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A Look Back at Those Killed A Look Back at Those Killed A Look Back at Those Killed A Look Back at Those Kill...

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A Look Back at Those Killed

Sen. Robert F. Kennedy with his aide Theodore Sorenson on April 3, 1968.(National Archives)

photo of Cameron Joseph
January 8, 2011

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is not the first member of Congress to be targeted for assassination. Here is a list of congressmen who have been killed while in office.

  • Rep. Leo Ryan, D-Calif., was assassinated in Nov. 1978 in the jungles of Guyana, in South America. Ryan was investigating Jim Jones's cult, and was shot and killed during what became as the Jonestown Massacre. With him was current Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., who was then an aide who survived after being shot five times.
  • Sen. Robert Kennedy, D-N.Y., was shot and killed during a victory speech after winning the California Democratic primary in June, 1968. Kennedy's death, five years after his brother's assassination, was one of numerous politically motivated killings during the 1960s.
  • Sen. Huey Long, D-La., was killed by the relative of a political enemy in September 1935. Long had repeatedly faced death threats and arson attempts in the years prior; as he had consolidated political power and ended opponents' careers a paramilitary group called the Square Deal Association had formed against him. He was eventually shot by the son-in-law of a man he was about to gerrymander out of his job.
  • Rep. John Pinckney, D-Texas, was assaulted and killed in April 1905 at a Waller County Prohibition League meeting in his home district.
  • Rep. Cornelius Hamilton, R-Ohio, was killed in December 1868 by an insane son.
  • Rep. James Hinds, R-Ark., a northerner and union supporter who moved to Little Rock after the Civil War, served his district during Reconstruction until he was murdered by a member of the Ku Klux Klan in October 1868. His assassination was one in a series of murders of southern Republican politicians that launched the KKK into national prominence.

John Ryan contributed contributed to this article.

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