Senator John Stennis Mugged and Shot in Front of Cleveland Park Home

Senator John Stennis (Wikipedia)
Senator John Stennis (Wikipedia)

That’s right, the Senator from Mississippi and chairman of the Armed Services Committee was shot both in the chest and the leg, after he was mugged in front of his North Cleveland Park house (3609 Cumberland St. NW). He was returning home in the evening after work on January 30th, 1973.

The Washington Post reported the following on the incident:

After driving home alone and parking in front of his house, as was his custom, he stepped out of the auto and was approached by two youths in their late teens, according to police accounts.

While he was standing in the roadway, the youths demanded money, “Get ’em up,” one demanded. Offering no resistance, according to accounts, the senator turned over his wallet, which contained credit cards, a gold pocket watch, his Phi Beta Kappa key and a 25-cent piece.

“Now we’re going to shoot you anyway,” the youths were quoted by the senator. Or, the police reported, it might have been “We ought to shoot you anyway.”

The ambulance was called from Adams Morgan to race up the three miles to the senator’s home. Two ambulance attendants, Pvt. William Taylor and Pvt. Robert Adams, didn’t know the gravity of the situation, nor the that the victim was a senator until they were a few blocks away.

In the meantime, Stennis had staggered into his home and sat down on the couch in his living room, bleeding profusely from his wounds and when the ambulance finally arrived, the senator was conscious, but fading.

As the ambulance made its way to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, President Nixon was notified and the FBI were informed — a 1971 law made it a federal crime to assault, kidnap or kill a member of Congress.

His condition was extremely tenuous, having serious wounds, both under his lower rib cage and in his left thigh. Senator Stennis underwent 6 1/2 hours of surgery and the press conference the following day labeled his chances as “guarded” that he would recover. The bullet had ripped through part of his stomach, pancreas and cut through a major vein that empties blood into the intestines. The bullet was not removed from the senator as they patched him up.

Two Washington teenagers were charged in the shooting, Tyrone Marshall and his brother John. Derrick Holloway was granted immunity in the case for turning state’s evidence against the brothers. Tyrone received a sentence of 10-to-30 years under the federal congressional assassination statue, armed robbery and assault with intent to kill while armed. John received a sentence of 15 years.

3609 Cumberland St. NW (Google Street View)
3609 Cumberland St. NW (Google Street View)

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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