Rafael Cancel Miranda: Man who shot up Congress in '54 in name of independence for Puerto Rico dead at 89

Posted at 8:13 AM, Mar 04, 2020

Rafael Cancel Miranda, one of four people who opened fire at the United States Capitol building in 1954 in the name of independence for Puerto Rico, died Monday at the age of 89, according to The New York Times and The Washington Post.

On March 1, 1954, when he was 23, Cancel Miranda and three others entered the House of Representatives viewing gallery and opened fire, injuring four congressmen. According to The Times, one person in the group waved a Puerto Rican flag and called for independence for the country as the attack unfolded.

According to The Washington Post, Cancel Miranda and the others in the group were prepared to die when carrying out the attack. They also maintain that they were not aiming to kill specific lawmakers.

"No congressman, in particular, was the target," Cancel Miranda said upon his release, according to The New York Times. "It was just an effort to shoot up the place. If we aimed to kill, believe me, that would have happened."

Cancel Miranda and three others — Lolita Lebrón, Irvin Flores Rodríguez and Andres Figueroa Cordero — received lengthy prison sentences for carrying out the attack. Cordero died of cancer in 1979, but President Jimmy Carter commuted the group's sentences in 1979.

According to The New York Times, Cancel Miranda ran a family furniture store upon his release from prison. He died Monday at his home in San Juan.