Presidential Assassinations ~
Attempts and Their Assassins

Presidential Assassinations

Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865 at the Ford's Theater by John Wilkes Booth

James Abram Garfield was shot on July 2, 1881 at the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad station by Charles Guiteau. Garfield later died on September 19th.

William McKinley was shot on September 6, 1901 at the Pan-American Exposition by Leon Czolsgosz. McKinley later died on the 14th.

John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Presidential Assassination Attempts

Assassination attempt of President Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson escapes an assassination attempt on January 30, 1835. As the story goes...The President was fired upon by Richard Lawrence  while attending a congressman's funeral at the Capitol Building.

Lawrence fired two Derringer pistols at the President but both miraculously misfired. 67 year old Jackson engaged the would be assassin, clobbering him with his walking stick during the entire altercation. A delusional Lawrence was found not guilty by reason of insanity and died in a mental institution.

Assassination attempt of President Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt was shot on October 14, 1912 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin by John Schrank. Luckily the bullets path entered through the breast pocket containing a metal eye glass case and a folded fifty page speech. Still Bleeding with a bullet lodged in his chest, Roosevelt refused to go to the hospital. He stepped on stage with blood soaked clothing and delivered the speech in it's entirety. The bullet was never removed.

Assassination Attempt of President Franklin Roosevelt

President elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt was shot at by Giuseppe Zangara on February 15, 1933 in Miami, Florida. A spree of bullets were unleashed into the crowd. Four innocent bystanders were wounded during the shooting spree along with Mayor Antone Cermak. The Mayor was the only victim mortally wounded in the right lung and he died in the hospital two weeks later. Franklin Roosevelt escaped the assassination attempt unharmed

Assassination attempt of President Harry S. Truman

Harry Truman was attacked while sleeping at the Blair House on Pennsylvania Avenue on November 1, 1950 by two gunman. Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola stormed the front lawn and a gunfight broke out between the gunman and the White House Police. Dozens of shots were fired, leaving Torresola dead, Collazo wounded, and Truman unharmed.

Watch Newsreel of the assassination attempt

Assassination attempt of President Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford was approached by a woman in red on September 5, 1975 Waving a .45 caliber hand gun at his head. Ford saw the gun, ducked and the Secret Service swiftly took action  the gun was grabbing the would be assassins gun before it could be fired. Though the President was never in any real danger, because the gun was not loaded, Lynnette Alice "Squeaky" Fromme was still arrested and tried for the attempted assassination of President Ford.

Sara Jane Moore branding a .38 caliber gun on September 22, 1975 fired at President Gerald Ford just outside the Saint Francis Hotel entrance in San Francisco, California. 

Moore belonged to a radical leftist group and her motive in her own words: "To spark a revolution." Fortunately she only got off one unsuccessful shot and President Ford was unharmed. However,  a nearby cab driver suffered a flesh wound when the bullet grazed him.

Assassination attempt of President Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan was fired upon by John Hinckley Jr. on March 30, 1981. It was initially reported in the news that the President escaped without injury, those accounts were promptly refuted during live broadcasts.

Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy used his body as a shield and took a bullet to the chest. Two additional protectors of the U.S. President were also wounded. D.C. Policemen Thomas Delahanty was shot in the neck and Press Secretary James Brady was shot in the head. A stray bullet ricocheted off the Presidential limousine and hit Reagan in the side, grazed a rib then slammed into his left lung.

Reagan was unaware he had been shot until he began to cough up blood. He was rushed to the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to remove the bullet. Reagan spent about two weeks in the hospital and made a full recovery. McCarthy and Delahanty also made a full recovery from their wounds. Unfortunately the wound to Brady's head was severe and he suffered permanent brain damage.

Live News coverage of the Assassination attempt...Some footage is graphic

Presidential Assassins

Richard Lawrence a thirty-four year old house painter was arrested for the attempted assassination of Andrew Jackson on January 30 1835. Lawrence's criminal trial began on April 11, 1835 and was prosecuted by Andrew Scott Keys (the author of the Star Spangled Banner). Everyone involved believed Lawrence was insane including the jury having found him not guilty by reason of insanity in less than two full days. Lawrence died in a mental hospital 26 years later in the year of 1861.

John Wilkes Booth a famous theater actor who performed often at the Ford's Theater building where he planned the assassination of President Lincoln. He knew the lay out of the building and planned his escape route. Waiting outside with horses was a Booth co-conspirator. He did indeed escape breaking his leg in the process. Booth was hunted by the United States Military for twelve days. The manhunt ended in Booth's Death.

Charles Guiteau was deemed not be an insane man and was hanged in Washington D.C. on June 30, 1882 for the assassination of President Garfield.

Leon Czolgosz a radical anarchist who fanatically followed the writings and teachings of well known anarchist Emma Goldman. Czolgosz planned to duplicate the success of the Italian anarchist Gaetano Breski's a year ealier. Bresci assassinated King Umberto I, of Italy on July 29, 1900. Czolgosz was arrested, tried, convicted and died in the electric chair for the assassination of President McKinley.

John Schrank dreamed President William McKinley came to him one night in a dream and professed Theodore Roosevelt responsible for his assassination. Schrank began stalking Roosevelt across the country during the 1912 Presidential campaign. Roosevelt was running for a third term under the Bull Moose Party against. Deemed incompetent to stand trial, Schrank was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in a mental hospital and died on September 15, 1943.

Giuseppe Zangara was arrested and tried on February 20, 1933 with four counts of assault with a deadly weapon and the assassination attempt on the President elect. He was sentenced to a mere eight years in prison but upon the death of Mayor Cermak was charged again with murder and sentenced to death by electrocution. Zangara would live just long enough to witness FDR's Inauguration On March 20, 1933 as the thirty-second U.S. President.

Oscar Collazo and  Griselio Torresola were two Puerto Rican Nationalists. Griselio was shot during the assassiantion attempt of President Harry Truman but Collazo was captured, convicted and sentenced to death. However, President Truman commuted the death sentence to a life in prison sentence. In 1979 President Jimmy Carter commuted the life in prison sentence and Collazo was released from Prison.

Lee Harvey Oswald was found hiding by the police at the Texas Theater. The 24 year old Lee Harvey Oswald was taken into custody for the alleged assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the wounding of the Texas Governor John B. Connally. Oswald was arrained and interrogated but didn't live to see a day in court for the charges. On November 24, 1963  Oswald was gunned down by Jack Ruby while he was being transported to the County Jail.

Lynette Alice Fromme "Squeaky" a twenty-six year old former member of the Charles Manson Family and a Manson sympathizer. With an unloaded weapon Fromme never intended to shoot President Gerald Ford, her goal was to set the stage for Manson to be a witness in her trial and given the opportunity to clear his name. He was never called as a witness and Fromme was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Sara Jane Moore a 45 year old mother of four, was arrested and sentenced to life in federal prison on January 15, 1976 for the assassination attempt of President Gerald Ford. She escaped over the barbed wire fence in 1979 but was quickly apprehended a few hours later and moved to a more secure federal prison where she spent the next 32 years. She was paroled and released from prison on December 31, 2007.

John Hinckley Jr. attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in order to impress actress Jodie Foster. The twenty-five year old Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to St Elizabeth's Mental Hospital.

Back to top of Presidential Assassinations Page

Back to American Presidents Facts Page

Back to American Presidents History Home Page

Connect With US =>


"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
~United States Constitution, Article II, Section I, Clause 8

Presidential Facts