published Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Sharpshooter Walter Walsh dies at 106

  • photo
    This 1934 handout photo provided by the FBI Office of Public Affairs shows Walter Walsh. Walsh, the world's oldest living Olympian, has died. He was 106.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

ARLINGTON, Va. — Walter R. Walsh, an FBI sharp-shooter who was the world's oldest living Olympian, has died. He was 106.

Walsh died Tuesday -- six days before his 107th birthday -- at his home in Arlington, Virginia, USA Shooting announced.

Walsh, who first honed his shooting skills by picking clothespins off a clothesline with a BB gun as a child, finished 12th in the men's 50-meter free pistol event at the 1948 London Olympics. He was 41 by then, and had already demonstrated his marksmanship with the FBI and the Marine Corps.

During the Depression, Walsh was instrumental in the capture and killing of several gangsters. As an FBI rookie, he discovered the body of Baby Face Nelson after a shootout that left two federal agents dead, and a year later helped catch Arthur (Doc) Barker of the Barker Gang.

In October 1937, he posed as a sales clerk at a sporting goods shop in Bangor, Maine, awaiting the arrival of three members of the Brady Gang, which had been on a long crime spree. He quickly disarmed one of them as the man entered the store, and helped gun down the others despite being hit twice.

Walsh took a commission as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in 1938 and went on active duty in 1942, eventually serving on the front lines in the First Marine Division, and spent more than 20 years as a shooting instructor for the Marines after the war before his retirement in 1970.

He later served as the team leader for USA Shooting in several competitions, including the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Walsh was inducted into the USA Shooting Hall of Fame in 2013.

Born in Hoboken, New Jersey, on May 4, 1907, Walsh was married for 43 years until his wife died in 1980.

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