September 6, 1901: Leon Czolgosz fatally shoots President William McKinley.
Less than half a year after being sworn into office for the second time, William McKinley travelled to Buffalo, New York, for the Pan-American World’s Fair Exposition. It was there, at the Temple of Music concert hall, that an anarchist named Leon Czolgosz shot the President twice with a concealed revolver as he greeted the public. Before he could shoot a third time, men standing in line nearby and McKinley’s security struck Czolgosz and began to beat him (McKinley, himself unable to stand, ordered the beating stopped).
One of the bullets did not penetrate McKinley’s skin; instead, it fell out of his coat, and the President, upon seeing it, remarked “I believe that is a bullet.” For several days after the shooting, McKinley seemed to be making a recovery, but this was short-lived. Around a week later, the developing gangrene in his stomach began taking effect, and the President died on the morning of September 14. When Theodore Roosevelt arrived in Buffalo later that day, he was sworn in almost immediately at a makeshift inauguration site.
Leon Czolgosz was sentenced unanimously to death in late September and executed in October. His last words were reportedly: “I killed the President because he was the enemy of the good people – the good working people…I am not sorry for my crime”.