We recently began posting a daily widget called 'Today In History'. On this day in 1933, the posting tells us, someone tried to kill President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This was new information to me about which I wanted to know more.
The following was released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U. S. Department of Justice under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts.
On February 15, 1933, Guiseppe Zangara attempted to kill Franklin Delano Roosevelt while the then President-elect was giving a speech in Miami, Florida. The United States Secret Service was responsible for the primary investigation and the FBI's role was mainly administrative in nature.
Zangara had lived in New Jersey since 1924, and had only been in Miami for a couple of months. According to the papers, "he was in Miami because it was warm and he was out of work. He had lost $200 on the dog races."
By chance, Zangara heard that FDR would be in Miami to give a speech. Three days before the shooting, Zangara purchased a 38 caliber pistol at a pawn shop. As Roosevelt finished a short speech at Bayside Park, Zangara fired five rounds from 25 feet. Roosevelt was completely untouched by the gunfire. Zangara was standing on a chair and lost his balance as he shot. Additionally, a bystander hit his arm. One bullet, however, struck Chicago's Mayor Anton Cermak who was shaking hands with Roosevelt at the time.
Zangara pled guilty five days later and was sentenced to 80 years in Raiford Prison.
Anton Cermak died from his wounds two weeks later. Zangara was immediately tried for his murder and found guilty. He was sentenced to the electric chair and executed on March 20.
Check out 'Today In History' in the right hand column.