List of assassinated American politicians

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This is a list of assassinated American politicians. Individuals listed were either elected or appointed to office, or were candidates for elected office.

Politician Portrait Party Year assassinated Office held when assassinated Site of assassination Method of assassination Name of assassin Suspected motive Ref
Arndt, Charles C. P.Charles C. P. Arndt Whig 1842 Wisconsin Territorial Legislator Madison, Wisconsin (in the Old Wisconsin State Capitol) gunshot Vineyard, James Russell Killed during an argument over a political appointment. [1]
Bent, CharlesCharles Bent CharlesBent-cropped.jpg 1847 Governor of New Mexico Territory Taos, New Mexico (in his home) arrows and scalping Romero, Tomás, Montoya, Pablo Targeted during Taos Revolt, a popular uprising against newly asserted US authority over region. [2]
Brown, DerwinDerwin Brown Democratic 2000 Sheriff-elect of DeKalb County, Georgia Decatur, Georgia (in his home) gunshot Cuffy, Patrick (a DeKalb County sheriff's deputy) Contract killing ordered by DeKalb County Sheriff Sidney Dorsey, who was defeated by Brown. [3]
Bunnell, VickieVickie Bunnell 1997 Colebrook, New Hampshire District Judge Colebrook, New Hampshire (outside her office) gunshot Carl Drega Targeted by assailant due to finding him guilty of code violations. [4]
Burks, TommyTommy Burks Democratic 1998 Tennessee State Senator Cumberland County, Tennessee (in his home) gunshot Looper, Byron (the incumbent Putnam County Assessor) Killed by his political opponent in 1998 State Senate race. [5]
Cardis, LouisLouis Cardis Democrat 1877 Texas State Representative El Paso, Texas gunshot Howard, Charles Killed as part of the San Elizario Salt War, a dispute over salt mining claims rooted in divisions between white and Hispanic settlers. [6]
Cermak, AntonAnton Cermak Anton Cermak cph.3b27410.jpg Democratic 1933 Mayor of Chicago Miami, Florida (while riding in a vehicle) gunshot to lung Zangara, Giuseppe Disputed; suspected of striking Cermak instead of intended target President-elect Franklin Roosevelt. [7]
Chaves, José FranciscoJosé Francisco Chaves JosFChaves.jpg Republican 1904 New Mexico Superintendent of Public Instruction Pinoswells, New Mexico gunshots (through the window of his home) unknown assailant unknown [8]
Clayton, John M.John M. Clayton John M. Clayton of Arkansas.jpg Republican 1889 Congressman-elect from Arkansas Plumerville, Arkansas gunshots (through the window of his home) unknown assailant Unknown, but killed in the context of a disputed, fraudulent election. [9]
Daronco, Richard J.Richard J. Daronco 1988 Judge, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York Pelham, New York (in his home) gunshot Koster, Charles Assailant was the father of a plaintiff whose harassment suit was dismissed by Daronco. [10]
Davis, James E.James E. Davis Democratic 2003 New York City Councilman New York City, New York (at City Hall) gunshots Askew, Othniel Killed by prospective challenger for 2003 Council special election. [11]
Denhardt, HenryHenry Denhardt HenryDenhardt.jpg Democratic 1937 Lieutenant Governor (former) of Kentucky Shelbyville, Kentucky (outside the Armstrong Hotel) gunshots Garr, E.S.; Garr, Roy Killed by brothers of his late fiancée who he was charged with murdering. [12]
Edwards , Louis F.Louis F. Edwards Democratic 1939 Mayor, Long Beach, New York Long Beach, New York (outside his home) gunshot Alvin Dooley Killed by a city police officer and member of his security detail, the former head of the local police union, after Edwards supported a rival who thwarted Dooley's reelection to his union post; the assailant also shot and wounded another mayoral bodyguard, the officer who had unseated him. [13]
Elliott, John MiltonJohn Milton Elliott Democrat 1879 Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Frankfort, Kentucky (after a conversation on a public street) gunshots Thomas Buford (an incumbent Henry County District Judge) Assailant was brother of a plaintiff who lost a farm after Elliott dismissed motion for stay of foreclosure. [14]
Garfield, James A.James A. Garfield James Abram Garfield, photo portrait seated.jpg Republican 1881 President of the United States Washington, D.C. (at railway station) gunshot to spine (death took three months) Guiteau, Charles Targeted after being rejected by Republican officials for a patronage appointment. [15]
Goebel, WilliamWilliam Goebel William Goebel circa 1889.jpg Democratic 1900 Governor of Kentucky Frankfort, Kentucky (outside Old State Capitol) gunshot to the chest Unknown political opponents Uncertain, but killed in the context of a disputed, fraudulent election. [16]
Gwatney, BillBill Gwatney Gwatney.jpg Democratic 2008 Chairman of Arkansas Democratic Party Little Rock, Arkansas (at his office at party headquarters) gunshots Johnson, Tim Timothy Dale Johnson; assailant was reported to have quit his job and become reclusive in days leading up to incident. [17]
Harrison, Sr., CarterCarter Harrison, Sr. Carter Harrison, Sr. - Brady-Handy.jpg Democratic 1893 Mayor of Chicago Chicago, Illinois (in his home) gunshot Prendergast, Patrick Eugene Killed after assailant was rejected for appointment to a patronage position. [citation needed]
Hasse, MarkMark Hasse Republican 2013 Assistant District Attorney for Kaufman County, Texas Kaufman, Texas (outside the County Courthouse) gunshot Williams, Eric Killed by former justice of the peace who was convicted of burglary while in office. [18]
Haughey, ThomasThomas Haughey Hon. Thomas Haughey, Ala. Surgeon, U.S. Army - NARA - 527423.jpg Republican 1869 Congressman from Alabama Courtland, Alabama (at a political rally) gunshot Collins (first name unknown) Assailant was a supporter of the target's rival for the Republican nomination for the Congressional race; both men exchanged verbal insults and engaged in fisticuffs before a weapon was brandished. [19]
Hindman, Thomas C.Thomas C. Hindman Hindman, Thomas Carmichael, 1828-1868-full.jpg Democratic 1868 Congressman (former) from Arkansas Helena, Arkansas (at his home) gunshots through window Unknown assailants Unknown; multiple theories proposed. [20]
Hinds, James M.James M. Hinds Republican 1868 Congressman from Arkansas Monroe County, Arkansas (while on horseback) gunshot Clark, George Killed by a Ku Klux Klan member as part of intimidation of Republican carpetbaggers. [21]
Holbrook, Edward DexterEdward Dexter Holbrook Democratic 1870 Delegate (former) to the United States House of Representatives from Idaho Territory Idaho City, Idaho (outside the County Courthouse) gunshot Douglas, Charles Killed by the brother-in-law of James Crutcher, as a result of a dispute between Holbrook and Crutcher for control of the Boise County Democratic Party. [22]
Jordan, LeonLeon Jordan Leon M. Jordan official photograph.jpg Democratic 1970 Missouri State Representative Kansas City, Missouri (outside a restaurant) gunshots Unknown Unknown, alleged to have been an organized crime contract killing [23]
Kennedy, John F.John F. Kennedy John F. Kennedy, White House color photo portrait.jpg Democratic 1963 President of the United States Dallas, Texas (while motorcading) gunshots Lee Harvey Oswald Unknown, but several theories proposed. [24]
Kennedy, Robert F.Robert F. Kennedy Robert F. Kennedy 1964.jpeg Democratic 1968 United States Senator from New York and candidate for Democratic presidential nomination Los Angeles, California (at the Ambassador Hotel) gunshot Sirhan Sirhan Targeted as a symbol of Western support for Israel in that country's conflict with Arab states. [25]
King, EdEd King 1986 Mayor of Mount Pleasant, Iowa Mount Pleasant, Iowa gunshot Davis, Ralph Killed during city council meeting; assailant had been in dispute with municipality over clogged sewer line. [26]
LeBreton, GeorgeGeorge LeBreton 1844 Oregon Secretary of State Oregon City, Oregon (in his office) gunshots Cockstock Killed by a Native American as part of resistance to white settlement in the area. [27]
Lincoln, AbrahamAbraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln head on shoulders photo portrait.jpg Republican 1865 President of the United States Washington, DC. (Ford's Theatre) gunshot Booth, John Wilkes, a renowned stage actor Assailant was a Confederate sympathizer. [28]
Lloyd, Sr., Russell G.Russell G. Lloyd, Sr. Republican 1980 Mayor (former) of Evansville, Indiana Evansville, Indiana gunshot van Orden, Julia Assailant suffered from mental illness and believed she was being harassed by the city; apparently targeted Lloyd under mistaken belief that he was incumbent mayor. [29]
