President McKinley - Assassination - A SHOOTING IN BUFFALO

A SHOOTING IN BUFFALO (Illustration) Disasters American Presidents Crimes and Criminals Ethics American History Famous Historical Events Famous People

The shooting of President McKinley, detail from a drawing by T. Dart Walker, as it appears on the cover of Leslie’s Weekly (September 21, 1901 issue).  Part of the Robert L. Brown History of Medicine Collection, Health Sciences Library, University at Buffalo (SUNY).  Online via U.S. National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. Click on the image for a better view.


In September, 1901, the President and Mrs. McKinley decided to visit the Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo, New York. It would be their last trip together.

Leon Czolgosz, a 28-year-old anarchist follower of Emma Goldman who believed government (and its leaders) prevented "complete individual liberty," also traveled to Buffalo for the Exhibition. But Czolgosz (pronounced CHOL-gosh) had a different reason for being there.

He planned to kill America's popular President.

McKinley had given a speech at the Expo on September 5. The next day, shortly after 4 p.m., on September 6, he was meeting people at the Temple of Music.

Ostensibly in line to shake McKinley's hand, Czolgosz pulled out a .32 caliber short-barreled Johnson revolver and shot the President twice. One shot caused only a non-penetrating flesh wound. The other ripped through the President's stomach (as depicted in the Chicago Eagle on September 14, 1901).

A quick-thinking waiter, James Benjamin ("Big Jim") Parker who worked at one of the Expo's restaurants, jumped Czolgosz. His heroic actions prevented a third shot.

Freely confessing what he did, the assassin told the police what happened. The local newspaper quotes the District Attorney:

This man has admitted shooting the President. He says he intended to kill; that he has been planning to do it for the last three days since he came here.

He went into the Temple of Music with murder in his heart, intending to shoot to kill. He fixed up his hand by tying a handkerchief around it and waited his turn to get near the President, just as the newspapers have described. When he got directly in front of the President he fired.

He says he had no confederates, that he was entirely alone in the planning and execution of his diabolical act.

Gravely wounded, but ever mindful of his wife, McKinley told his secretary, George B. Cortelyou:

Be careful...how you tell her - oh, be careful.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5189stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jun 01, 2005

Updated Last Revision: Jul 26, 2017

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"A SHOOTING IN BUFFALO" AwesomeStories.com. Jun 01, 2005. Dec 13, 2019.
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