List of United States Congress members killed or wounded in office

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John L. Magee's lithography demonstrates Northern outrage over Brooks's attack on Sumner

Since the United States Congress was established with the 1st Congress in 1789, fifteen of its members have been killed while in office, and thirteen have suffered serious injuries from attacks. The members of Congress were either injured or killed by someone intending serious harm, or there is evidence of lethal intent by an unknown assailant (such as the two congressmen who died of the National Hotel disease). The first member of Congress to be killed or wounded in office was Henry Wharton Conway who was killed in a duel in 1827. 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 injured was Rand Paul who was tackled from behind by his neighbor in 2017.

All of the 15 Congressmen killed in office 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 (three senators, six members of the House of Representatives, and one territory delegate to the House) died from gunshot wounds.

Thirteen Congress members have been wounded while in office. Six of the wounded were Republicans, five were Democrats, and one member each from the Anti-Jacksonian and Whig parties. One was a woman, and four were senators. Five of those injured were wounded during the 1954 United States Capitol shooting incident.



Party colors:   Democratic-Republican   Democratic   Republican

Member State
Date of incident Perpetrator(s) Cause Incident
Henry Wharton Conway   Henry Wharton Conway Arkansas Territory
(At-large delegate)
October 29, 1827 Robert Crittenden Duel Died 11 days after being shot in the chest during a duel with Crittenden near the confluence of the White and Mississippi rivers.[1]
Spencer Darwin Pettis   Missouri
(1st at-large seat)
August 28, 1831 Thomas Biddle Duel Both Pettis and Biddle sustained fatal gunshot wounds during a duel on Bloody Island in Illinois.[2]
Jonathan Cilley   Jonathan Cilley Maine
(3rd district)
February 24, 1838 William Graves Duel Shot by Graves, the Whig Congressman from Kentucky's 8th district, during a duel on the Marlboro Pike in Maryland.[2]
John Gallagher Montgomery   Pennsylvania
(12th district)
April 24, 1857 Unknown (disputed) Disease Several people staying at the National Hotel in Washington, D.C., died of National Hotel disease during this time period. It is disputed whether the "disease" was due to deliberate poisoning or accidental food poisoning.[2]
John A. Quitman   John Quitman Mississippi
(5th district)
July 17, 1858
David Colbreth Broderick   David Broderick California
September 13, 1859 David Terry Duel Broderick and Terry, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California, took part in a duel in San Francisco. Broderick was shot and died three days later.[2]
Edward Dickinson Baker   Edward Baker Oregon
October 21, 1861 7th Brigade, 4th Division of the Confederate Army of the Potomac (under the command of Nathan Evans) Battle Died during the Battle of Ball's Bluff, while assigned command of a brigade in Brigadier General Charles Pomeroy Stone's division, guarding fords along the Potomac River in Virginia. The Confederate soldiers were commanded by Brigadier General Nathan George Evans.[3][4]
Cornelius S. Hamilton   Cornelius S. Hamilton ( Ohio
(8th district)
December 22, 1867 Thomas Hamilton Murder Killed by his insane 18-year-old son, Thomas, in Marysville, Ohio.[2][5]
James M. Hinds   James M. Hinds.jpg Arkansas
(2nd district)
October 22, 1868 George Clark Assassination Killed in Indian Bays in Monroe County, Arkansas, after being shot in the back by George A. Clark, a member of the Ku Klux Klan and the secretary of the Democratic committee of the county.[2][6][7]
Thomas Haughey   Thomas Haughey Alabama
(6th district)
July 31, 1869 Collins (first name not known) Murder At a speech by Haughey in Courtland, Alabama, he and Collins got into an argument. This escalated into a fist fight and ended with Collins shooting Haughey in the stomach. Haughey died five days later.[8]
John M. Pinckney   John Pinckney Texas
(8th district)
April 24, 1905 Unknown (riot started by J. N. Brown) Mass shooting A political event in Hempstead, Texas, turned violent when one of the participants, J. N. Brown, began shooting. Other attendees began to shoot as well and a riot broke out. Pinckney, his brother Tom, and Brown were all killed at the scene.[2][9]
Huey Long   Huey Long Louisiana
September 8, 1935 Carl Weiss (possibly) Assassination Died two days after Weiss fired a handgun at him at close range inside the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge.[10]
Robert F. Kennedy   Robert F. Kennedy New York
June 5, 1968 Sirhan Sirhan Assassination Shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after giving his victory speech in the California primary; he died about 25 hours later.[11]
Leo Ryan   Leo Ryan California
(11th district)
November 18, 1978 Peoples Temple (under the direction of Jim Jones) Mass shooting While on an official visit to Guyana to investigate the activities of the Peoples Temple group led by Jim Jones, Ryan was shot multiple times while boarding an airplane leaving Jonestown.[12]
Larry McDonald   Larry McDonald Georgia
(7th district)
September 1, 1983 Soviet Far East District Air Defense Forces Aircraft shootdown McDonald was a passenger on board Korean Air Lines Flight 007 which was shot down over the Sea of Japan near Sakhalin island by Soviet interceptors piloted by Major Gennadiy Osipovich on the orders of General Anatoly Kornukov, Commander of Sokol Air Base.[13]


