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With rumors growing about Jonestown, a group of former Temple members and concerned relatives of current members convinced Congressman Leo Ryan (pictured) to investigate the settlement in person.

On November 17, 1978, Congressman Ryan arrived in Jonestown with a group of journalists and other observers. At first the visit went well, but the next day, as Ryan’s delegation was about to leave, several Jonestown residents approached the group and asked them for passage out of Guyana. Jones became distressed at the defection of his followers, and one of Jones’ lieutenants attacked Ryan with a knife.

The Congressman escaped from the incident unharmed, but Jones then ordered Ryan and his companions ambushed and killed at the airstrip as they attempted to leave. The Congressman and four others were murdered as they boarded their charter planes. 

Read the Moment here

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