Worthington.

He is survived by his widow and two children, Rolland, a civil engineer at Bagley, and Dorothy, an assistant surgical supervisor at Seattle, Wash. Others surviving include his parents, Mr. and Mrs. O.N. Holt of Lake City, three sisters, Mrs. R.D. Quade, Lake Center, Mrs. William Thorie, Red Wing, and Mrs. A.U. Gelhar, Rochester, and one brother, A.O. Holt of Lake City.

Brady funeral today

D.P. Brady, who has been in the game warden service for 26 years, was buried this afternoon in the Lakeview Cemetery at Windom. The Rev. A.W. Lees conducted services at the Presbyterian church. He was 50 years old. He was born at Windom, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Brady. He was unmarried. Surviving are his parents; seven brothers and sisters, Mabel and Harry at home, Anna of Minneapolis, Clarence, William and Mrs. Myrtle Brady Cooper of Sioux City and Stanley of Worthington.

Marcus Whipps, a native of LeCenter, leaves a widow, a daughter and two sons, his mother, three sisters and a brother.

2 Responses

  1. Fred H

    Interesting story – a follow-up just appeared last Friday in the Mankato Free Press:

    71 years later, murdered game wardens to be honored

    NEW ULM — On July 12, 1940, three game wardens for the state of Minnesota warily approached Waterville commercial fisherman Bryant Baumgartner at his residence.

    Moments later, all three lay dead, each felled by single blasts from Baumgartner’s 12-gauge shotgun.

    The 54-year-old Baumgartner then turned the gun on himself.

    On Monday, 71 years after the fact, the game wardens will receive their due when a memorial plaque and site in New Ulm is dedicated in their honor.

    The 10 a.m. ceremony at Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Region 4 headquarters will give a measure of closure to a sad and hateful moment in the state’s history.

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