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List of assassinated American politicians

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
Charles C. P. Arndt Whig 1842 Wisconsin Territorial Legislator Madison, Wisconsin (in the Old Wisconsin State Capitol) gunshot James Russell Vineyard Killed during an argument over a political appointment. [1]
Elisha G. Johnson Elisha Graham Johnson, Florida Senator.jpg Republican 1875 Florida State Senator Near Lake City, Florida or Fernandina, Florida gunshot Unknown Break 12–12 tie in Florida Senate. Murder of Elisha G. Johnson
Charles Bent CharlesBent-cropped.jpg 1847 Governor of New Mexico Territory Taos, New Mexico (in his home) arrows and scalping Tomás Romero; Pablo Montoya Targeted during Taos Revolt, a popular uprising against newly asserted US authority over region. [2]
Derwin Brown Democratic 2000 Sheriff-elect of DeKalb County, Georgia Decatur, Georgia (in his home) gunshot Patrick Cuff (a DeKalb County sheriff's deputy) Contract killing ordered by DeKalb County Sheriff Sidney Dorsey, who was defeated by Brown [3]
Vickie 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]
Tommy Burks Democratic 1998 Tennessee State Senator Cumberland County, Tennessee (in his home) gunshot Byron Looper (the incumbent Putnam County Assessor) Killed by his political opponent in 1998 State Senate race [5]
Louis Cardis Democrat 1877 Texas State Representative El Paso, Texas gunshot Charles Howard Killed as part of the San Elizario Salt War, a dispute over salt mining claims rooted in divisions between white and Hispanic settlers [6]
Anton Cermak Anton Cermak cph.3b27410.jpg Democratic 1933 Mayor of Chicago Miami, Florida (while riding in a vehicle) gunshot to lung Giuseppe Zangara Disputed; suspected of striking Cermak instead of intended target President-elect Franklin Roosevelt [7]
José 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]
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 election [9]
Richard J. Daronco 1988 Judge, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York Pelham, New York (in his home) gunshot Charles Koster Assailant was the father of a plaintiff whose harassment suit was dismissed by Daronco. [10]
James E. Davis Democratic 2003 New York City Councilman New York City, New York (at City Hall) gunshots Othniel Askew Killed by prospective challenger for 2003 Council special election [11]
Henry Denhardt HenryDenhardt.jpg Democratic 1937 Lieutenant Governor (former) of Kentucky Shelbyville, Kentucky (outside the Armstrong Hotel) gunshots E.S. Garr; Roy Garr Killed by brothers of his late fiancée whom he was charged with murdering [12]
Louis F. Edwards Democratic 1939 Mayor, Long Beach, New York Long Beach, New York (outside his home) gunshot Alvin Dooley Edwards' political influence thwarted Dooley's re-election to post in a union [13]
John 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]
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) Charles J. Guiteau Targeted after being rejected by Republican officials for a patronage appointment [15]
William 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]
Bill Gwatney Democratic 2008 Chairman of Arkansas Democratic Party Little Rock, Arkansas (at his office at party headquarters) gunshots Tim Johnson Timothy Dale Johnson; assailant was reported to have quit his job and become reclusive in days leading up to incident [17]
Carter Harrison, Sr. Carter Harrison, Sr. - Brady-Handy.jpg Democratic 1893 Mayor of Chicago Chicago, Illinois (in his home) gunshot Patrick Eugene Prendergast Killed after assailant was rejected for appointment to a patronage position. [18]
Mark Hasse Republican 2013 Assistant District Attorney for Kaufman County, Texas Kaufman, Texas (outside the County Courthouse) gunshot Eric Williams Killed by former justice of the peace who was convicted of burglary while in office [19]
Thomas 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 [20]
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. [21]
James M. Hinds James M. Hinds (cropped).jpg Republican 1868 Congressman from Arkansas Monroe County, Arkansas (while on horseback) gunshot George Clark Killed by a Ku Klux Klan member as part of intimidation of Republican carpetbaggers [22]
