Attack on the Capitol Results in 5 Congressmen Shot


Independence Movement Sparks Attack

The Puerto Rican independence movement was a major force in the United States for decades starting after the Spanish American War in 1898.  There were multiple terrorist type attacks from individuals supporting the cause of freedom for Puerto Rico.

 In 1950, two supporters of Puerto Rican independence attempted to kill President Truman (as detailed here in an earlier article).  Throughout the 1970s there were multiple bombings in New York and Chicago to draw attention to the movement.  This included the 1975 bombing of Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan which killed four people.  On New Year’s Eve 1982 a series of bombs detonated in New York City including one at Police Headquarters.  Three NYPD cops were seriously injured. 

Perhaps the most audacious attack came on March 1, 1954.  The attack was led by Lolita Lebron, a 34 year old revolutionary.  She was accompanied by Raphael Cancel Miranda, Irvin Flores, and Andres Figueroa Cordero. The four took a train from New York to Washington DC.  There they were able to sneak three pistols into the United States Capitol Building.  It wasn’t hard.  There were very few security protocols back then and they essentially just walked in. 

They made their way to the viewing gallery above the House of Representatives and sat down.   After praying for the success of the mission, they began their attack.  A Puerto Rican flag was unfurled as gunfire erupted in the chamber.  

Lebron and Miranda let loose a barrage of about 30 shots.  Cordero had the other gun, but it jammed.  When the firing was over five congressmen lay bleeding on the House floor.   The perps made a mad dash in an attempt to flee, but three were caught immediately by bystanders and Capitol Police.  The fourth was apprehended later in the day.

Congressman Alvin Bentley, Clifford Davis, Ben Jensen, George Fallon, and Kenneth Roberts were all struck.  Bentley nearly died, but all eventually recovered.  The perps were tried and convicted of various crimes including attempted murder and conspiracy.  In 1979 President Carter commuted the sentences of the attackers. 

CNN was not founded until 1980 and therefore missed the opportunity to cover this Capitol attack every day for years and years.



Related Posts
Twitter Feed
Load More

Subscribe to The Ops Desk Newsletter:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore