Historical marker unveiled in local town where FBI agent was killed
WEST COLLEGE CORNER, Ind. (WKRC) - The first agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who was killed in the line of duty was gunned down 82-years-ago in the local area.
He finally has a memorial marker to honor his sacrifice.
Nelson Klein was one of the original agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A “G-man.”
“The G-men of the 1930s were the pioneers of the FBI,” said Bill Plunkett, author of the book “G-Man and the Diamond King.”
On Wednesday, in a park about 100 yards from where Nelson Klein was shot and killed, an Indiana historical marker was unveiled. Klein and his partner had tracked a notorious criminal, George Barrett, to the tiny town of West College Corner.
Barrett was nicknamed “The Diamond King” for all of his jewel heists, but had begun stealing cars and selling them across state lines. That brought in the FBI.
“The agents got out of their car and said we're federal officers and we'd like to talk to you and gunshots rang out. Agent Klein was shot five times,” said Plunkett.
82-years-ago on this date, a 6-year-old boy named Ellis Miller was sitting up in a cherry tree in front of this house, his grandparents' house. He heard shots and saw it all happen across the street.
“I remember being in the cherry tree. My brother ran up to me and said you better go in the house. There's shooting going on,” said Ellis Miller.
The 6-year-old from back then is now 88 was at Wednesday's ceremony. Until then, Ellis Miller was one of the few people who knew what happened here.
“It was very scary and my grandmother got ahold of me and wouldn’t' let me go see the blood and stuff,” said Miller.
Former FBI Agent Bill Plunkett, who wrote a book about Klein, says more people need to know Klein's story.
“It's important to remember the FBI agents who have given their lives and paid the ultimate price to protect the country,” said Plunkett.
Nelson Klein left a wife and three children. He is buried in Evergreen Cememtery in Southgate, Kentucky and now is memorialized in the town where his life came to an end.
The man who killed Agent Klein was convicted of murder and hanged.
Klein was the first agent killed after the federal investigative service changed its name to FBI in 1935.
Seven other agents died in the line of duty when the agency had other names dating to 1908.