Edward Dexter Holbrook Edward Dexter Holbrook (Idaho Congressman).png Democratic 1870 Delegate (former) to the United States House of Representatives from Idaho Territory Idaho City, Idaho (outside the County Courthouse) gunshot Charles Douglas 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 [23]
Leon Jordan Democratic 1970 Missouri State Representative Kansas City, Missouri (outside a restaurant) gunshots Unknown Unknown, alleged to have been an organized crime contract killing [24]
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 Disputed [25]
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 the Arab–Israeli conflict [26]
Edward M. "Edd" King 1986 Mayor of Mount Pleasant, Iowa Mount Pleasant, Iowa gunshot Ralph Davis Killed during city council meeting; assailant had been in dispute with municipality over clogged sewer line [27][28]
George LeBreton 1844 Oregon Secretary of State Oregon City, Oregon (in his office) gunshots Cockstock Killed by an Indian as part of Indian resistance to white settlement in the area [29]
Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln head on shoulders photo portrait.jpg Republican 1865 President of the United States Washington, DC. (Ford's Theatre) gunshot John Wilkes Booth, a renowned stage actor Assailant was a Confederate sympathizer [30]
Russell G. Lloyd, Sr. Republican 1980 Mayor (former) of Evansville, Indiana Evansville, Indiana gunshot Julia van Orden Assailant suffered from mental illness and believed that she was being harassed by the city; apparently targeted Lloyd under mistaken belief that he was incumbent mayor [31]
Huey 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 [32]
Allard K. Lowenstein AllardLowenstein.jpg Democratic 1980 Congressman (former) from New York New York City (in his office) gunshots Dennis Sweeney Assailant had a history of mental illness and believed that Lowenstein had been plotting against him since their acquaintance at Stanford University [33]
Edwin 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 Peter Wintermute Target and assailant had initially engaged in a fistfight over issue of financing the Dakota Southern Railroad; assailant returned with pistol feeling publicly humiliated by loss in this fight [34]
William McKinley William McKinley by Courtney Art Studio, 1896.jpg Republican 1901 President of the United States Buffalo, New York (at Pan-American Exposition) gunshot Leon Czolgosz Assailant was aligned with anarchist movement and killed target as symbol of American inequality [35]
Mike McLelland Republican 2013 District Attorney for Kaufman County, Texas Forney, Texas (in his home) gunshot Eric Williams Killed by former justice of the peace who was convicted of burglary while in office [19]
Harvey 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 Dan White, 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 [36]
George Moscone Democratic 1978 Mayor of San Francisco San Francisco, California (in his City Hall office) gunshots [36]
Albert 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 [37]
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 [38]
David Ramsay David Ramsay (1749-1815).jpg 1815 South Carolina State Senator and former Continental Congressman Charleston, South Carolina gunshots William Linnen Assailant retaliated after target had deemed him insane during criminal court inquiry [39]
George Lincoln Rockwell George Lincoln Rockwell.jpg American Nazi Party 1967 Virginia gubernatorial candidate Arlington, Virginia gunshots John Patler Assailant was angered by Rockwell expelling him from the American Nazi Party [40]
John Roll Chief Judge John Roll.jpg 2011 Judge, U.S. District Court, District of Arizona Tucson, Arizona gunshots Jared Lee Loughner Apparently caught in crossfire as assailant sought to assassinate Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords; assailant opposed government authority [41]
Tomás 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]
Leo 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]
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 William Ryerson (an incumbent Territorial Legislator) Killed after a public dispute in which each accused the other of corruption [43]
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) Jereboam O. Beauchamp Killed over a long-standing dispute that was based partially on political differences and partially on Sharp fathering a child with the woman whom Beauchamp later married [44]
Joseph 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]