Long, HueyHuey Long HueyPLongGesture.jpg Democratic 1935 United States Senator and presidential candidate from Louisiana Baton Rouge, Louisiana (inside the State Capitol) gunshots Carl Weiss Uncertain, but Weiss was affiliated with a political family that opposed Long's machine. [30]
Lowenstein, Allard K.Allard K. Lowenstein AllardLowenstein.jpg Democratic 1980 Congressman (former) from New York New York City, New York (in his office) gunshots Sweeney, Dennis Assailant had a history of mental illness and believed Lowenstein had been plotting against him since their acquaintance at Stanford University. [31]
McCook, Edwin StantonEdwin Stanton McCook Edwin Stanton McCook photograph.JPG Republican 1873 Governor of Dakota Territory Yankton, Dakota Territory (at a saloon which was being used for a public meeting) gunshot Wintermute, Peter Target and assailant had initially engaged in fisticuffs over issue of financing the Dakota Southern Railroad; after feeling publicly humiliated by loss in this fight, assailant returned with pistol. [32]
McKinley, WilliamWilliam McKinley William McKinley by Courtney Art Studio, 1896.jpg Republican 1901 President of the United States Buffalo, New York (at Pan-American Exposition) gunshot Czolgosz, Leon Assailant was aligned with anarchist movement and killed target as symbol of American inequality. [33]
McLelland, MikeMike McLelland Republican 2013 District Attorney for Kaufman County, Texas Forney, Texas (in his home) gunshot Williams, Eric Killed by former justice of the peace who was convicted of burglary while in office. [18]
Milk, HarveyHarvey Milk Harvey Milk in 1978 at Mayor Moscone's Desk crop.jpg Democratic 1978 San Francisco City Supervisor San Francisco, California (in his City Hall office) gunshots White, Dan, outgoing San Francisco City Supervisor Assailant had recently resigned from office due to financial difficulties; he soon changed his mind and sought reappointment; Moscone denied this request upon the advice of Milk. [34]
Moscone, GeorgeGeorge Moscone Democratic 1978 Mayor of San Francisco San Francisco, California (in his City Hall office) gunshots Assailant had recently resigned from office due to financial difficulties; he soon changed his mind and sought reappointment; Moscone denied this request upon the advice of Milk. [34]
Patterson, AlbertAlbert Patterson Democratic 1954 Alabama Attorney General-elect Phenix City, Alabama (walking to his vehicle) gunshots Unknown Target had been elected on promise to crack down on organized crime in the state, which was strongly rooted in Phenix City [35]
Pinckney, Clementa C.Clementa C. Pinckney Democratic 2015 State senator from South Carolina Charleston, South Carolina (at church) gunshots Roof, Dylann Killed in a mass shooting while leading his church congregation. [36][37][38]
Pinckney, John M.John M. Pinckney John M. Pinckney.jpg Democratic 1905 Congressman from Texas Hempstead, Texas gunshots Unknown Killed during riot instigated by opponents of alcohol prohibition. [39]
Ramsay, DavidDavid Ramsay David Ramsay (1749-1815).jpg 1815 South Carolina State Senator and former Continental Congressman Charleston, South Carolina gunshots Linnen, William Assailant retaliated after target had deemed him insane during criminal court inquiry. [40]
Roll, JohnJohn Roll Chief Judge John Roll.jpg 2011 Judge, U.S. District Court, District of Arizona Tucson, Arizona gunshots Loughner, Jared Lee Apparently caught in crossfire as assailant sought to assassinate (and succeeded in wounding) Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords; assailant militantly opposed government authority. [41]
Romero, TomásTomás Romero 1848 Alcalde of Taos Pueblo Taos, New Mexico (while imprisoned) gunshots John Fitzgerald Killed following capture for inciting Taos Revolt; assailant retaliating for his brother's death in this uprising. [2]
Ryan, LeoLeo Ryan Leo Ryan.jpg Democratic 1978 Congressman from California Port Kaituma, Guyana (on airport tarmac) gunshots Unknown members of the People's Temple Ambushed while investigating allegations of human rights abuses at the Jonestown compound. [42]
