Roosevelt unhurt, but Chicago mayor's condition critical

By FREDERICK A. STORM, United Press Staff Correspondent

MIAMI, Feb. 16, 1933 (UP) - President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt, saved from an assassin's bullets by the heroism of a woman, departed for New York today, leaving behind him, dangerously wounded, his friend, Mayor Anton Cermak of Chicago.

Mr. Roosevelt's last act before leaving the scene of the most dramatic event of his career, was to visit the Jackson Memorial Hospital and express words of comfort and hope to Mr. Cermak and four other victims of last night's attempted assassination.


For five minutes he remained with the mayor, whose name is on the hospital's danger list, and then in turn visited Mrs. Joseph H. Gill, also desperately wounded, and Miss Margaret Kruis of Newark, N.J., William Sinnott of New York and Russell Caldwell of Florida, less seriously wounded.

Meanwhile, police were interrogating Giuseppe Zangara, diminutive anarchist who blames "stomach ache" and a hatred of "the rich and powerful," for the impulse that led him to fire a volley of six shots at the president and his party last night.

Zangara was held on the 17th floor of the skyscraper City Hall, safe from mob anger.

Condition of both Mayor Cermak and Mrs. Gill was reported as critical today.


An afternoon bulletin on the condition of Mayor Cermak said:

"Mayor Cermak is resting much easier. Has slept part of morning. Pulse 98. Temperature 99. Respiration 24. No unfavorable developments have arisen at the present time."

As the president, wheeled softly though the corridors of the hospital, approached Mrs. Gill's room, she was undergoing a blood transfusion. He stood silently, a moment, at her bedside, and then turned away.

Mrs. Gill, conscious and recognizing the presence of the president-elect, smiled weakly, in response to his murmured expression of sympathy and hope.

Police regulations, already drastic, were tightened up as Mr. Roosevelt, surrounded by a swarm of secret service men and uniformed police, made his visit to the hospital. Even members of the Roosevelt party had difficulty in getting through the heavy lines. Several thousand Miami citizens and visitors gathered behind the ropes to cheer as he passed.

The president-elect remained at the hospital until it was time for him to go to the train, which left Miami at 10:15 a.m.

In the last hours of his stay in Miami, he learned of the courageous action of Mrs. W.L. Cross, wife of a Miami physician, who seized the would-be killer's arm as he was pumping shots at the Roosevelt party and deflected the bullets from their course.


Mrs. Cross, who pitted her 100 pounds against the armed maniac, was credited by police with having prevented injury and perhaps death of the next president.

There was an air of informality in the hospital from the moment Mr. Roosevelt passed up its palm-fringed walks and entered the open door, where a large staff of resident physicians greeted him.

Every patient able to leave his bed, or to sit up, waved to the president-elect as he was wheeled along the corridor to the pavilion where Mayor Cermak was lying.

As he reached the side of the mayor, Mr. Roosevelt looked down and smiled. "You look fine," he said, "I hope you will be back on your feet soon - certainly in time for the inauguration."

The physicians giving Mrs. Gill a blood transfusion just as the president-elect entered never stopped in their work. Mr. Roosevelt watched silently, and then uttered a brief expression of hope.

Ten minutes later he was on his way out to the car, which was driven rapidly to the station.

For a moment, arriving at the railroad station, he stood on the rear platform of his private car, which was crowded with detectives and uniformed policemen, and waved his hand to the crowd.


The assailant, from Hackensack, N.J., rose in a crowd of thousands which had turned out to welcome the president-elect and spattered bullets around the Roosevelt auto. The attack was made at 9:35 p.m. yesterday at Bay Front Park.

Zangara, 33, and his roommate, Andra Valenti, were held safely by police after aroused Floridians had threatened violence.

Mr. Roosevelt arrived here aboard Vincent Astor's yacht, Nourmahal, at 7 p.m. yesterday after a 10-day cruise of southern waters, resting in preparation for the duties of the presidency. Jovial, tanned, appearing fit in every way, he received newspapermen to discuss his trip, and conferred briefly with intimate advisers.

Then he left the yacht to accept the formal welcome of Miami officials and drive in a motor parade to Bay Front Park, at the end of Flagler street, the principal business thoroughfare of the city.

A crowd of thousands waited there - Miami folk, residents of neighboring Florida cities, who came to cheer the incoming chief executive, tourists from all parts of the country.

Mr. Roosevelt spoke briefly from the rear of an open automobile.

As he concluded the crowd broke into waves of cheers. Mr. Roosevelt leaned over and shook hands with Mayor Cermak, who was standing on the running board of the car. Then the president-elect sat down abruptly - and at that moment six shots spread panic through the throng.


Events happened faster than the eye could record. From stories of eye-witnesses pieced together later, it appeared that just as Mr. Roosevelt concluded speaking, Zangara, who had been standing, stooped some 35 feet from Mr. Roosevelt's car, suddenly straightened and pulled a pistol from his pocket.

Mayor Cermak fell to his knees. A secret service man leaped to protect Mr. Roosevelt. The driver of the car, his presence of mind unshaken, slipped the machine into gear and almost before the crowd realized what was happening started away.

