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1967: 'American Hitler' shot dead

The leader of the American Nazi party, George Lincoln Rockwell, has been shot and killed by a sniper at a shopping centre in Arlington, Virginia.

Minutes after the shooting a "captain" in Rockwell's Nazi party, John Patler, 29, was arrested and charged with his murder.

Police say two shots were fired from a rooftop of a beauty salon across the street from the Dominion Hills shopping centre.

Two bullets went through the windscreen of the 49-year-old's blue and white Chevrolet and hit him in the head and the chest.

He died instantly.

'Bolshevik leanings'

Eye-witnesses said the Nazi leader was reversing his car out of a parking space in the shopping centre when the incident happened.

As the shots hit his car he dived onto the passenger seat in an attempt to escape.

His car apparently crashed into another vehicle. A coroner pronounced him dead at the scene.

George Lincoln Rockwell, who lived just yards from the scene of his death, founded the American Nazi Party, originally known as the World Union of Free Enterprise and National Socialists, in 1959.

He believed all blacks should be deported to Africa and every Jew dispossessed and sterilised. He also believed that "traitors" such as former Presidents HarryTruman and Dwight Eisenhower should be hanged.

It is understood that Matt Koehl, Rockwell's second-in-command, will take over the leadership of the party.

Speaking tonight Mr Koehl told reporters the murder suspect, John Patler, had been expelled from the Nazi party in April this year for "Bolshevik leanings".

In Context
George Lincoln Rockwell was born on 9 March, 1918, in Bloomington, central Illinois.

He attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island for a short time before dropping out to join the Navy. He became a pilot and flew in the Pacific during World War II.

He formed the American Nazi Party in 1959 and he and his members would regularly appear at civil rights meetings and demonstrations.

He was fined and sent to prison on several occasions for his activities.

After his funeral on 30 August 1967, the Pentagon refused to allow Rockwell's body to be buried in the national cemetery at Culpeper because his followers refused to take off their swastika armbands before entering.

His body was returned to the party headquarters in Arlington, Virginia where it was disposed of during a secret Nazi funeral the following day.

John Patler was sentenced to 20 years in prison for Rockwell's murder in December 1967.


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