Wallace Shooter Freed; Others Never Caught
By Pat Shannan
There is serious doubt that he was the “lone gunman,” but, after serving 35 years of a 53-year sentence in a Maryland prison for the 1972 attempted murder of Alabama Gov. George Wallace, “lone nut” Arthur H. Bremer has been released for “good behavior.”
Bremer is being monitored and can leave the state only with written permission. He must stay away from all local, state, federal or foreign officials and any political candidates.
Wallace was an independent candidate for president when shot and was speaking at a rally in Laurel, Md. The incident forced him to drop out of the race, eventually won by GOP incumbent Richard Nixon.
Alabama State Trooper Captain E. C. Dothard, Wallace campaign volunteer Dora Thompson, and Nick Zarvos, a Secret Service agent, were also wounded.
“Hey, George! Hey, George,” said Bremer as he lurked with a pistol in his jacket pocket. Wallace had jumped from behind an 800-pound bulletproof podium and was shaking hands with admirers following his speech.
“Come over here, George,” Bremer said, and when the governor got there with his hand out, the 21-year-old busboy-dropout opened fire. Wallace was critically wounded by five .38-caliber slugs to the chest and abdomen. One bullet lodged near his spine and paralyzed him for life. He was confined to a wheelchair until he died in September 1998.
But investigators say Bremer could not have fired all the shots. Bremer carried a Smith & Wesson Model 37 “Air Weight”—a five-shot, snub-nosed revolver. Investigators say it was impossible for Arthur Bremer to have been the only shooter.
Wallace sustained a total of nine wounds (two of which were “enter and exit” type through his right arm, and one of these went into his chest) from the slugs that hit him. One slug each in three more people made a total of 12 wounds. However, not one news agency reported that Bremer could not have fired more than five times.
The world was told only that he carried a .38-caliber handgun but nothing about its limited capacity and was left to assume that the weapon was capable of firing enough shots to make all the hits.
Newsweek magazine at the time used diagrams to show that bullets would have had to enter Wallace from three directions: his right side, his front and from behind his left shoulder. It was obvious that one man, firing straight ahead, and even with enough ammunition, could not do that in the three seconds Bremer had before being subdued.
Also, with the odd trajectories presented by Newsweek, the bullet paths do not trace to a single firing position, and instead require at least one more shooter to be both behind and somewhat above Wallace. There were other guns at the plaza that day.
The Washington Post reported, “At least two Prince George’s policemen were stationed on the shopping center rooftop, surveying for potential snipers.”
One of these rooftop policemen—or someone posing as an officer—might well have been the source of these shots from above. Such a ploy is not unusual in organized political assassinations.
In 1971, Los Angeles TV newsman Ted Charach, with the help of a retired ballistics expert, proved that none of the eight shots fired from the .22 caliber revolver of Jordanian Sirhan Sirhan even hit Sen. Robert Kennedy, let alone killed him in 1968. So who killed Bobby Kennedy?
For some people, knowing the habits of the insider assassins, that question is not nearly so difficult to answer as it once was. When famed Los Angeles Medical Examiner Thomas Naguchi did the autopsy on JFK’s body, he discovered the unmentionable. RFK had two bullet holes behind the right ear that included powder burns.
Naguchi reported that the evidence showed that the gun would have to have been placed next to RFK’s head and the trigger pulled from 1-3 inches away. Yet no witness could place Sirhan closer than four feet from Kennedy.
In 1968, Wallace had mounted an independent campaign that won 10 million votes in the general election. By 1972, due much to America’s opposition to the non-ending war in Vietnam, Wallace’s mostly blue-collar support was now nearly matched by that of white-collar supporters, and he was threatening to get 20 million votes in November.
This was horrifying to the two major parties but particularly to the Republican-Nixon camp because most of the Wallace votes were being siphoned from the so-called conservative side rather than the blatantly liberal Democrats of Sen. George McGovern (D-S.D.).
Should Wallace produce this kind of support, neither major candidate would have had a majority in the Electoral College. If the election were thrown into the House, it would have guaranteed McGovern’s election.
In May 1974, two years after the shooting, it was reported that Martha Mitchell visited George Wallace in Montgomery. She told him that her husband, former Nixon Attorney General John Mitchell, who also served time for the Watergate affair, had confessed to her that Chuck Colson, known as Nixon’s “hatchet man,” had met with Arthur Bremer four days before the assassination attempt.
Bremer told his brother that others were involved and that he was paid by them.
(Issue #48, November 26, 2007)