Nation: Four Go Free

Clemency given terrorists

Nov. 1, 1950; 2:15 p.m. A dull metallic click startled White House Guard Donald Birdzell as he stood watch at Blair House, where President Harry Truman was staying while the Executive Mansion was being remodeled. Birdzell turned to face a German P-38 automatic pistol held by Oscar Collazo, a Puerto Rican Nationalist. Both men began shooting. Birdzell was hit in both legs. Collazo sprawled on the sidewalk, wounded. Almost simultaneously another Nationalist, Griselio Torresola, attacked a nearby guard post with a Luger, killing a White House guard, Leslie Coffelt, and injuring Plainclothesman Joseph H. Downs. Before he died, Coffelt...

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