Jonestown

Watch: Jackie Speier Hears Newly Uncovered Jonestown Tape For the First Time
 

Forty years ago Sunday, a young Jackie Speier was shot and left for dead on an airstrip in Guyana, after helping her boss — Rep. Leo Ryan — rescue 25 cult members from a deadly cult commune known as Jonestown. Ryan was shot and killed that day, shortly before more than 900 members of the commune died of a mass suicide and murder. 

Speier, who has been a member of Congress from California since 2008, joined Roll Call to listen to recently uncovered audio of an interview her former boss conducted with a cult escapee, just months before Ryan was killed in the so-called Jonestown massacre.

Congresswoman Who Survived Jonestown Attack Now Staring Down Sexual Harassment
 

Who is Rep. Jackie Speier? The California Democrat, who is making headlines for her bill to prevent sexual misconduct in Congress, is also a survivor of the 1978 Jonestown massacre when she traveled to the commune as a legal aide to Rep. Leo Ryan. Roll Call sat down with Speier in 2015 to discuss the incident, where she was shot five times as part of a delegation to the cult’s commune in South America.

Saturday, Nov. 18, will be the 39th anniversary of the assassination attempt.

Speier Recalls Jonestown Massacre, 37 Years Later

Rep. Jackie Speier knows exactly how it feels to be left for dead.

On Nov. 18, 1978, she was shot five times on a remote airstrip in Guyana, South America. Her boss, Rep. Leo J. Ryan and four others lay dead nearby, killed by gunfire as they tried to escape Jonestown, the commune built by cult leader Jim Jones.