this day in crime history: july 2, 1881

On this date in 1881, President James A. Garfield was shot in the back and arm at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad station in Washington, D.C. The wounds were not immediately fatal, and the president lingered until September 19th when he died of complications from his injuries. He was the second US president to be assassinated. Had he been shot 20 years later, medical science probably would have been able to save President Garfield, a point not lost on assassin Charles Guiteau. “The doctors killed Garfield, I just shot him,” Guiteau proclaimed at his trial. Be that as it may, Guiteau was convicted of murdering the president in January of 1882. He was executed on June 30, 1882.

Further reading:

The Assassination of James A. Garfield, By Robert Kingsbury

Wikipedia – Assassination of James A. Garfield

Last Words of Assassin Charles Guiteau

Nobody Move – This Day in Crime History: June 30, 1882

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this day in crime history: december 25, 1974

1600PennAve

On this date in 1974, Marshall Fields crashed his Chevy Impala through the Northwest gate of the White House in Washington, DC. Fields, who was dressed in Arab clothing, claimed he was the Messiah. He displayed what appeared to be a bomb strapped to his body and threatened to detonate it. After a four hour standoff with police, Fields surrendered. After his surrender, police discovered that his bomb was really made up of common road flares. They also discovered he was not really the Messiah. I guess you just can’t believe a raving lunatic. Not even on Christmas.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – List of White House security breaches

Yonkers, NY Herald Statesman“Break-in sparks review”

History.com – A History of White House Attacks

this day in crime history: november 1, 1950


On this date in 1950, two assassins made an attempt on the life of President Harry Truman. The attempt was made when Truman was staying in Blair House while structural repairs were being made to the White House.

Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola, members of the pro-independence Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, approached Blair House from opposite directions. They planned to mount simultaneous assaults and shoot their way inside the house, where they would kill Truman. The men engaged White House police officers and Secret Service agents in a gun battle that resulted in the wounding off two officers and the death of Officer Leslie Coffelt.

Neither assassin gained entry to Blair House. Torresola was killed by Officer Coffelt before he collapsed and died from his own wounds. Collazo (pictured above) was wounded in the gun battle and arrested. He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. His sentence was commuted to life by President Truman. He was pardoned by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. He returned to Puerto Rico, where he died in 1994 at the age of 80.

Further reading:

Truman Library – Assassination Attempt on President Truman’s Life

Wikipedia – Truman assassination attempt  

this day in crime history: december 25, 1974

1600PennAve

On this date in 1974, Marshall Fields crashed his Chevy Impala through the Northwest gate of the White House in Washington, DC. Fields, who was dressed in Arab clothing, claimed he was the Messiah. He displayed what appeared to be a bomb strapped to his body and threatened to detonate it. After a four hour standoff with police, Fields surrendered. After his surrender, police discovered that his bomb was really made up of common road flares. They also discovered he was not really the Messiah. I guess you just can’t believe a raving lunatic. Not even on Christmas.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – List of White House security breaches

Yonkers, NY Herald Statesman“Break-in sparks review”

History.com – A History of White House Attacks

this day in crime history: july 2, 1881

On this date in 1881, President James A. Garfield was shot in the back and arm at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad station in Washington, D.C. The wounds were not immediately fatal, and the president lingered until September 19th when he died of complications from his injuries. He was the second US president to be assassinated. Had he been shot 20 years later, medical science probably would have been able to save President Garfield, a point not lost on assassin Charles Guiteau. “The doctors killed Garfield, I just shot him,” Guiteau proclaimed at his trial. Be that as it may, Guiteau was convicted of murdering the president in January of 1882. He was executed on June 30, 1882.

Further reading:

The Assassination of James A. Garfield, By Robert Kingsbury

Wikipedia – Assassination of James A. Garfield

UMKC Law School – Last Words of Assassin Charles Guiteau

Nobody Move – This Day in Crime History: June 30, 1882

this day in crime history: december 25, 1974

1600PennAve

On this date in 1974, Marshall Fields crashed his Chevy Impala through the Northwest gate of the White House in Washington, DC. Fields, who was dressed in Arab clothing, claimed he was the Messiah. He displayed what appeared to be a bomb strapped to his body and threatened to detonate it. After a four hour standoff with police, Fields surrendered. After his surrender, police discovered that his bomb was really made up of common road flares. They also discovered he was not really the Messiah. I guess you just can’t believe a raving lunatic. Not even on Christmas.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – Marshall Fields

Yonkers, NY Herald Statesman“Break-in sparks review”

History.com – A History of White House Attacks

this day in crime history: november 1, 1950


On this date in 1950, two assassins made an attempt on the life of President Harry Truman. The attempt was made when Truman was staying in Blair House while structural repairs were being made to the White House.

Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola, members of the pro-independence Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, approached Blair House from opposite directions. They planned to mount simultaneous assaults and shoot their way inside the house, where they would kill Truman. The men engaged White House police officers and Secret Service agents in a gun battle that resulted in the wounding off two officers and the death of Officer Leslie Coffelt.

Neither assassin gained entry to Blair House. Torresola was killed by Officer Coffelt before he collapsed and died from his own wounds. Collazo (pictured above) was wounded in the gun battle and arrested. He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. His sentence was commuted to life by President Truman. He was pardoned by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. He returned to Puerto Rico, where he died in 1994 at the age of 80.

Further reading:

Truman Library – Assassination Attempt on President Truman’s Life

Wikipedia – Truman assassination attempt