On February 15, 1933, Italian immigrant Giuseppe Zangara attempts to assassinate President-elect Franklin Roosevelt in Miami, Florida. Zangara’s shots miss and strike Anton Cermak, the Mayor of Chicago.
On the day of the shooting, Roosevelt was giving an impromptu speech from the back of an open car in the Bayfront Park area of Miami, Florida. Zangara joined the crowd, armed with a .32-caliber pistol he had bought at a local pawn shop. However, being only five feet tall, he was unable to see over other people, and had to stand on a wobbly folding metal chair, to get a clear aim at his target. After the first shot, witnesses grabbed his arm, and he fired four more shots wildly. Five people were hit, including Mayor Cermak, who was standing on the running board of the car next to Roosevelt. En route to the hospital, Cermak had allegedly told FDR, "I'm glad it was me instead of you", words now inscribed on a plaque in Bayfront Park. Immediately after Mayor Cermak died from the gunshot wounds on March 6, 1933, Zangara was indicted and arraigned for murder. He pled guilty and executed in the electric chair on March 20th, only two weeks after Cermak had died. Today such a swift outcome would be practically unheard of, particularly where the death penalty is concerned.
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