2/15/1933 - Born in Ferruzzano, Calabria, Italy, thirty-two-year-old naturalized citizen Guiseppe Zangara decides since he is having a miserable life, why shouldn't someone else ... many someones in fact, someones like the friends and family of newly elected President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His method of evening things out will be assassination.
The 32nd President of the United States
An unemployed bricklayer and anarchist that believes "the rich" should be killed, Zangara suffers from severe abdominal pains, mental delusions, and the hates that come with a Napoleonic Complex based on his slight stature of five-feet-nothing and one-hundred-five pounds. The future president is a big hate and when the maniac finds out that he will soon be giving an impromptu speech at Miami's Bayfront Park, he joins the crowd and waits for his moment.
Taking some much needed time off from the political grind before his scheduled inauguration on March, 4th, Roosevelt is freshly returned from twelve days of fishing on Vincent Astor's yacht, Nourmahal, when his motorcade makes its way into the city. A warm evening, the park filled with flags and illuminated by red, white, and blue lights, music from an American Legion drum and bugle corps filling the air, everything is in place for Miami to welcome the next president ... unfortunately however, one of the 25,000 people in the park waiting to greet Roosevelt is Zangara. Arriving shortly after 9:00, Roosevelt addresses the crowd from atop the back seat of a green Buick convertible about his recently concluded fishing trip ... a speech of 145 words that lasts only a minute.
Speech done, Roosevelt then talks with nearby dignitaries, invites Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak to ride with him to the train station that will take the president-elect back to New York, and is about to accept a six-foot long "WELCOME" telegram signed by 2,800 citizens when five shots disrupt the night.
Cermak - Mortally Wounded
Armed with a five-shot .38 revolver he has bought for the princely sum of $8.00 from a local pawnshop, because of his height, Zangara has to stand on a wobbly metal folding chair to see his target. His one clear shot is taken just as Cermak steps in front of Roosevelt, then, saving Roosevelt, Lillian Cross, the wife of local physician strikes the assassin's arm with her purse and the rest of his shots go awry. Awry, but not without causing damage ... Mabel Gill, the wife of the president of the Florida Power and Light Company is hit in the stomach, Margaret Kruis, a twenty-three-year-old nightclub entertainer from New Jersey has a bullet go through her hand, Bill Sinnott, a forty-six-year-old New York policeman who has served as a Roosevelt bodyguard for years, receives a glancing wound to his forehead and scalp, Russell Caldwell, a twenty-two-year-old from nearby Coconut Grove, is hit by a spent round that embeds itself under the skin of the lucky chauffeur's forehead, and Secret Service Agent Robert Clark is grazed by a slug on his right hand. The worst hit individual though is the mayor of Chicago.
Struck in the right side of his rib cage by a round that penetrates his lung, Cermak is rushed to nearby Jackson Memorial Hospital in Roosevelt's car. There, nineteen days later, Cermak will die of peritonitis brought on by the bullet and an ulcerative colitis condition he suffers from. He is fifty-nine when he passes and almost immediately conspiracy theories begin being discussed about the possibility that he was the actual target and that the hit is contracted to Zangara for the offense of Cermak meddling in the rackets of Chicago mob boss Frank Nitti. Nonsense!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As for Zangara, upon firing his last bullet the assassin is yanked from his perch, has most of his clothes, a brown pair of pants and a brown print shirt, torn off, and is beaten to a bloody pulp by unhappy Miami citizens and a police officer wielding his night stick with righteous idignation. Pleading guilty to four counts of attempted murder, he will be sentenced to 80 years of hard labor (though taunting the judge, he asks for an even 100), but when Cermak dies, he is hauled back into court to face a murder charge. Again pleading guilty, Zangara gets what it appears he wanted ... death, by way of the state's electric chair. A sentence that is carried out on March 10, 1933, one of the quickest examples of capital punishment in United States history, only thirty-three days from the time of the crime to its punishment. Leaving as the nutzoid he is, Zangara's last words are, "Viva Italia! Goodbye all poor peoples everywhere! Pusha da button! Go ahead, pusha da button!" No button is pushed, but a switch is gladly pulled by the state executioner and at 9:27 in the morning Zangara goes to Hell for the rest of eternity to work on his English diction.
Squirt after the shooting