The Assassination of James Garfield
(Saturday, July 2, 1881, 9:30 a.m. ET) — U.S. President James A. Garfield, leaving for his summer vacation, was shot today by Charles J. Guiteau, an attorney with a history of mental illness, at the Washington railroad station. As the president entered the waiting room of the station, Guiteau stepped forward and pulled the trigger from behind at point-blank range.
“My God, what is that?” Garfield cried out, flinging up his arms. Guiteau fired again and Garfield collapsed. One bullet grazed Garfield’s shoulder; the other lodged in his spine in the first lumbar vertebra but missing the spinal cord.