US Secret Service Honors Officer Who Lost His Life 70 Years Ago While Defending President Truman

(Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Katie Jerkovich Entertainment Reporter
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The U.S. Secret Service took time out to honor a White House police officer who was killed 70 years ago while defending President Harry Truman.

“70 years ago, White House Police Officer Leslie Coffelt lost his life while successfully defending President Truman against an armed attack with his fellow officers and agents,” a tweet from the U.S. Secret Service read, along with several pictures from a sunrise ceremony held earlier this week across from the White House. The post was noted by Fox News in a piece published Tuesday. (RELATED: President Trump Abruptly Rushed Out Of News Conference)

“Though he was mortally wounded by 3 bullets, he returned fire and killed 1 of the attackers with 1 shot,” the post added.

Coffelt was killed in front of the Blair House while protecting the president from an armed attack by two Puerto Rican pro-independence activists, Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola. Truman was staying in the building while the White House was being remodeled. (RELATED: US Secret Service Erects New 8-Ft Fence Expanding White House Perimeter — Will Keep Protesters Out Of Lafayette Square)

“He came to work on Nov. 1, 1950, probably not expecting anything different,” Chief Thomas Sullivan of the Secret Service Uniformed Division shared at the wreath-laying ceremony, per WTOP-AM

“Shots were fired,” Sullivan said. “Officer Coffelt was hit three times, in the abdomen. He got out of the booth, mortally wounded, fired one round at a gentleman who was trying to go up the steps here at Blair House, and hit him in the back of the head. He stopped him from going in the front door, from 31 feet away, with his revolver.”

The piece noted that Coffelt was the only Secret Service officer who has ever died while protecting a president.

Collazo, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to die following the attack, was sent back to Puerto Rico after Truman commuted his sentence to life in prison, per the outlet.

Torresola was killed in the assassination attempt by the Secret Service officer.