Assassination Attempts: George C. Wallace Alabama Governor Part 1

About the assassination of Alabama governor George C. Wallace, biography and history of the presidential candidate.

The Victim: GEORGE C. WALLACE, the governor of Alabama, and a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 1972 presidential election.

The Date: May 15, 1972.

The Event: On a sunny afternoon in Laurel, Md., at the Laurel Shopping Center, George Wallace delivered a campaign speech to a crowd assembled in the adjacent parking lot. After the speech, Wallace stepped from behind the bulletproof podium from which he had been speaking and moved out among the people to shake hands. A young man with short blond hair called to the governor several times. "Hey George, over here!" he shouted.

As George Wallace approached the people near the man, the blond youth suddenly fired a fusillade of shots toward Wallace, hitting him several times. The gunman, Arthur Herman Bremer, was grabbed almost immediately, and in the ensuing struggle, he emptied his weapon.

Three others were injured by Bremer's bullets. Capt. E. C. Dothard of the Alabama State Highway Patrol, who was severely wounded in the chest, survived. He was Wallace's personal security officer. Another bullet struck Secret Service agent Nicholas Zorvas in the throat, causing serious injury. The 3rd victim was a young volunteer campaign worker, Mrs. Dora Thompson, who was wounded in the knee.

As George Wallace lay on the hot pavement, his wife Cornelia emerged from the Equitable Trust Bank across the parking lot and fell weeping on her stricken husband. Minutes later, the authorities helped her from the scene, as a medical team took charge of the victims. Arthur Bremer was roughly led away by State and local police officials.

Wallace was taken to Holy Cross Hospital in nearby Silver Spring, where he was placed under the care of Dr. Joseph Schanno. Later Dr. Schanno reported that the Alabama governor had been shot at least 4 times. Two bullets were recovered during the immediate emergency operation. The medical team was able to control hemorrhaging and repair damage done to the intestine and intestinal ligaments. The thorax, or chest cavity, was also perforated by a bullet, and paralysis is still plaguing Gov. George Wallace due to a bullet which lodged near the spinal column.

Although Wallace was running as a Democratic hopeful at the time of the assassination attempt, it was no secret that he fully intended to run for President of the U.S. as an American Independent if he was not nominated by the Democrats, as it appeared he would not be.

A poll taken one week before the final election asked potential voters whom they would have voted for had George Wallace not dropped out of the race after he was shot. The results were: Nixon, 44%; McGovern, 41%; Wallace, 15%. Wallace had been Nixon's big stumbling block. The election probably would have been sent to the House of Representatives, where Wallace would have had considerable bargaining power. As it was, almost all of Wallace's supporters shifted their votes to Richard Nixon, enabling him to win a landslide victory in November.

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