List of United States presidential assassination attempts and plots

Assassination attempts and plots on the president of the United States have been numerous, ranging from the early 19th century to the 2010s. More than 30 attempts to kill an incumbent or former president, or a president-elect have been made since the early 19th century. Four sitting presidents have been killed, all of them by gunshot: Abraham Lincoln (1865), James A. Garfield (1881), William McKinley (1901), and John F. Kennedy (1963). Additionally, two presidents have been injured in attempted assassinations, also by gunshot: Theodore Roosevelt (1912; former president at the time) and Ronald Reagan (1981).

Although the historian James W. Clarke has suggested that most American assassinations were politically motivated actions, carried out by rational men,[1] not all such attacks have been undertaken for political reasons.[2] Some attackers had questionable mental stability, and a few were judged legally insane.[3][4] Since the vice president has for more than a century been elected from the same political party as the president, the assassination of the president is unlikely to result in major policy changes. This may explain why political groups typically do not make such attacks.[5]

Presidents assassinated

Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln assassination slide c1900 - Restoration
Shown in the presidential booth of Ford's Theatre, from left to right, are assassin John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln, Clara Harris, and Henry Rathbone

The assassination of United States president Abraham Lincoln took place on Good Friday, April 14, 1865, at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., at approximately 10:15 p.m. John Wilkes Booth was a well-known actor and a Confederate sympathizer from Maryland; though he never joined the Confederate Army, he had contacts with the Confederate secret service.[6] In 1864, Booth formulated a plan (very similar to one of Thomas N. Conrad previously authorized by the Confederacy)[7] to kidnap Lincoln in exchange for the release of Confederate prisoners. After attending an April 11, 1865, speech in which Lincoln promoted voting rights for blacks, an incensed Booth changed his plans and became determined to assassinate the president.[8] Learning that the president would be attending Ford's Theatre, Booth formulated a plan with co-conspirators to assassinate Lincoln at the theater, as well as Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William H. Seward at their homes. Lincoln attended the play Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre.[9] As the president sat in his state box in the balcony, watching the play, with his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, and two guests, Major Henry Rathbone and his fiancée Clara Harris, Booth entered from behind, aimed a .44 caliber Derringer pistol at the back of Lincoln's head, and fired, mortally wounding the president. Rathbone momentarily grappled with Booth, but Booth stabbed him and escaped. An unconscious Lincoln was taken across the street to the Petersen House. After remaining in a coma for nine hours, Lincoln died at 7:22 a.m. on April 15.[10]

Beyond Lincoln's death the plot failed: Seward was only wounded and Johnson's would-be attacker did not follow through. After being on the run for 12 days, Booth was tracked down and found on April 26, 1865 by Union soldiers on a farm in Virginia, some 70 miles (110 km) south of Washington. After refusing to surrender, Booth was fatally shot by Union cavalryman Boston Corbett. Four other conspirators were later hanged for their roles in the conspiracy.

James A. Garfield

Garfield assassination engraving cropped
President Garfield with James G. Blaine after being shot by Charles J. Guiteau

The assassination of United States president James A. Garfield took place in Washington, D.C., at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 2, 1881, less than four months after he took office. Charles J. Guiteau shot him twice, one bullet grazing the president's shoulder, and the other piercing his back, with a .442 Webley British Bulldog revolver, as the president was arriving at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station.[11] Garfield died eleven weeks later, on September 19, 1881, at 10:35 p.m., of complications caused by infections.

Guiteau was immediately arrested. After a highly publicized trial lasting from November 14, 1881 to January 25, 1882, he was found guilty and sentenced to death. A subsequent appeal was rejected, and he was executed by hanging on June 30, 1882 in the District of Columbia, two days before the first anniversary of the attempt. Guiteau was assessed during his trial as mentally unbalanced and possibly suffered from some kind of bipolar disorder or from the effects of syphilis on the brain. He claimed to have shot Garfield out of disappointment for being passed over for appointment as Ambassador to France. He attributed the president's victory in the election to a speech he wrote in support of Garfield.[12]

William McKinley

Leon Czolgosz shoots President McKinley with a concealed revolver. Clipping of a wash drawing by T. Dart Walker.

The assassination of United States president William McKinley took place at 4:07 p.m. on Friday, September 6, 1901, at the Temple of Music in Buffalo, New York. McKinley, attending the Pan-American Exposition, was shot twice in the abdomen at close range by Leon Czolgosz, an anarchist, who was armed with a .32 caliber revolver wrapped up in what seemed to be a bandage. The first bullet ricocheted off either a button or an award medal on McKinley's jacket and lodged in his sleeve but the second shot pierced his stomach. McKinley died seven days later, on September 14, 1901, at 2:15 a.m, after his condition rapidly declined due to an infection.

Members of the crowd, started by James Benjamin Parker, subdued and captured Czolgosz. Afterward, the 4th Brigade, National Guard Signal Corps, and police intervened, beating Czolgosz so severely it was initially thought he might not live to stand trial. On September 24, after a rushed, two-day trial in state court, in which the defendant refused to defend himself, Czolgosz was easily convicted and later sentenced to death. He was executed by electric chair in Auburn Prison on October 29, 1901. Czolgosz's actions were politically motivated, although it remains unclear what outcome, if any, he believed the shooting would yield.

Following the assassination of President William McKinley, Congress directed the Secret Service to protect the president of the United States as part of its mandate.

