Shootings in the House Chamber

On March 1, 1954, three Puerto Rican nationalists seated in the visitor's gallery overlooking the House Chamber drew pistols and fired off 30 rounds at the 243 members attending a debate on immigration. In the resulting bedlam Speaker Joseph Martin of Massachusetts hurriedly declared a recess and took cover behind the rostrum. Five of his fellow members were not so lucky and were wounded, although all survived their injuries. The assailants were subdued and eventually sent to prison. The walnut table used by the Republican leadership still bear the scars from the attack.