Slough, John P.John P. Slough John potts slough.jpg Democratic 1867 Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court Santa Fe, New Mexico (at his office) gunshot Rynerson, William (an incumbent Territorial Legislator) Killed after a public dispute in which each official accused the other of corruption. [43]
Sharp, Solomon P.Solomon P. Sharp Solomon P Sharp.jpg Democratic-Republican 1825 Kentucky Attorney General, Kentucky State Senator-elect Home in Frankfort, Kentucky Stabbed (at his home) Beauchamp, Jereboam O. Killed over a longstanding dispute that was based partially on political differences and partially on Sharp fathering a child with the woman Beauchamp later married. [44]
Smith, JosephJoseph Smith Joseph Smith, Jr. portrait owned by Joseph Smith III.jpg 1844 Mayor of Nauvoo, Illinois, candidate for U.S. President Carthage, Illinois (while imprisoned) Shot The Carthage Greys Founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or Mormon faith; June 27, 1844, an anti-Mormon mob murdered Joseph and his brother Hyrum while they were being held in a Carthage jail. [45]


Stephens, John W.John W. Stephens Republican 1870 North Carolina State Senator Yanceyville, North Carolina (in the County Courthouse) gunshots Unknown, mobbed by estimated 8 to 12 men Killed by Ku Klux Klan member as part of intimidation of Republican scalawags. [47]
Steunenberg, FrankFrank Steunenberg Franksteunenberg.jpg Democratic 1905 Governor (former) of Idaho Caldwell, Idaho (outside his home) Bomb, set at front gate of his home Orchard, Harry, possibly others Targeted by organized labor for breaking a violent mining strike. [48]
Strang, JamesJames Strang James Strang daguerreotype (1856).jpg Democratic 1856 Michigan State Representative Beaver Island, Michigan (at a steamship terminal) gunshot Bedford, Thomas Killed by a disgruntled former member of the Mormon sect led by Strang. [49]
Swoboda, MikeMike Swoboda 2008 Mayor of Kirkwood, Missouri Kirkwood, Missouri (during a city council meeting) Gunshot (died seven months later from complications)


Charles Lee "Cookie" Thornton Assailant retaliated for fines levied by municipality for code violations. [51]
Thornton, JohnJohn Thornton 2010 Mayor of Washington Park, IL Washington Park, Illinois (in his vehicle) gunshot Jackson, Aaron Unknown; assailant was allegedly a passenger in target's car. [52]


Vance, Robert SmithRobert Smith Vance 1989 Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit Mountain Brook, Alabama (in his home) mail bomb Moody, Walter Leroy, Jr. Killed after court refused to expunge from assailant's record a previous conviction for explosives possession. [54]
Wood, Samuel NewittSamuel Newitt Wood Samuel Newitt Wood.jpg Republican 1891 Kansas Territorial Legislator, Kansas State Senator Hugoton, Kansas (outside County Courthouse) gunshots Brennan, James Killed during series of armed conflicts in which residents of the two largest towns of Stevens County fought for county seat status. [55]
Wood, Jr., John H.John H. Wood, Jr. 1979 Judge, U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas San Antonio, Texas (outside his home) gunshot Harrelson, Charles Contract killing ordered by Jamiel Chagra due to target's harsh convictions of Latin American drug kingpins. [56]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 'Wisconsin's Saddest Tragedy,' M.M. Qualife, Wisconsin Historical Society: 1922, vol 15, no. 5, pg. 264–283
  2. ^ a b Durand, John, The Taos Massacres, Puzzlebox Press, Elkhorn, WI 2004
  3. ^ "Former Sheriff Guilty in Successor's Killing". The New York Times. July 11, 2002. 
  4. ^ "A TIME BOMB EXPLODES". Time. September 1, 1997. 
  5. ^ "Looper, Byron". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  6. ^ "CARDIS, LOUIS | The Handbook of Texas Online| Texas State Historical Association (TSHA)". Retrieved August 18, 2016. 
  7. ^ Kendall, Peter. "The shooting of Anton Cermak". Chicago Tribune. 
  8. ^ "New Mexico Office of the State Historian | people". Retrieved August 18, 2016. 
  9. ^ Barnes, Kenneth. "John Middleton Clayton (1840–1889)". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. 
  10. ^ "Slain Judge Ruled Against His Killer's Daughter". The New York Times. May 23, 1988. 
  11. ^ "Killer Competition". 