John F. Kennedy

JFK limousine
JFK, Jackie, and the Connallys in the presidential limousine minutes before the assassination

The assassination of United States president John F. Kennedy took place on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, at 12:30 p.m. CST (18:30 UTC), while riding in a presidential motorcade in Dealey Plaza.[13] Kennedy was riding with his wife Jacqueline, Texas Governor John Connally, and Connally's wife, Nellie when he was fatally shot. He was shot once in the back, the bullet exiting via his throat, and once in the head.[14] Governor Connally was seriously wounded and bystander James Tague received a minor facial injury from a small piece of curbstone that had fragmented after it was struck by one of the bullets. The motorcade rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital where President Kennedy was pronounced dead at 1:00 p.m.

Former U.S. Marine and Marxist[15] Lee Harvey Oswald, an order filler at the Texas School Book Depository from which the shots were fired, was arrested by members of the Dallas Police Department for the murder of a Dallas policeman, J. D. Tippit, who was shot dead in a residential neighborhood in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. Oswald was charged with both crimes shortly after his arrest. On Sunday, November 24, 1963, while being transferred from the city jail to the county jail, Oswald was fatally shot in the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub operator. Ruby was convicted of Oswald's murder, though it was later overturned on appeal, and Ruby died in prison in 1967 while awaiting a new trial.

In September 1964, the Warren Commission concluded that Kennedy and Tippit were killed by Oswald, that Oswald had acted entirely alone in both murders, and that Ruby had acted alone in killing Oswald. Nonetheless, polls conducted from 1966 to 2004 found that up to 80 percent of Americans have suspected that there was a plot or cover-up.[16][17] Doubts and conspiracy theories persist to the present.

Assassination attempts and plots

Andrew Jackson

Illustration of Jackson's attempted assassination

January 30, 1835: Just outside the Capitol Building, a house painter named Richard Lawrence attempted to shoot Jackson with two pistols, both of which misfired. Lawrence was apprehended after Jackson beat him severely with his cane. Lawrence was found not guilty by reason of insanity and confined to a mental institution until his death in 1861.[18]

Abraham Lincoln

February 23, 1861: The Baltimore Plot was an alleged conspiracy to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln en route to his inauguration. Allan Pinkerton's National Detective Agency played a key role in protecting the president-elect by managing Lincoln's security throughout the journey. Although scholars debate whether the threat was real, Lincoln and his advisers took actions to ensure his safe passage through Baltimore.

August 1864: A lone rifle shot fired by an unknown sniper missed Lincoln's head by inches (passing through his hat) as he rode in the late evening, unguarded, north from the White House three miles (5 km) to the Soldiers' Home (his regular retreat where he would work and sleep before returning to the White House the following morning). Near 11:00 p.m., Private John W. Nichols of the Pennsylvania 150th Volunteers, the sentry on duty at the gated entrance to the Soldiers' Home grounds, heard the rifle shot and moments later saw the president riding toward him "bareheaded". Lincoln described the matter to Ward Lamon, his old friend and loyal bodyguard.[19][20]

William Howard Taft

Presidents Taft and Diaz, Oct. 1909
William Taft and Porfirio Díaz, historic first presidential summit, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, October 16, 1909.

1909: Taft and Porfirio Díaz planned a summit in El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, a historic first meeting between a U.S. president and a Mexican president and also the first time an American president would cross the border into Mexico.[21] Díaz requested the meeting to show U.S. support for his planned eighth run as president, and Taft agreed to support Díaz in order to protect the several billion dollars of American capital then invested in Mexico.[22] Both sides agreed that the disputed Chamizal strip connecting El Paso to Ciudad Juárez would be considered neutral territory with no flags present during the summit, but the meeting focused attention on this territory and resulted in assassination threats and other serious security concerns.[23] The Texas Rangers, 4,000 U.S. and Mexican troops, U.S. Secret Service agents, FBI agents, and U.S. Marshals were all called in to provide security.[24] An additional 250 private security detail led by Frederick Russell Burnham, the celebrated scout, was hired by John Hays Hammond. Hammond was a close friend of Taft from Yale and a former candidate for U.S. vice president in 1908 who, along with his business partner Burnham, held considerable mining interests in Mexico.[25][26][27] On October 16, the day of the summit, Burnham and Private C.R. Moore, a Texas Ranger, discovered a man holding a concealed palm pistol standing at the El Paso Chamber of Commerce building along the procession route.[28] Burnham and Moore captured and disarmed the would-be assassin within only a few feet of Taft and Díaz.[29]

Theodore Roosevelt

October 14, 1912: Three and a half years after he left office, Roosevelt was running for president as a member of the Progressive Party. While campaigning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, John Flammang Schrank, a saloon-keeper from New York who had been stalking him for weeks, shot Roosevelt once in the chest with a .38-caliber Colt Police Positive Special revolver. The 50-page text of his campaign speech titled "Progressive Cause Greater Than Any Individual", folded over twice in Roosevelt's breast pocket, and a metal glasses case slowed the bullet, saving his life. Schrank was immediately disarmed, captured, and might have been lynched had Roosevelt not shouted for Schrank to remain unharmed.[30] Roosevelt assured the crowd he was all right, then ordered police to take charge of Schrank and to make sure no violence was done to him.[31]

