On November 1, 1950, an assassination attempt against President Harry S. Truman occurred. Two Puerto Rican pro-independence activists, Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola, stormed the Blair House, where President Truman was napping, and exchanged gunfire with police and Secret Service agents. The attempt on the life of President Truman was foiled, but not without the loss of White House Policeman Leslie W. Coffelt.
Coffelt was the first person to have interaction with the two gunman. He immediately took three shots to the chest. Griselio Torresola, the man who shot Coffelt, shot and wounded two other White House Policemen before running out of ammunition. While Torresola was reloading his gun, severely wounded Coffelt mustered up his strength and fired off one shot before blacking out. From thirty-one feet away, Coffelt hit Torresola in the back of the head, killing him instantly.
Four hours later, Leslie Coffelt was pronounced deceased from his wounds. There is no doubt that his actions were key in stopping the assassination attempt on President Truman’s life. He would pass away as a hero.
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