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ "15 Nov 1939, Page 1 - The Brooklyn Daily Eagle at". 
  14. ^ Lewis Franklin Johnson. "Famous Kentucky Tragedies and Trials: A Collection of Important and ...". p. 205. Retrieved August 18, 2016. 
  15. ^ "President Garfield's Assassin: Charles Guiteau's Time in Washington - Ghosts of DC". Ghosts of DC. January 25, 2012. 
  16. ^ "goebel". Retrieved August 18, 2016. 
  17. ^ "Arkansas News Bureau - Gwatney's widow to serve as superdelegate at Democratic convention". Archived from the original on September 24, 2008. 
  18. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 2, 2013. Retrieved April 1, 2013. 
  19. ^ Nancy E. Marion; Willard Oliver (July 22, 2014). "Killing Congress: Assassinations, Attempted Assassinations and Other ...". p. 18. Retrieved August 18, 2016. 
  20. ^ Neal, Diane (1997). The Lion of the South: General Thomas C. Hindman. Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press. ISBN 0-86554-556-1. 
  21. ^ "James Hinds (1833–1868)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved August 18, 2016. 
  22. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 25, 2014. Retrieved December 25, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 2, 2010. Retrieved February 19, 2012. 
  24. ^ "AARC Public Library - HSCA Final Assassinations Report". ASSASSINATION ARCHIVES. 
  25. ^ "Palestinian terror stretches back to RFK killing at the Ambassador Hotel - Opinion". Jewish Journal. 
  26. ^ "American Notes Revenge". Time. December 22, 1986. Retrieved August 16, 2008. 
  27. ^ "Oregon Secretary of State: That Trail's Gone Cold!". Retrieved August 18, 2016. 
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  29. ^ "View Article". Retrieved August 18, 2016. 
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  33. ^ "McKinley Assassination Ink: A Documentary History of William McKinley's Assassination". Retrieved August 18, 2016. 
  34. ^ a b Mike Weiss, Double Play: The Hidden Passions Behind the Double Assassination of George Moscone and Harvey Milk (San Francisco: Vince Emery Productions, 2010) pp. 213-216, 474.
  35. ^ "Albert L. Patterson". Encyclopedia of Alabama. 
  36. ^ "Tragedy strikes Charleston, South Carolina". MSNBC. June 17, 2015. Retrieved June 17, 2015. 
  37. ^ "Nine dead after 'hate crime' shooting at Emanuel AME". Post and Courier. 
  38. ^ "Nine shot, multiple fatalities reported in downtown church shooting". The Post And Courier. June 17, 2015. Retrieved June 17, 2015. 
  39. ^ "Members of the U.S. Congress Who Have Died of Other Than Natural Causes While in Office" (PDF). Retrieved August 18, 2016. 
  40. ^ The Analectic Magazine, September 1815 (collected in Volume 6), "Biographical Memoir of David Ramsay, M.D." (by Robert Y. Hayne but uncredited in source), p. 224.
  41. ^ Jijo Jacob. "Who is Jared Lee Loughner?". International Business Times. 
  42. ^ Reiterman, Tim; Jacobs, John (1982). Raven: The Untold Story of Rev. Jim Jones and His People. Dutton. ISBN 0-525-24136-1. 
  43. ^ Death Comes for the Chief Justice (1992) by Gary L. Roberts, p. 70.
  44. ^ Cooke, J.W. (January 1998). "The Life and Death of Colonel Solomon P. Sharp Part 1: Uprightness and Inventions; Snares and Nets" (PDF). The Filson Club Quarterly. 72 (1). 
  45. ^ "Joseph Smith: Campaign for President of the United States" (2009) by Arnold K. Garr.
  46. ^ "American Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church" (2014) by Alex Beam.
  47. ^ "LIFE IN NORTH CAROLINA. - The Murder of Senator John W. Stephens A Terrible Scene Shall His Assassins Be Amnestied?". The New York Times. February 26, 1873. 
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  49. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 21, 2013. Retrieved December 25, 2014. 
  50. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 8, 2008. Retrieved September 6, 2008. 
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  54. ^ "Roy Moore, Bob Vance face off in Alabama chief justice race". 
  55. ^ Memorial of Samuel N. Wood (1892) by Margaret Lyon Wood
  56. ^ "1979 Killing Called 'Attack on System' : 'Traumatic' Murder of Judge Recalled". latimes.