Roosevelt, as an experienced hunter and anatomist, correctly concluded that since he was not coughing blood, the bullet had not reached his lung, and he declined suggestions to go to the hospital immediately. Instead, he delivered his scheduled speech with blood seeping into his shirt.[32][33] He spoke for 90 minutes before completing his speech and accepting medical attention. His opening comments to the gathered crowd were, "Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose."[34][35][36] Afterwards, probes and an x-ray showed that the bullet had lodged in Roosevelt's chest muscle, but did not penetrate the pleura. Doctors concluded that it would be less dangerous to leave it in place than to attempt to remove it, and Roosevelt carried the bullet with him for the rest of his life.[37][38] He spent two weeks recuperating before returning to the campaign trail. Despite his tenacity, Roosevelt ultimately lost his bid for reelection.[39]

At Schrank's trial, the would-be assassin claimed that William McKinley had visited him in a dream and told him to avenge his assassination by killing Roosevelt. He was found legally insane and was institutionalized until his death in 1943.[40]

Herbert Hoover

On November 19, 1928,[41] President-elect Hoover embarked on a ten-nation "goodwill tour" of Central and South America.[42] While crossing the Andes mountains from Chile, an assassination plot by Argentine anarchists was thwarted. The group was led by Severino Di Giovanni, who planned to blow up his train as it crossed the Argentinian central plain. The plotters had an itinerary but the bomber was arrested before he could place the explosives on the rails. Hoover professed unconcern, tearing off the front page of a newspaper that revealed the plot and explaining, "It's just as well that Lou shouldn't see it,"[43] referring to his wife. His complimentary remarks on Argentina were well received in both the host country and in the press.[44]

Franklin D. Roosevelt

On February 15, 1933, in Miami, Florida, Giuseppe Zangara fired five shots at Roosevelt, seventeen days before Roosevelt's first presidential inauguration. Although Zangara did not wound the president-elect, he did kill Chicago mayor Anton Cermak and wounded five other people. Zangara was found guilty of murder and was executed on March 20, 1933. It has never been determined who was Zangara's target, and most assumed at first that he had been shooting at the president-elect. Another theory, is that it may have been ordered by the imprisoned Al Capone.[45][46]

Soviet authorities claimed to have discovered a German plan to assassinate Roosevelt at the Tehran Conference in 1943.[47]

Harry S. Truman

Mid-1947: During the pending of the independence of Israel, the Zionist Stern Gang was believed to have sent a number of letter bombs addressed to the president and high-ranking staff at the White House. The Secret Service had been alerted by British intelligence after similar letters had been sent to high-ranking British officials and the Gang claimed credit. The mail room of the White House intercepted the letters and the Secret Service defused them. At the time, the incident was not publicized. Truman's daughter Margaret Truman confirmed the incident in her biography of Truman published in 1972. It had earlier been told in a memoir by Ira R.T. Smith, who worked in the mail room.[48]

November 1, 1950: Two Puerto Rican pro-independence activists, Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola, attempted to kill Truman at the Blair House, where Truman lived while the White House was being renovated. In the attack, Torresola mortally wounded White House Policeman Leslie Coffelt, who killed the attacker with a shot to the head. Torresola also wounded White House Policeman Joseph Downs. Collazo wounded another officer, and survived with serious injuries. Truman was not harmed, but he was placed at a huge risk. He commuted Collazo's death sentence after conviction in a federal trial to life in prison. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter commuted it to time served.[49]

John F. Kennedy

December 11, 1960: While vacationing in Palm Beach, Florida, President-elect John F. Kennedy was threatened by Richard Paul Pavlick, a 73-year-old former postal worker driven by hatred of Catholics. Pavlick intended to crash his dynamite-laden 1950 Buick into Kennedy's vehicle, but he changed his mind after seeing Kennedy's wife and daughter bid him goodbye.[50] Pavlick was arrested three days later by the Secret Service after being stopped for a driving violation; police found the dynamite in his car and arrested him. On January 27, 1961, Pavlick was committed to the United States Public Health Service mental hospital in Springfield, Missouri, then was indicted for threatening Kennedy's life seven weeks later. Charges against Pavlick were dropped on December 2, 1963, ten days after Kennedy's assassination in Dallas.[51] Judge Emett Clay Choate ruled that Pavlick was unable to distinguish between right and wrong in his actions, but kept him in the mental hospital. The federal government also dropped charges in August 1964, and Pavlick was eventually released from the New Hampshire State Mental Hospital on December 13, 1966.[51][52][53]

Richard Nixon

April 13, 1972: Arthur Bremer carried a firearm to an event intending to shoot Nixon, but was put off by strong security. A few weeks later, he instead shot and seriously injured the Governor of Alabama, George Wallace, who was paralyzed until his death in 1998. Three other people were unintentionally wounded. Bremer served 35 years in prison for the shooting of Governor Wallace.[54]

February 22, 1974: Samuel Byck planned to kill Nixon by crashing a commercial airliner into the White House.[55] He hijacked the plane on the ground by force after killing a police officer, and was told that it could not take off with the wheel blocks still in place. After he shot both pilots (one later died), an officer named Charles 'Butch' Troyer shot Byck through the plane's door window. He survived long enough to kill himself by shooting.