Party colors:   Anti-Jacksonian   Democratic   Republican   Whig

Member State
Date of incident Perpetrator(s) Cause Incident
William Stanbery   William Stanberry Ohio
(8th district)
April 13, 1832 Sam Houston Assault After Stanbery accused Houston of profiteering off Andrew Jackson's forced relocation of Native Americans, Houston confronted Stanbery in Washington, D.C. and beat him repeatedly with a hickory walking stick. During the fight Stanbery pulled a gun, placed it on Houston's chest, and pulled the trigger, but the gun misfired.[14]
Alexander H. Stephens   Alexander H. Stephens Georgia
(8th district)
September 4, 1848 Francis H. Cone Assault Francis Cone, an Associate Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, called Stephens a "traitor to the South" due to Stephens' move to table the Clayton Compromise. When confronted about this in front of Atlanta's Thompson Hotel, Stephens struck Cone with his walking stick and Cone responded by stabbing Stephens 6 times in the hand and chest.[15]
Charles Sumner   Charles Sumner Massachusetts
May 22, 1856 Preston Brooks Assault Representative Preston Brooks, a Democrat from South Carolina's 4th district, assaulted Sumner with a cane on the floor of the Senate in the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The attack followed Sumner's verbal attacks on pro-slavery politicians (including Brooks' relative, Senator Andrew Butler).[16]
Josiah Bushnell Grinnell   Josiah Grinnell Iowa
(4th district)
June 14, 1866 Lovell Rousseau Assault Grinnell was assaulted with an iron-tipped cane by Rousseau, an Unconditional Unionist Congressman from Kentucky's 7th district, on the east portico of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., in retaliation for derogatory statements he made earlier. Grinnell was pummeled on the "head and face until the cane broke," and was heavily bruised.[17]
Alvin Morell Bentley   Alvin Bentley Michigan
(8th district)
March 1, 1954 Rafael Cancel Miranda,
Andres Figueroa Cordero,
Irvin Flores,
Lolita Lebrón
Shooting 1954 Capitol shooting: Armed Puerto Rican nationalists shot the representatives from the Ladies Gallery of the House of Representatives in the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.[18]
Clifford Davis   Clifford Davis Tennessee
(10th district)
George Hyde Fallon   George Fallon Maryland
(4th district)
Ben F. Jensen   Ben Jensen Iowa
(7th district)
Kenneth A. Roberts   Kenneth Roberts Alabama
(4th district)
John C. Stennis   John Stennis Mississippi
January 29, 1973 Tyrone Marshall, John Marshall, Derrick Holloway[19] Mugging Stennis was shot twice outside his home in Washington, D.C. during a mugging.[20]
Gabby Giffords   Gabrielle Giffords Arizona
(8th district)
January 8, 2011 Jared Lee Loughner Shooting Giffords was shot in the head during the 2011 Tucson shooting, which occurred at a constituency meeting held in a supermarket parking lot in Casas Adobes, Arizona.[21]
Steve Scalise   Steve Scalise Louisiana
(1st district)
June 14, 2017 James T. Hodgkinson III Shooting Scalise was shot in the hip by a gunman using a rifle during a practice session for the 2017 Congressional Baseball Game at the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia.[22]
Rand Paul   Rand Paul Kentucky
November 3, 2017 Rene Boucher Assault Paul was tackled from behind by his neighbor, Rene Boucher, during an altercation. Paul sustained five fractured ribs, including three displaced fractures, as well as "cuts around his mouth".[23][24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bowks de la Rosa, M.V. (March 5, 2013). "Conway-Crittenden Duel". Central Arkansas Library System. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Amer, Mildred (March 14, 2002). "Members of the U.S. Congress Who Have Died of Other Than Natural Causes While in Office" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 10, 2011. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
  3. ^ "BAKER, Edward Dickinson, (1811 - 1861)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. United States Congress. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  4. ^ "Brig. Gen. Nathan George "Shanks" Evans". Marion County, SC in the War Between the States. Archived from the original on January 12, 2011. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  5. ^ "The Murder of Mr. Hamilton". The New York Times. December 26, 1867. Archived from the original on November 11, 2012. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
