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On May 18, 1871, Kiowa Chief Satanta joins with other Indians to massacre a wagon train near the Red River in northeastern Texas. One of the leading chiefs of the Kiowa in the 1860s and 1870s, Satanta was a fearsome warrior but also a skilled orator and diplomat. He helped negotiate and signed treaties with the U.S. establishing a Kiowa reservation in Indian Territory (modern-day Oklahoma), but Satanta remained resistant to government efforts to force the Kiowa to abandon their nomadic ways.
On May 17, 1974, Los Angeles police surround a home in Compton where the leaders of the terrorist group known as the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) are hiding out. Several months earlier the SLA had kidnapped Patricia Hearst, heiress to the Hearst family publishing empire. Police found the house in Compton when a local mother reported that her kids had seen a bunch of people playing with an arsenal of automatic weapons in the living room of the home.
On May 16, 1868, the U.S. Senate votes against impeaching President Andrew Johnson and acquits him of committing high crimes and misdemeanors. In February 1868, the House of Representatives charged Johnson with 11 articles of impeachment for vague "high crimes and misdemeanors."
On May 15, 1856, angered by the shooting of a prominent journalist, San Franciscans form their second vigilance committee to combat lawlessness. The need for vigilance committees in San Francisco was obvious. Only two years after gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill in 1848, San Francisco had grown from a sleepy little village with 900 inhabitants to a booming metropolis with more than 200,000 residents.
On May 14, 1948, three-year-old June Devaney is kidnapped from her room at Queen's Park Hospital in Blackburn, England. The child had been recovering from a recent bout of pneumonia. Nurses discovered her missing at 1:20 a.m. the next day, and police were immediately summoned to investigate.
On May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II is shot and seriously wounded while passing through St. Peter’s Square in an open car. The assailant, 23-year-old escaped Turkish murderer Mehmet Ali Agca, fired four shots, one of which hit the pontiff in the abdomen, narrowly missing vital organs, and another that hit the pope's left hand.
On May 12, 1932, the body of aviation hero Charles Lindbergh’s baby is found, more than two months after he was kidnapped from his family’s Hopewell, New Jersey home. Lindbergh, who became the first worldwide celebrity five years earlier when he flew The Spirit of St. Louis across the Atlantic, and his wife Anne discovered a ransom note in their 20-month-old child's empty room on March 1, 1932.
On May 11, 1812, British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval is shot to death by demented businessman John Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons. Bellingham, who was inflamed by his failure to obtain government compensation for war debts incurred in Russia, gave himself up immediately.
On May 10, 1924, J. Edgar Hoover is named acting director of the Bureau of Investigation (now the FBI). By the end of the year he was officially promoted to director. This began his 48-year tenure in power, during which time he personally shaped American criminal justice in the 20th century.
On May 9, 1978, the body of former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro is found, riddled by bullets, in the back of a car in the center of historic Rome. He was kidnapped by Red Brigade terrorists on March 16th after a bloody shoot-out near his suburban home.