Gerald Ford

September 5, 1975: On the northern grounds of the California State Capitol, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, a follower of Charles Manson, drew a Colt M1911 .45 caliber pistol on Ford when he reached to shake her hand in a crowd. She had four cartridges in the pistol's magazine but none in the firing chamber, and as a result, the gun did not fire. She was quickly restrained by Secret Service agent Larry Buendorf. Fromme was sentenced to life in prison, but was released from custody on August 14, 2009 (two years and eight months after Ford's death in 2006).[56]

September 22, 1975: In San Francisco, California, only 17 days after Fromme's attempt, Sara Jane Moore fired a revolver at Ford from 40 feet (12 m) away.[57] A bystander, Oliver Sipple, grabbed Moore's arm and the shot missed Ford, striking a building wall and slightly injuring taxi driver John Ludwig.[58] Moore was tried and convicted in federal court, and sentenced to prison for life. She was paroled from a federal prison on December 31, 2007 after serving more than 30 years, one year and five days after Ford's natural death.

Jimmy Carter

Raymond Lee Harvey was an Ohio-born unemployed American drifter. He was arrested by the Secret Service after being found carrying a starter pistol with blank rounds, ten minutes before Carter was to give a speech at the Civic Center Mall in Los Angeles on May 5, 1979. Harvey had a history of mental illness,[59] but police had to investigate his claim that he was part of a four-man operation to assassinate the president.[60] According to Harvey, he fired seven blank rounds from the starter pistol on the hotel roof on the night of May 4 to test how much noise it would make. He claimed to have been with one of the plotters that night, whom he knew as "Julio". (This man was later identified as a 21-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico, who gave the name Osvaldo Espinoza Ortiz.)[59] At the time of his arrest, Harvey had eight spent rounds in his pocket, as well as 70 unspent blank rounds for the gun.[61] Harvey was jailed on a $50,000 bond, given his transient status, and Ortiz was alternately reported as being held on a $100,000 bond as a material witness[59] or held on a $50,000 bond being charged with burglary from a car.[61] Charges against the pair were ultimately dismissed for a lack of evidence.[62]

John Hinckley Jr. came close to shooting Carter during his re-election campaign, but he lost his nerve. He would later attempt to kill President Ronald Reagan in March 1981.[63][64]

Ronald Reagan

President Ronald Reagan moments before he was shot in an assassination attempt 1981
Ronald Reagan waves just before he is shot outside a Washington hotel on March 30, 1981. From left are Jerry Parr, in white trench coat, who pushed Reagan into the limousine; press secretary James Brady, who was seriously wounded by a gunshot wound to the head; Reagan; aide Michael Deaver; an unidentified policeman; policeman Thomas K. Delahanty, who was shot in the neck; and secret service agent Tim McCarthy, who was shot in the stomach.

March 30, 1981: As Ronald Reagan returned to his limousine after speaking at the Washington Hilton hotel, he and three others were struck by gunfire from would-be assassin John Hinckley Jr. Reagan was seriously wounded by a bullet that ricocheted off the side of the presidential limousine and hit him in the left underarm, breaking a rib, puncturing a lung, and causing serious internal bleeding. Although "close to death" upon arrival at George Washington University Hospital, Reagan was stabilized in the emergency room, then underwent emergency exploratory surgery.[65] He recovered and was released from the hospital on April 11, becoming the first serving U.S. president to survive being shot in an assassination attempt.[66] Besides Reagan, White House press secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy, and police officer Thomas Delahanty were also wounded. All three survived, but Brady suffered brain damage and was permanently disabled; Brady's death in 2014 was considered homicide because it was ultimately caused by this injury.[67]

Hinckley was immediately arrested, and later said he had wanted to kill Reagan to impress actress Jodie Foster. He was deemed mentally ill and confined to an institution. Hinckley was released from institutional psychiatric care on September 10, 2016.[68]

George H. W. Bush

April 13, 1993: Fourteen men believed to be working for Saddam Hussein and the Al-Qa'ida Organization smuggled bombs into Kuwait, planning to assassinate former president Bush by a car bomb during his visit to Kuwait University three months after he had left office (in January 1993).[69] The plot was foiled when Kuwaiti officials found the bomb and arrested the suspected assassins. Two of the suspects, Wali Abdelhadi Ghazali and Raad Abdel-Amir al-Assadi, retracted their confessions at the trial, claiming that they were coerced.[70] Then-president Bill Clinton responded by launching a cruise missile attack on an Iraqi intelligence building in Baghdad. The plot was used as one of the justifications for the Iraq Resolution.

