Time and History 4:07 P.M. William McKinley Assassinated

About major and minor historical events around the clock such as the assassination of President William McKinley at 4:07 in the afternoon.


4:07 in the Afternoon

Sept. 6, 1901. As U.S. President William McKinley passed along a line of well-wishers in the Temple of Music at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, a 28-year-old anarchist named Leon Czolgosz (pronounced chol'gosh) stepped forward and pumped two bullets into the Chief Executive. One struck the President's breastbone while the other zipped through the left side of his abdomen, perforating both the front and rear walls of the stomach and lodging itself somewhere in the gristle of his back muscles. Czolgosz had fired from such a short range--about 3 ft.-- that the gunpowder stained McKinley's vest. Eight men leaped on the tiny Czolgosz and began to beat him. Just before McKinley collapsed he said, "Be easy with him, boys."

The President was rushed by ambulance to an emergency hospital, where surgeons struggled in vain to locate the bullet. The medical team finally settled for suturing the stomach walls and closing the abdominal wound. McKinley died eight days later. When police interrogated Czolgosz and asked for his name, he replied, "Fred Nieman--Fred Noboby--Nobody killed the President." When he was brought before the Supreme Court, he pleaded guilty. The judge refused to accept the plea, and an understandably confused Czolgosz was forced to plead not guilty. It made no difference for he was executed anyway. One of the men who had jumped on Czolgosz later said, "We thumped him and slapped his face, and I took a knife out of my pocket and started to cut his throat, but he never flinched. Gamest man I ever saw in my life."

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