Before Saturday's attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, members of Congress had been attacked at the Capitol and elsewhere at least three times. The attacks include the deadly assault on Rep. Leo Ryan in Guyana.
May 22, 1856: Sen. Charles Sumner, R-Mass., was assaulted by Rep. Preston Brooks, D-S.C., while in his seat in the Senate. Brook used a cane to beat Sumner after Sumner's two-day anti-slavery "Crime Against Kansas" speech, in which he derided three pro-slavery colleagues, including South Carolina's Sen. Andrew Butler, Brooks' cousin. Due to his injuries, Sumner didn't return to the Senate until December 1859.
March 1, 1954: Five congressmen were wounded when four Puerto Rican nationalists entered the U.S. Capitol with automatic pistols and opened fire from an upstairs spectators' gallery onto the crowded floor of the House. They fired nearly 30 shots, unfurled a Puerto Rican flag and shouted, "Viva Puerto Rico libre!" The injured included Alvin M. Bentley, R-Mich.; Clifford Davis, D-Tenn.; Ben F. Jensen, R-Iowa; George Hyde Fallon, D-Md.; and Kenneth A. Roberts, D-Ala. Lolita Lebron, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Irving Flores and Andres Figueroa Cordero received lengthy prison sentences. President Jimmy Carter granted them clemency in 1979.
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Nov. 18, 1978: Leo Ryan, D-Calif., and four others were killed at a Guyana airstrip after cutting short a trip to investigate alleged brainwashing at Jonestown, the People's Temple cult run by Jim Jones. The People's Temple was founded in 1955 and had relocated to California before moving to Guyana. Ryan offered to take some Jonestown residents back to the U.S. Jones' guards fired on the group as they were boarding Ryan's plane. Also killed were NBC cameraman Bob Brown, correspondent Don Harris, San Francisco Chronicle photographer Greg Robinson and Jonestown defector Patricia Parks. Eleven others were wounded. After the shooting, 912 of Jones' followers died en masse after drinking a poisonous concoction. Jones was believed to have shot himself in the head.
April 13, 2009: Rep. Donald M. Payne, D-N.J., chairman of the House subcommittee on Africa, narrowly escaped a mortar attack as he was ending a visit to Mogadishu, Somalia’s bullet-ridden capital, that he undertook against the advice of the Obama administration. Just a day after American military snipers killed three Somali pirates and freed a kidnapped sea captain, several mortar rounds exploded near Mr. Payne’s plane as it was taking off from Mogadishu for Nairobi, Kenya. At least 10 civilians were wounded in the explosions, The New York Times reported at the time.
Mar. 22, 2010: Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., said a bullet was shot through the window of his Richmond campaign office and that he had received "threatening e-mails." Vandalism at homes and offices was reported by other members of Congress around the same time.
Library of Congress, msnbc.com news services