Bill Clinton

  • January 21, 1994: Ronald Gene Barbour, a retired military officer and freelance writer, plotted to kill Clinton while the president was jogging. Barbour returned to Florida a week later without having fired the shots at the president, who was on a state visit to Russia.[71] Barbour was sentenced to five years in prison and was released in 1998.
  • September 12, 1994: Frank Eugene Corder flew a stolen single-engine Cessna onto the White House lawn and crashed into a tree. Corder, a truck driver from Maryland who reportedly had alcohol problems, allegedly tried to hit the White House. He was killed in the crash. The president and first family were not home at the time.[72]
  • October 29, 1994: Francisco Martin Duran fired at least 29 shots with a semiautomatic rifle at the White House from a fence overlooking the north lawn, thinking that Clinton was among the men in dark suits standing there (Clinton was inside). Three tourists, Harry Rakosky, Ken Davis and Robert Haines, tackled Duran before he could injure anyone. Found to have a suicide note in his pocket, Duran was sentenced to 40 years in prison.[73]
  • 1996: During his visit to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Manila, Clinton's motorcade was rerouted before it was to drive over a bridge. Service officers had intercepted a message suggesting that an attack was imminent, and Lewis Merletti, the director of the Secret Service, ordered the motorcade to be re-routed. An intelligence team later discovered a bomb under the bridge. Subsequent U.S. investigation "revealed that [the plot] was masterminded by a Saudi terrorist living in Afghanistan named Osama bin Laden".[74]
  • October 2018: A package containing a pipe bomb addressed to wife Hillary Clinton and sent to their home in Chappaqua, New York was intercepted by Secret Service. It was one of several mailed to other Democratic leaders in the same week, including former president Barack Obama.[75] Bill Clinton was at the Chappaqua home when the package was intercepted, while Hillary was in Florida campaigning for Democrats.[76] Fingerprint DNA revealed that the package was sent by Florida resident Cesar Sayoc, who was captured two days after the package was intercepted.[77] Prosecutors sought a life sentence for Sayoc, but due to the bombs being intentionally made not to go off the judge instead sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

George W. Bush

February 7, 2001: While President George W. Bush was in the White House, Robert Pickett, standing outside the perimeter fence, discharged a number of shots from a weapon in the direction of the White House. He was sentenced to three years in prison.[78]

May 10, 2005: While President Bush was giving a speech in the Freedom Square in Tbilisi, Georgia, Vladimir Arutyunian threw a live Soviet-made RGD-5 hand grenade toward the podium. The grenade had its pin pulled, but did not explode because a red tartan handkerchief was wrapped tightly around it, preventing the safety lever from detaching.[79] After escaping that day, Arutyunian was arrested in July 2005. During his arrest, he killed an Interior Ministry agent. He was convicted in January 2006 and given a life sentence.[80][81]

Barack Obama

  • April 2009: A plot to assassinate Obama at the Alliance of Civilizations summit in Istanbul, Turkey was discovered after a man of Syrian origins carrying forged Al-Jazeera TV press credentials was found. The man confessed to the Turkish security services details of his plan to kill Obama with a knife with three alleged accomplices.[82]
  • November 2011: Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez hit the White House with several rounds fired from a semi-automatic rifle. No one was injured. However, a window was broken.[83] He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.[84]
  • April 2013: Another attempt was made when a letter laced with ricin, a deadly poison, was sent to President Obama.[85]
  • October 2018: A package that contained a pipe bomb was sent to former president Obama at his home in Washington, D.C. The package was intercepted by Secret Service.[86][87]

Donald Trump

  • Michael Steven Sandford, a British national with a history of mental illness, tried to seize a police officer's pistol at a Trump rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, as part of a plot to assassinate Trump (then the presumptive Republican nominee) that Sandford had been planning for over a year. The pistol caught in the holster and Sandford was immediately arrested, and eventually deported to the United Kingdom. The plot received less coverage in the United States than in Britain, where it led to a debate over the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and was the subject of a BBC documentary.[88]
  • October 2018: William Clyde Allen III, a U.S. Navy veteran, sent a letter containing castor beans to President Trump. The letter did not reach the White House as it was seized by the Secret Service. Allen was arrested on October 3, 2018 in Utah.[90][91][92]

Death rumored to be an assassination

In June 1923, President Warren G. Harding set out on a cross-country "Voyage of Understanding", planning to meet with citizens and explain his policies. During this trip, he became the first president to visit Alaska, which was then a U.S. territory.[93]

Rumors of corruption in the Harding administration were beginning to circulate in Washington by 1923, and Harding was profoundly shocked by a long message he received while in Alaska, apparently detailing illegal activities by his own cabinet that were allegedly unknown to him. At the end of July, while traveling south from Alaska through British Columbia, he developed what was thought to be a severe case of food poisoning. He gave the final speech of his life to a large crowd at the University of Washington Stadium (now Husky Stadium) at the University of Washington campus in Seattle, Washington. A scheduled speech in Portland, Oregon, was canceled. The president's train proceeded south to San Francisco. Upon arriving at the Palace Hotel, he developed pneumonia. Harding died in his hotel room of either a heart attack or a stroke at 7:35 p.m. (19:35) on August 2, 1923. The formal announcement, printed in The New York Times of that day, stated: "A stroke of apoplexy was the cause of death." He had been ill exactly one week.[94]

Naval physicians surmised that Harding had suffered a heart attack. The Hardings' personal medical advisor, homeopath and Surgeon General Charles E. Sawyer, disagreed with the diagnosis. His wife, Florence Harding, refused permission for an autopsy, which soon led to speculation that the president had been the victim of a plot, possibly carried out by his wife, as Harding apparently had been unfaithful to the first lady. Gaston B. Means, an amateur historian and gadfly, noted in his book The Strange Death of President Harding (1930) that the circumstances surrounding his death led to suspicions that he had been poisoned. A number of individuals attached to him, both personally and politically, would have welcomed Harding's death, as they would have been disgraced in association by Means' assertion of Harding's "imminent impeachment".

