On this day in 1968, an iconic photograph was born. Taking place during the Vietnam War, South Vietnamese National Police Chief Brig. Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan executed a Viet Cong officer with a pistol shot to the head.
Nguyen Van Lem was executed during the Tet Offensive in Saigon, Vietnam as he was suspected of having killed a senior officer of the Republic of Vietnam National Police. He was caught at the site of dead police officers and their family members, but was not fighting and wore civilian clothes. Some justify the execution by claiming that having been dressed as a civilian, Nguyen Van Lem was a spy. Others say Nguyen Van Lem was merely a political operative, not a fighter, hence his execution was unjustified.
Nguyen Ngoc Loan lived saw no repercussions for his actions and lived under a new name in the safety of the USA, dying only in 1998.