President McKinley visited Niagara Falls and Lewiston, New York. He rode the gorge railway and had a splendid day. He returned to the Exposition for an afternoon reception at the Temple of Music. It was a hot, late summer day and the building was very warm. Many people had handkerchiefs to wipe the sweat from their brows. A long line of people had formed waiting to shake McKinley's hand. No one paid any attention to the fact that Leon Czolgosz had a handkerchief wrapped around his right hand. The President extended his left hand to the young man and then Czolgosz shot him twice with a gun hidden in the handkerchief. The President was hit in the upper abdominal area. Immediately after the shooting, the men standing nearby wrestled Czolgosz to the ground. He was taken into custody while McKinley was moved to another building to await the electric powered ambulance. Upon seeing Czolgosz being beaten, McKinley told the men to "go easy on him." McKinley was taken to the Exposition Hospital where surgery was performed and was later moved to the home of John Milburn, President of the Pan American Exposition. Theodore Roosevelt was in Vermont when the shooting occurred and was notified.
Last updated: March 31, 2012