Dec. 5, 1962 - A man who said he wanted to kill James R. Hoffa fired an air pistol at the labor leader in Federal court today in Nashville, Tenn. The pellets bounced off Mr. Hoffa (pictured two hours after the incident), who sprang at his assailant and punched him in the jaw, knocking him to the courtroom floor. The man was identified as Warren Swanson, 23, a Washington dishwasher. He described himself as a former mental patient who had a vision “that told me to do it.” A physician found that Mr. Hoffa had suffered only pellet marks. Swanson fell to the floor under Mr. Hoffa’s blow and a spectator, identified by Mr. Hoffa as Charles O’Brien, 28, jumped on him. Someone landed several kicks on Swanson’s head before marshals handcuffed him and took him out. “My man Chucky O’Brien held that fellow down. I raised that kid,” Mr. Hoffa said proudly. Mr. Hoffa said he had never seen Swanson before, dismissing him as “some jerk with a pellet gun.” The weapon, a target pistol, looks like a German Luger but fires BB pellets, using cylinders of compressed carbon dioxide gas. Swanson said he chose it because “it was the cheapest I could buy.” The incident stopped Mr. Hoffa’s seven-week-old trial for the day. Mr. Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, is accused of conspiring to accept illegal payments from a trucking concern. Federal District Judge William E. Miller ordered Swanson sent for observation to the medical center for Federal prisoners at Springfield, Mo.
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