Source: Buffalo Evening News
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Leon F. Czolgosz, Cowardly Assassin, Makes Statement”
City of publication: Buffalo, New York
Date of publication: 7 September 1901
Volume number: 42
Issue number: 127
|“Leon F. Czolgosz, Cowardly Assassin, Makes Statement.” Buffalo Evening News 7 Sept. 1901 v42n127: p. 9.|
|Leon Czolgosz (confession).|
|Gaetano Bresci; Leon Czolgosz; Emma Goldman; Humbert I; William McKinley; John Nowak; Thomas Penney.|
Leon F. Czolgosz, Cowardly Assassin, Makes Statement
He Is an Anarchist and Was Inflamed to Do the Deed by Emma Goldman.
It was after midnight when the District Attorney
and the police got through with the prisoner. At that time he was completely
exhausted. He made a full confession, which was taken down by the District Attorney’s
stenographer, transcribed by a typewriter and signed by the prisoner. His correct
name is Leon F. Czolgosz. The statement filled over a dozen pages. It gave the
He was born in Detroit 28 years ago. His parents were Russian Poles, who came to this country about 40 years ago. He received some education in the common schools of Detroit. For awhile he worked in Cleveland. While there he became interested in the Socialist movement, read quantities of Socialist literature and soon became prominently known as a Socialist in the West.
Several years ago he left Cleveland and went to Chicago, where he lived for several months. Then he returned to Cleveland and procured employment in the wire mills in Newburgh, a suburb of Cleveland. During the last few years he has gained quite a reputation in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and other Western cities as an Anarchist of the most bitter type.
Some days ago Czolgosz attended a lecture given by Emma Goldman in Cleveland. Her doctrine that all rulers should be exterminated was accepted by him. He went away from the lecture determined to do something heroic for the cause. A little over a week ago, while in Chicago, he read in a Chicago paper of the intended visit of President McKinley to the Pan-American Exposition. A day or two later he bought a ticket for Buffalo. He came to this city with a half-formed purpose. The idea that he might have an opportunity to assassinate the President was in his mind, but the plot had not taken form at that time.
Upon arriving in Buffalo he went to 1078 Broadway. No. 1078 Broadway is a saloon-hotel owned by John Nowak, a Republican Pole, who has been a political leader among his people in this city for years. He engaged a room and told Nowak that he had come to see the Exposition. He went to the Exposition daily.
On Tuesday morning the plot to murder which had occurred to him days before, took definite and final shape in his mind. He bought a 32-caliber revolver and loaded it. That evening he went to the Exposition early and was near the railroad gate when the Presidential party arrived. He tried to get through the gate to the railroad station outside so that he might be better able to approach the President, but the police forced him back. He stood close to the President when the latter got into his carriage for the drive through the grounds, but he was afraid to attempt the assassination owing to the presence of so many detectives. He feared he might not be able to draw his revolver and use it before they would discover him, and then his chance would be gone. So he permitted the President to escape. The next morning, he went to the Exposition early and took up a position close to the stand from which the President spoke.
Several times the idea came to him of shooting the President while he was delivering the address, but he could not approach sufficiently close to make his aim certain. So he waited. When the President got into his carriage again the mounted escort formed a cordon about him and Czolgosz became hopelessly entangled in the crowd.
Yesterday morning Czolgosz was at the Exposition again. He waited near the Railroad Gate for the President who boarded his special train at that point, but the police were too watchful and nobody but the President’s party was permitted to pass through the station where the train was in waiting. He remained at the Exposition all day waiting for the President to return. In the meantime he had hit upon the scheme of concealing his revolver under his handkerchief. He was one of the first in the Temple of Music where the public reception was held. He fell into line with the rest of the people and when his turn came to shake hands with the chief executive of the nation he fired two shots with the muzzle of the revolver close to the President’s body.
He said he would have fired more, but for the fact that some one struck him a frightful blow.
“Did you mean to kill the President?” asked District Attorney Penney.
“I did,” replied Czolgosz.
“What was your motive?”
“I am a disciple of Emma Goldman,” was the only reply he would make.
Czolgosz at no time expressed any regret for his act. If he regretted anything, it was the fact that his attempt to kill the President apparently had failed. He positively denied that he had any accomplices or confidants. He said he had conceived the plot to murder alone and that he was the agent of no organization.
He also declared he was in no way connected with the Anarchists whose agent, Bresci, assassinated King Humbert of Italy.
The police are satisfied that no one else is implicated in the crime.
Nowak, Czolgosz’s landlord, and a number of other Poles who make his place their headquarters, were taken to Police Headquarters near midnight and examined, but were not placed under arrest. After Czolgosz had attested his confession he was locked up at Police Headquarters, and two detectives guarded him during the night.