Presidential Assassination Attempts Mapped

It’s been 34 years since John Hinckley attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan, then less than three months into his presidency. Outside the Washington, D.C., Hilton Hotel on March 30, 1981, Hinckley fired six shots in less than two seconds. Reagan was injured on a ricochet, but Secretary of State James Brady and two others were hit directly. While this story is well known in the United States, other assassination attempts before and after it are not as common knowledge. The map below shows 18 acts, four of which ended in the death of a president.

View US President Assassination Attempts in a full screen map

The assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy are much researched and discussed. The other two are lesser known. James Garfield was shot while at the Washington, D.C., train station on his way to a vacation. Garfield was shot in the shoulder and back, living 11 weeks afterward.

William McKinley was attending a World’s Fair in Buffalo, New York, when he was shot by an anarchist. Unlike Lincoln or Garfield, McKinley had Secret Service detail. In fact, because of the public nature of the visit to the fair, the president had three rather than the usual single bodyguard. Wounded in the abdomen, McKinley died just over a week later.

McKinley was succeeded by Theodore Roosevelt, who would survive his own assassination attempt. While running for an unprecedented third term, Roosevelt was shot in the chest before a campaign stop in Milwaukee. The bullet first hit his glasses case and his 50-page speech, then lodged in his ribcage. Undeterred, Roosevelt gave a 90 minute speech to the crowd, but came in a distant second in the polls a month later.

A whopping 11 of the assassination attempts happened in D.C., including at the White House itself. The most recent, in 2011, involved a man shooting at the presidential home. Someone had the same idea in 1994, with President Clinton safely inside.

While there have been several international plots, there has only been one serious attempt outside of the US. In 2005, a Georgian threw a live grenade toward the podium during George W. Bush’s speech in Georgia (the country). It did not detonate, though the pin was pulled.

Other attempts include Gerald Ford in California (twice in one month) and President-elect Franklin Roosevelt in Miami. For more, peruse the map icons. Look out for icons that represent more than one assassination attempt, with their contents pageable.