Assassination of Colonel Riggs

23/02/1936View on timeline

"The Río Piedras Massacre enraged the nationalists. Beauchamps and the nationalists believed that Elisha Francis Riggs was responsible since Riggs was the police chief of Puerto Rico and the entire Insular Police took their orders from Riggs. He decided to retaliate and avenge the deaths of the four men killed in the massacre with the help of Hiram Rosado.

On Sunday, February 23, 1936, Elisha F. Riggs had attended mass in the Church of Santa Ana in San Juan. When the mass was over, Riggs stepped out of the church and got into his car, a Packard, driven by Angel Alvarez, a police officer. Rosado knew the route which Riggs would normally take and waited. When Riggs' car reached the corner of Allen and Gambaro streets, Rosado came out of his hideout and began shooting towards Riggs. Rosado then made a run for it, but was soon captured by Alvarez. All the while, Riggs got out of his car and began asking for the declarations of those who witnessed the attempt on his life. He was suddenly approached by Beauchamps who said: "I saw everything, Colonel, I saw everything".

Believing that he had a witness to the events Riggs told Beauchamps that he was headed to the police station and to accompany him. Beauchamps boarded Riggs chauffeured car and shot Riggs in the head killing him instantly. Beauchamp tried to escape by hiding inside the nearby Rodriguez y Palacios warehouse in Tetuan Street.

Beauchamps and Rosado were arrested and Beauchamp was photographed by the local news media giving a cadet military salute before he and Rosado were taken to the San Juan police headquarters. The police station was located in 305 San Francisco Street.

Instead of receiving a fair trial, Beauchamps and Rosado were both gunned down by the police in the police station."

— Wikipedia

"Three months later, on February 23, 1936, Police Chief Riggs was assassinated on his way to El Escambrón. The two Nationalists who shot him, Hiram Rosado and Elías Beauchamp, were arrested, beaten for an hour, then executed in a San Juan police station."

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Published in 3/07/2019

Updated in 19/02/2021

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