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 Republicans [47]
Frank Steunenberg Franksteunenberg.jpg Democratic 1905 Governor (former) of Idaho Caldwell, Idaho (outside his home) bomb (set at front gate of his home) Harry Orchard; possibly others Killed by a mining company informant in an attempt to cast blame on a labor union [48]
James Strang James Strang daguerreotype (1856).jpg Democratic 1856 Michigan State Representative Beaver Island, Michigan (at a steamship terminal) gunshot Thomas Bedford Killed by a disgruntled former member of the Mormon sect led by Strang [49]
Mike 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]
John Thornton 2010 Mayor of Washington Park, IL Washington Park, Illinois (in his vehicle) gunshot Aaron Jackson Unknown; assailant was allegedly a passenger in target's car [52]


Robert Smith Vance 1989 Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit Mountain Brook, Alabama (in his home) mail bomb Walter Leroy Moody, Jr. Killed after court refused to expunge a previous conviction from assailant's record for explosives possession [54]
Samuel Newitt Wood Samuel Newitt Wood.jpg Republican 1891 Kansas Territorial Legislator, Kansas State Senator Hugoton, Kansas (outside County Courthouse) gunshots James Brennan Killed during series of armed conflicts in which residents of the two largest towns of Stevens County, Kansas fought for county seat status [55]
John H. Wood, Jr. 1979 Judge, U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas San Antonio, Texas (outside his home) gunshot Charles Harrelson Contract killing ordered by Jamiel Chagra due to target's harsh convictions of Latin American drug kingpins [56]
John Gallagher Montgomery Democratic 1857 Congressman from Pennsylvania's 12th district Washington, D.C. food poisoning Unknown (disputed) Died from a food poisoning incident which came to be known as the National Hotel disease [57]
John A. Quitman John Quitman Democratic 1858 Congressman from Mississippi's 5th district Washington, D.C. food poisoning Unknown (disputed) Died from a food poisoning incident which came to be known as the National Hotel disease [57]
Cornelius S. Hamilton Cornelius S. Hamilton ( Republic 1867 Congressman from Ohio's 8th district Marysville, Ohio bludgeoned to death Thomas Hamilton Insanity [57][58]

See alsoEdit


  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]
  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. ^ Farrell, John A., Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned, Doubleday, New York, 2011 p.56
  19. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 2, 2013. Retrieved April 1, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ Nancy E. Marion; Willard Oliver (July 22, 2014). "Killing Congress: Assassinations, Attempted Assassinations and Other ..." p. 18. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  21. ^ Neal, Diane (1997). The Lion of the South: General Thomas C. Hindman. Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press. ISBN 0-86554-556-1.
  22. ^ "James Hinds (1833â€"1868)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  23. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 25, 2014. Retrieved December 25, 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 2, 2010. Retrieved February 19, 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ "AARC Public Library - HSCA Final Assassinations Report". ASSASSINATION ARCHIVES.
  26. ^ "Palestinian terror stretches back to RFK killing at the Ambassador Hotel - Opinion". Jewish Journal.
  27. ^ "American Notes Revenge". Time. December 22, 1986. Retrieved August 16, 2008.
  28. ^ Malcolm, Andrew H. (December 12, 1986). "KILLING IN COUNCIL CHAMBER STUNS CITY IN RURAL IOWA". New York Times (December 12, 1986). New York Times. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  29. ^ "Oregon Secretary of State: Secretaries of State Biographical Sketches, 1841-Present". Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  30. ^ Kauffman, Michael W. (2005). American Brutus. Random House Digital. p. 185. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  31. ^ "View Article". Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  32. ^ "Huey Long's Assassination - Who Killed Huey Long". September 10, 1935. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  33. ^ William Henry Chafe. "Never Stop Running: Allard Lowenstein and the Struggle to Save American ..." Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  34. ^ Thomas E. Simmons. "Territorial Justice under Fire: The Trials of Peter Wintermute, 1873-1875". Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  35. ^ "McKinley Assassination Ink: A Documentary History of William McKinley's Assassination". Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  36. ^ 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.
  37. ^ "Albert L. Patterson". Encyclopedia of Alabama.
  38. ^ "Members of the U.S. Congress Who Have Died of Other Than Natural Causes While in Office" (PDF). Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  39. ^ 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.
  40. ^ Miller, Michael E. (December 16, 2018). "The shadow of an assassinated American Nazi commander hangs over Charlottesville". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  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?" (PDF). The New York Times. February 26, 1873.
  48. ^ "Idaho Meanderings: "The Gate on 16th Avenue" - A Century Ago and Today". January 30, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  49. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 21, 2013. Retrieved December 25, 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  50. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 8, 2008. Retrieved September 6, 2008.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  51. ^ "6 dead in shooting rampage at Kirkwood City Council". St. Louis Post Dispatch. February 7, 2008. Archived from the original on February 8, 2008. Retrieved February 7, 2008.
  52. ^ "| Mayor of Troubled Illinois Town Is Slain.Park Mayor John Thornton Killed
  53. ^ Spriggs, Afton. "Mayor of Washington Park found shot to death, 1 person in custody Archived April 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine." KMOV. April 1, 2010. Retrieved on April 1, 2010.
  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.
  57. ^ a b c Amer, Mildred (March 14, 2002). "Members of the U.S. Congress Who Have Died of Other Than Natural Causes While in Office" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
  58. ^ "The Murder of Mr. Hamilton". The New York Times. December 26, 1867. Retrieved January 12, 2011.