Mr. Roosevelt waved his hand to show he was unhurt. He seemed calm. He did not then know that anyone had been injured.

Detectives and secret service men leaped upon Zangara as he stood with the still-hot gun in his hand. The crowd surged around. There were cries of "lynch him." Officers surrounded Zangara. They led him to an automobile, and hurried to the Miami Jail, two officers holding him upon the trunk rack of the car.

Mayor Cermak was lifted into Mr. Roosevelt's car which left at once behind sirens of police motorcycles. Mr. Roosevelt felt the Chicago mayor's pulse and comforted him on the way to the hospital. The other injured were taken to the hospital in another car from the Roosevelt parade.


From the hospital, Mr. Roosevelt was driven to the railroad yards, where his special train was waiting. As soon as he learned that Mr. Cermak's injuries were critical, Mr. Roosevelt canceled his plans to leave for the north, and returned to the hospital.

"I glad it was me, not you," Mayor Cermak told Mr. Roosevelt. "I wish you would be real careful. The country needs you badly. You shouldn't take any more such chances as you took tonight."

Mr. Roosevelt expressed his sorrow over the mayor's injury. He promised to see him again in the morning. Then he returned to the Astor yacht, where friends said he showed no nervousness over the attack.

Back in the park, knots of people still stood telling each other how the attack had occurred. But several hundred of the Roosevelt audience had left to advance on the building which houses Miami's jail.

Inside, detectives were drawing from the bricklayer a story of hatred of all kings and presidents, and of all the rich and powerful, a story as well, of a "sore stomach," which he indicated had driven him to desire to kill Mr. Roosevelt.

He told how he had bought the pistol he used only a few hours before the attack. He had been here for two months, hoping his stomach would improve, but it had not grown better, police quoted his as saying.


Zangara said, also, that he had tried 10 years ago to assassinate King Victor Emmanuel of Italy. Police questioned him closely about this and about other possible attacks he might have made on prominent persons.

His story of an attack on the Italian ruler was not borne out by records. Not since 1911, according to the records, has an attempt been made upon Victor Emmanuel. The assailant then was captured, and was released from prison in 1928; but since Zangara said he was only 33, , it seemed he could not have been involved.

Early today Valenti, Zangara's roommate, was picked up on a charge of suspicion of being an accomplice. Police had not filed a formal charge against Zangara.

In the room occupied by the two, and in pockets of their suits, were found clippings from Miami newspapers about the Roosevelt visit, and one clipping about the assassination of President McKinley in 1901. Not since Mr. McKinley was attacked has any president or president-elect of the United States been fired upon, though former President Theodore Roosevelt, distant cousin of the president-elect, in 1912 was wounded by gunfire in Milwaukee while campaigning for the presidency.

At one time in the night-long ordeal of questioning it was reported Zangara had said he bought his pistol to kill President Hoover, and only decided to try to assassinate Mr. Roosevelt because he happened to be here.


The exact part Valenti may have played was uncertain.

One version was that he carried a camera to Bay Front Park, and with its aid was able to lead Zangara through the police lines established to protect Mr. Roosevelt. Mrs. Tillie Harrison of Miami told police that she heard Zangara say to someone just before the shooting, "Don't get nervous; I'll get him." Whether he was speaking to Valenti had not been learned.

Early today, however, authorities announced that they had found no evidence to show that Valenti had aided in any way in the attack on Mr. Roosevelt. He was still detained.

For hours after the shooting, crowds milled in downtown streets though all threats of violence had died away.

Of the 25,000 persons who crowded around the bandstand in Bay Front Park, overlooking Biscayne Bay, to welcome Mr. Roosevelt, only a few hundred were in a position actually to see Zangara fire. And, characteristically, no two agreed exactly on what happened since no two saw it from exactly the same perspective.

Mr. Roosevelt himself issued only one statement to the public.

"I am deeply moved by the serious injuries inflicted upon my friends tonight," he said, "and I am remaining in Miami to learn in the morning of their condition. I am entirely unharmed."


Prof. Raymond I. Moley, chief economic adviser, said Mr. Roosevelt supported Mayor Cermak on the trip to the hospital and held his pulse.

Fashionable Bay Front Park, one of Miami's show places, was turned into a mad uproar as soon as the echo of the shots had died away. People scrambled in all directions, many of them toward Deputy Sheriff Hardy, who had Zangara by the collar and was dragging him off.

Later reports said that the wife of Zangara had been arrested with him but these could not be verified.

Meanwhile police officials and secret service men put the would be assassin through a severe cross examination in an effort to determine whether he had confederates and the motive behind the shooting.

The shooting threw a pall over what had been widely advertised as the biggest night of the winter season. Hours before the stately yacht Nourmahal entered this port crowds began flocking into the city from points as far distant as 100 miles.

Most of them came by automobile and waited patiently for hours in the sultry weather for the president-elect to drive past and to acknowledge the vigorous waves of his arms.

Although the excitement died down soon with the dispersing of the crowd in Bay Front Park, Miamians did not go to bed. In little groups they stood on street corners and along wide Biscayne boulevard discussing the shooting and what it meant.


From close friends it was learned that the president-elect was calm and that his only worry was for the injured.

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