  6. ^ Foner, Eric (March 1989). Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863–1877. New York City: Harper & Row. p. 342. ISBN 978-0-06-093716-4. OCLC 48074168.
  7. ^ Stanton, Amanda. "James Hinds (1833–1868)". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. The Central Arkansas Library System. Archived from the original on June 15, 2010. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  8. ^ Nancy Marion; Willard Oliver (July 22, 2014). Killing Congress: Assassinations, Attempted Assassinations and Other Violence against Members of Congress. Lexington Books. pp. 17–27. ISBN 978-0-7391-8360-1.
  9. ^ "Congressman Pickney Shot in a Texas Riot". The New York Times. April 25, 1905. Archived from the original on November 11, 2012. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
  10. ^ "Huey Long's Assassination". Huey Long: The Man, His Mission, and Legacy. Long Legacy Project. Archived from the original on August 8, 2016. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
  11. ^ "KENNEDY, Robert Francis, (1925 - 1968)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. United States Congress. Archived from the original on July 30, 2008. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
  12. ^ United States House of Representatives; Foreign Affairs Committee (May 15, 1979). "Congressional Foreign Affairs Committee report on Ryan's assassination". Report of a Staff Investigative Group to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. United States Congress. Archived from the original on September 10, 2013.
  13. ^ Wilkes, Donald E. Jr. (September 3, 2003). "The Death Flight of Larry McDonald". Flagpole Magazine. pp. 7, 9. Archived from the original on April 8, 2011. Retrieved January 16, 2011.
  14. ^ Bennett, Kevin (September 14, 2016). "Newark Congressman once tried to shoot Sam Houston". Newark Advocate. Archived from the original on June 27, 2020. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  15. ^ Mitchell, Jennifer V. (2014) Civil War Treasures: Most Unfortunate Difficulty: Political Conflict in the Pre-Civil War Era Archived 2020-03-06 at the Wayback Machine. Civil War Book Review: Vol. 16 : Iss. 2. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  16. ^ "SUMNER, Charles, (1811 - 1874)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. United States Congress. Archived from the original on November 2, 2012. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
  17. ^ "Historical Highlights: Representative Lovell H. Rousseau assaults Representative Josiah B. Grinnell". Office of History and Preservation of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Archived from the original on January 7, 2010. Retrieved January 12, 2010.
  18. ^ Barone, Michael & Ujifusa, Grant (1993). The Almanac of American Politics 1994. Washington, D.C.: National Journal Group. p. 749. ISBN 0-89234-057-6. OCLC 32984467.
  19. ^ "One of 3 Suspects Pleads Guilty In Stennis Robbery and Shooting". The New York Times. April 20, 1972. Archived from the original on November 22, 2018. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  20. ^ "Senator From Mississippi Reported As Very Serious". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Associated Press. February 1, 1973. Archived from the original on December 23, 2020. Retrieved May 9, 2011.
  21. ^ Halloran, Liz (January 8, 2011). "'Vitriol' Cited As Possible Factor In Arizona Tragedy". NPR. Archived from the original on January 12, 2011. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
  22. ^ Hermann, Peter; Kane, Paul; Sullivan, Patricia (June 14, 2017). "Lawmaker Steve Scalise is critically injured in GOP baseball shooting; gunman James T. Hodgkinson is killed by police". Washington Post. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  23. ^ Chappell, Bill (November 6, 2017). "Sen. Rand Paul Recovering From 5 Broken Ribs After Assault". NPR. Archived from the original on November 6, 2017. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  24. ^ Griffiths, Brent D. (November 4, 2017). "Neighbor charged with assault after altercation with Rand Paul". Politico. Archived from the original on November 5, 2017. Retrieved November 5, 2017.

Further reading[edit]