A deranged city employee who blamed the Mayor when he was fired from his job, that’s who. It happened in 1910 as Mayor William Jay Gaynor—a Tammany Hall candidate who actually helped clean up corruption once he was elected—was in Hoboken boarding a ship bound for Europe.
The employee, James Gallagher, fired a bullet through the Mayor’s throat after supposedly shouting, “You took my bread and butter away; now I’ve got you.”
Amazingly, the shooting was captured on camera. A New York World photographer snapping a routine photo caught the second the bullet tore into the Mayor’s neck and blood splattered on his coat.
The Mayor survived with the bullet lodged in his throat. Gallagher was never tried for the assassination attempt at the Mayor’s request, though he was sentenced to 12 years in a New Jersey prison for wounding street cleaning commissioner William Edwards, who was shot in the arm while with the Mayor.
Mayor Gaynor died from the effects of the bullet in 1913, the only New York City mayor ever to be the target of an assassin’s gun. Gallagher also died in 1913 in prison.