WASHINGTON -- A girl shouting "Free Puerto Rico" and two men opened fire with pistols on congressmen in the House of Representatives chamber today and wounded several.
The following members of the House were wounded:
Rep. Alvin M. Bentley (R-Mich.) serious wounds in the chest or stomach.
Rep. Ren. F. Jensen (R-Iowa), back wounds.
Rep. Clifford Davis (D-Tenn.), wounded in the right leg.
Rep. George H. Fallon (D-Md.), hip wound.
Rep. Kenneth A. Roberts (D-Ala.), leg wound.
The three assailants -- who identified themselves as Puerto Ricans -- fired from a public gallery overlooking the chamber.
The woman shouted:
"Free Puerto Rico."
Some members dropped to the floor and ducked behind chairs as the fusillade -- described by one as sounding like the popping of a string of firecrackers -- rang out.
Five members were hit as an estimated 20 shots were fired.
Rep. James E. Van Zandt (R-Pa.) wrestled a pistol away from one of the assailants as he attempted to re-load. Then all three were quickly grabbed by Capital police and hustled to local headquarters.
The girl identified herself as Lolita Lee Bron and said she and her two men companions were Puerto Ricans. One of the men said his name was Rafael Cancel and said he came from Puerto Rico.
The office of Puerto Rican Commissioner Antonio Fernes-Isern said it could not immediately identify either of the two names.
The shootings recalled the attempted assassination of former President Truman on November 1, 1950, when two Puerto Rican nationalists tried to storm Blair House where Mr. Truman was living while the White House was being repaired. A White House guard was killed, one of the Puerto Ricans slain, and the second, Oscar Collazo, tried and sentenced to death. Mr. Truman later commuted the sentence to life imprisonment.
The marksmen rose in their seats as Speaker Joseph W. Martin was counting a division vote on a bill to admit Mexican laborers to this country.
The woman shouted, "Free Puerto Rico!"
Then they turned lose with what Van Zandt described as German automatics.
They sprayed the chamber, from right to left.
Members dived for the floor.
Most members temporarily seemed stunned, as if in disbelief. Some thought the blasts were blanks.
Only as they saw the wounded fall to the floor, blood spurting from their wounds, did they realize what had happened.
Van Zandt estimated there were 20 or 30 shots. Others thought there were fewer.
Roberts was shot in the leg. He was carried from the building apparently in great pain and was taken to a hospital.
Jensen, bleeding from the back, was taken to the speaker's lobby off the chamber and was placed on the floor until a stretcher could be brought.
Bentley was hit In the chest and apparently was in serious condition.
One bullet that hit Bentley went directly through his body. It entered on the right side just below his ribs and emerged at about the same spot on the other side. He also was hit in the left leg by another bullet.
Van Zandt ran up the stairs to the gallery. He said he grabbed one of the young Puerto Ricans as he sought to re-load his gun. Van Zandt said he grabbed the gun and turned the marksman over to Capitol police.
Dr. George Calver, Capitol physician, reached the floor only a few minutes after the shooting began. His assistants already were on the job.
Speaker Joseph W. Martin, trying to restore order, ordered the galleries cleared. All but members were ordered off the crowded floor in order to give first aid squads more room to work.
Members and attendants all pitched in to help carry the wounded members out and to summon aid. Postmaster General Arthur E. Summerfiold, who was just off the House floor, lend a hand in trying to make the bleeding Bentley comfortable as he lay in the well of the House.
William Keevey, Quincy, Mass. entered the gallery just ahead of the Puerto Rican group. He said he didn't get much of a look at them.
"They were just behind me," he said. "The first thing I knew the woman stood up and started shout ing. It sounded like 'Viva', or some thing like that. Then they started shooting."
Rep. Walter H. Judd (R-Minn.), a physician, who gave first and to Bentley, said he was "in a very serious condition." However, Judd said Bentley "reacted from shock very well" and his "prospects for recovery are good."
"I saw three men and one woman, Judd said. "I thought there were three guns."
He said they had a banner with "Rico" on it, apparently a Puerto Rican banner, Judd said.
"The first two shot all they had" he said, "and turned to go out. The third man tried to get a new clip in his gun, but it jammed."
Rep. W. M. Wheeler (D-Ga) said one slug missed his head "by 18 inches" and he said he heard it bury itself in the wall behind him.
Police seized three additional suspects at the Greyhound bus terminal in downtown Washington.
Police said that several Puerto Ricans believed to have accompanied today's assailants were still at large and traveling north by automobile. They radioed a lookout to police in nearby Prince Georges' county, Maryland.