See also


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2011 White House shooting

The 2011 White House shooting occurred on November 11, 2011, when Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, an unemployed 21-year-old man, fired a semi-automatic rifle at the White House, the official residence of the U.S. President in Washington, D.C. At least seven bullets hit the second floor. Neither the president nor First Lady Michelle Obama were home at the time, although their youngest daughter, Sasha, and the first lady's mother, Marian Shields Robinson, were. No one was injured. It took four days for the Secret Service to realize that bullets had struck the White House. Michelle Obama learned of the shooting from an usher, then summoned Mark J. Sullivan, director of the Secret Service, to find out why the first family had not been informed.

In September 2013, Ortega-Hernandez pleaded guilty to one count of property destruction and one count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, thereby avoiding the charge of attempting to assassinate the President. In March 2014, he was sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment. In September 2014, The Washington Post published an investigative report detailing errors that the Secret Service made on the night of the shooting that led to the crime going undiscovered. A House of Representatives hearing followed and Julia Pierson, director of the Secret Service, resigned the following week. It was the first shooting at the White House since Francisco Martin Duran's attempted assassination of President Bill Clinton in 1994.

2014 White House intrusion

The 2014 White House intrusion occurred on September 19, 2014, when Omar J. Gonzalez, an Iraq War veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder, jumped over the White House's fence and entered the building's front door before being stopped first by an off-duty security officer, and later multiple security officers, and arrested. He was found to have a small knife in his pocket, and stated that the "atmosphere was collapsing" and he needed to tell the president so that he could alert the public. President Barack Obama and his family were not home at the time of the incident. As a result of this incident and other security breaches at the White House, then Director of the United States Secret Service, Julia Pierson, resigned from her position on October 1, 2014.

Gonzalez was indicted for entering a restricted building while armed with a knife. He was also charged with two violations of local laws: carrying a weapon outside a home or business, and ammunition possession. In March 2015, Gonzalez pleaded guilty to two felonies: "entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly weapon", and "assaulting a federal officer". In June 2015 he was sentenced to 17 months in prison, to be followed by three years probation.


Assassination is the act of killing a prominent person for either political, religious or monetary reasons.An assassination may be prompted by religious, political or military motives. It is an act that may be done for financial gain, to avenge a grievance, from a desire to acquire fame or notoriety, or because of a military, security, insurgent or secret police group's command to carry out the homicide. Acts of assassination have been performed since ancient times.

Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, was assassinated by well-known stage actor John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865, while attending the play Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C.

Shot in the head as he watched the play, Lincoln died the following day at 7:22 am, in the Petersen House opposite the theater. He was the first U.S. president to be assassinated, and Lincoln's funeral and burial marked an extended period of national mourning.

Occurring near the end of the American Civil War, the assassination was part of a larger conspiracy intended by Booth to revive the Confederate cause by eliminating the three most important officials of the United States government.

Conspirators Lewis Powell and David Herold were assigned to kill Secretary of State William H. Seward, and George Atzerodt was tasked with killing Vice President Andrew Johnson.

Beyond Lincoln's death, the plot failed: Seward was only wounded and Johnson's would-be attacker lost his nerve. After a dramatic initial escape, Booth was killed at the climax of a 12-day manhunt. Powell, Herold, Atzerodt and Mary Surratt were later hanged for their roles in the conspiracy.

Assassination of James A. Garfield

The assassination of James A. Garfield, the 20th President of the United States, began when he was shot at 9:30 am on July 2, 1881, less than four months into his term as President, and ended in his death 79 days later on September 19, 1881. He was shot by Charles J. Guiteau at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station in Washington, D.C., and died in Elberon, New Jersey. Guiteau's motive was revenge against Garfield for an imagined political debt.

Assassination of John F. Kennedy

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated on November 22, 1963, at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time in Dallas, Texas, while riding in a presidential motorcade through Dealey Plaza. Kennedy was riding with his wife Jacqueline, Texas Governor John Connally, and Connally's wife Nellie when he was fatally shot by former U.S. Marine Lee Harvey Oswald firing in ambush from a nearby building. Governor Connally was seriously wounded in the attack. The motorcade rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital where President Kennedy was pronounced dead about 30 minutes after the shooting; Connally recovered from his injuries.

Oswald was arrested by the Dallas Police Department 70 minutes after the initial shooting. Oswald was charged under Texas state law with the murder of Kennedy, as well as that of Dallas policeman J. D. Tippit, who had been fatally shot a short time after the assassination. At 11:21 a.m. November 24, 1963, as live television cameras were covering his transfer from the city jail to the county jail, Oswald was fatally shot in the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters by Dallas nightclub operator Jack Ruby. Oswald was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital where he soon died. Ruby was convicted of Oswald's murder, though it was later overturned on appeal, and Ruby died in prison in 1967 while awaiting a new trial.

After a 10-month investigation, the Warren Commission concluded that Oswald assassinated Kennedy, that Oswald had acted entirely alone, and that Ruby had acted alone in killing Oswald. Kennedy was the eighth and most recent US President to die in office, and the fourth (following Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley) to be assassinated. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson automatically assumed the Presidency upon Kennedy's death.A later investigation, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) agreed with the Warren Commission that the injuries that Kennedy and Connally sustained were caused by Oswald's three rifle shots, but they also concluded that Kennedy was "probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy" as analysis of a dictabelt audio recording pointed to the existence of an additional gunshot and therefore "... a high probability that two gunmen fired at [the] President". The Committee was not able to identify any individuals or groups involved with the possible conspiracy. In addition, the HSCA found that the original federal investigations were "seriously flawed" with respect to information-sharing and the possibility of conspiracy. As recommended by the HSCA, the acoustic evidence indicating conspiracy was subsequently re-examined and rejected.In light of the investigative reports determining that "reliable acoustic data do not support a conclusion that there was a second gunman", the U.S. Justice Department concluded active investigations and stated "that no persuasive evidence can be identified to support the theory of a conspiracy in ... the assassination of President Kennedy". However, Kennedy's assassination is still the subject of widespread debate and has spawned numerous conspiracy theories and alternative scenarios. Polls conducted from 1966 to 2004 found that up to 80 percent of Americans suspected that there was a plot or cover-up.

Assassination of William McKinley

On September 6, 1901, William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States, was shot on the grounds of the Pan-American Exposition at the Temple of Music in Buffalo, New York. He was shaking hands with the public when Leon Czolgosz, an anarchist, shot him twice in the abdomen. McKinley died eight days later on September 14 of gangrene caused by the gunshot wounds. He was the third American president to have been assassinated, following Abraham Lincoln in 1865 and James A. Garfield in 1881.

McKinley had been elected for a second term in 1900. He enjoyed meeting the public, and was reluctant to accept the security available to his office. Secretary to the President George B. Cortelyou feared that an assassination attempt would take place during a visit to the Temple of Music and took it off the schedule twice. McKinley restored it each time.

Czolgosz had lost his job during the economic Panic of 1893 and turned to anarchism, a political philosophy adhered to by recent killers of foreign leaders. Regarding McKinley as a symbol of oppression, Czolgosz was convinced that it was his duty as an anarchist to kill him. Unable to get near the President during the presidential visit earlier, Czolgosz shot McKinley twice as the President reached to shake his hand in the reception line at the temple. One bullet grazed McKinley; the other entered his abdomen and was never found.

McKinley initially appeared to be recovering, but took a turn for the worse on September 13 as his wounds became gangrenous, and died early the next morning; Vice President Theodore Roosevelt succeeded him. After McKinley's assassination, for which Czolgosz was sentenced to death in the electric chair, Congress passed legislation to officially charge the Secret Service with the responsibility for protecting the President.

Assaulting, kidnapping, and assassinating the government officials of the United States

Assaulting, kidnapping, and assassinating the government officials of the United States, their families, and foreign dignitaries and official guests, is a crime under various statutes, including 18 U.S.C. § 111 (Assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees), 18 U.S.C. § 112 (Protection of foreign officials, official guests, and internationally protected persons), 18 U.S.C. § 115 (Influencing, impeding, or retaliating against a Federal official by threatening or injuring a family member), 18 U.S.C. § 351 (Congressional, Cabinet, and Supreme Court assassination, kidnapping, and assault), and 18 U.S.C. § 1751 (Presidential and Presidential staff assassination, kidnapping, and assault). Senator Robert Byrd stated, in introducing the bill that became 18 U.S.C. 351, "This legislation is needed to protect representative democracy. Passage would help guarantee the right of any Member of Congress to fulfill his constitutional duties and responsibilities as an elected official of our country." Until 1982, the legislation was silent as to the court's reach, but now it has been clarified that the court has extraterritorial jurisdiction over these offenses.Minor assault or simple assault is usually punished as a misdemeanor with a base offense level of 4. When physical contact occurs or a deadly weapon is possessed and threatened, it typically escalates to a felony with a higher offense level, and when injury occurs, the penalties increase still further. When there was intent to commit murder, still higher penalties apply. Life imprisonment or the death penalty applies in cases of successful murder. Major penalties apply to kidnapping.

Baltimore Plot

The Baltimore Plot was an alleged conspiracy in late February 1861 to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln en route to his inauguration. Allan Pinkerton, founder of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, played a key role by managing Lincoln's security throughout the journey. Though scholars debate whether or not the threat was real, clearly Lincoln and his advisors believed that there was a threat and took actions to ensure his safe passage through Baltimore, Maryland.

On November 6, 1860, Lincoln was elected as the 16th President of the United States, a Republican, and the first to be elected from that party. Shortly after his election, many representatives of southern states made it clear that the Confederacy's secession from the U.S. was inevitable, which greatly increased tension across the nation. A plot to assassinate Lincoln in Baltimore was alleged, and he ultimately arrived secretly in Washington, D.C. on February 23, 1861. A planned train route through Bellaire Ohio, to Wheeling, Virginia (West Virginia had yet to break off from Virginia) and eastward, was subsequently rerouted up through the Pittsburgh vicinity, through Pennsylvania, into Maryland and eventually to Washington.

For the remainder of his presidency, Lincoln's many critics would hound him for the seemingly cowardly act of sneaking through Baltimore at night, in disguise, sacrificing his honor for his personal safety. However, the efforts at security may well have been prudent.

Curse of Tippecanoe

The Curse of Tippecanoe (also known as Tecumseh's Curse or the 20 Year Presidential Curse) is the alleged pattern of death in office of Presidents of the United States elected in years that are divisible by 20, from William Henry Harrison (elected in 1840) through John F. Kennedy (1960). Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980 and was wounded by gunshot, but he survived. George W. Bush (2000) survived his terms in office, despite an assassination attempt.

Gerald Ford assassination attempt in Sacramento

On September 5, 1975, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, a cult member of Charles Manson's Manson Family, attempted to assassinate United States President Gerald Ford in Sacramento, California. She wanted to make a statement to people who refused to halt environmental pollution and its effects on Air, Trees, Water, and Animals (ATWA). Although Fromme stood a little more than an arm's length from Ford that Friday morning and pointed a M1911 pistol at him in the public grounds of the California State Capitol building, she had not chambered a round, the gun did not fire, and no one was injured. After the assassination attempt, Ford continued to walk to the California state house, where he met with California governor Jerry Brown. For her crime, Fromme spent 34 years in prison and was released on August 14, 2009 – two years and seven months after Ford's death. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan, later received the M1911 pistol used in the assassination attempt as a gift, and the gun was put on display.

Gerald Ford assassination attempt in San Francisco

On September 22, 1975, Sara Jane Moore attempted to assassinate Gerald Ford in San Francisco. Moore fired two gunshots at President Ford, which both missed.

List of United States Congress members killed or wounded in office

Since the United States Congress was established with the 1st Congress in 1789, fourteen of its members have been killed while in office by people seeking to do them harm, and eleven members have suffered serious injuries as a result of such attacks. The members of Congress included in this list were either injured or killed by someone intending to do them serious harm, or there is a serious claim that there was a lethal intent from an unknown assailant (such as the two congressmen who died of the National Hotel disease). The earliest a member of Congress was killed or wounded while in office was 1827 when Henry Wharton Conway was killed in a duel and the most recent death occurred in 1983 when Korean Air Lines Flight 007, carrying Larry McDonald, was shot down over the Pacific Ocean. The most recent Congress member to be wounded was Rand Paul who was tackled from behind by his neighbor in 2017.

Out of the 15 Congress members killed in office, all of them were male and 10 were Democrats, four were Republicans, and one was a Democratic-Republican. Four members died in duels, and a total of ten (six members of the House of Representatives, three senators, and one delegate) died from gunshot wounds.

Eleven Congress members have been wounded while in office. Six of the wounded were Republicans, and five were Democrats. Only one was a woman, and only four were senators. Five of those injured were wounded during the 1954 United States Capitol shooting incident.

List of United States crime-related lists

This is a list of lists related to crime in the United States.

List of United States federal judges killed in office

Following is a list of United States federal Judges killed in office.

Lists of murders

Following are lists of murders organized in various ways. Entries may appear in more than one section.

Oliver Sipple

Oliver Wellington "Billy" Sipple (November 20, 1941 – February 2, 1989) was a decorated U.S. Marine and Vietnam War veteran, who was left disabled by the war. On September 22, 1975, he grappled with Sara Jane Moore as she fired a pistol at U.S. President Gerald Ford in San Francisco, causing her to miss. The subsequent public revelation that Sipple was gay turned the news story into a cause célèbre for LGBT rights activists, leading Sipple to unsuccessfully sue several publishers for invasion of privacy, and causing his estrangement from his parents.

United States presidential line of succession

The United States presidential line of succession is the order in which officials of the United States federal government assume the powers and duties of the office of President of the United States if the incumbent president becomes incapacitated, dies, resigns, or is removed from office (via impeachment by the House of Representatives and subsequent conviction in a trial by the Senate). Presidential succession is referred to multiple times in the U.S. Constitution – Article II, Section 1, Clause 6, as well as the 12th Amendment, 20th Amendment, and 25th Amendment. The Article II succession clause authorizes Congress to provide for a line of succession beyond the vice president, which it has done on three occasions. The current Presidential Succession Act was adopted in 1947, and last revised in 2006.

The line of succession follows the order of Vice President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, President pro tempore of the Senate, and then the eligible heads of federal executive departments who form the president's Cabinet. The Presidential Succession Act refers specifically to officers beyond the vice president acting as president rather than becoming president when filling a vacancy. The Cabinet currently has 15 members, of which the Secretary of State is first in line; the other Cabinet secretaries follow in the order of when their departments (or the department of which their department is the successor) were created. Those heads of department who are constitutionally ineligible to be elected to the presidency are disqualified from assuming the powers and duties of the president through succession, and skipped to the next in line. Since 1789, the vice president has succeeded to the presidency intra-term on nine occasions, eight times due to the incumbent's death, and once due to resignation. No one lower in the line of succession has yet been called upon to act as president.

Widely considered a settled issue during the late 20th century, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 demonstrated the potential for a decapitation strike that would kill or incapacitate multiple individuals in the presidential line of succession in addition to many members of Congress and the federal judiciary. In the years immediately following the attacks, there were numerous wide-ranging discussions in Congress, among academics and within the public policy community about continuity of government concerns including the existing constitutional and statutory provisions governing presidential succession. These discussions remain ongoing. One effort put forward by the Continuity of Government Commission, a nonpartisan think tank, produced three reports (2003, 2009 and 2011), the second of which focused on the implicit ambiguities and limitations in the current succession act, and contained recommendations for amending the laws for succession to the presidency.

Vladimir Arutyunian

Vladimir Arutyunian (Georgian: ვლადიმერ არუთუნიანი; Armenian: Վլադիմիր Հարությունյան; born 12 March 1978) is a Georgian national who attempted to assassinate United States President George W. Bush and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili by throwing a hand grenade at them on 10 May 2005. The attempt failed when the grenade did not detonate. He was later arrested and sentenced to life in prison.

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