JFK+50: Volume 6, No. 1971RFK SHOT 48 YEARS AGO AFTER WINNING CALIFORNIA PRIMARY
Los Angeles, California (JFK+50) New York Senator Robert Francis Kennedy*, after having won the Democratic California Primary, was shot in the kitchen pantry at the Ambassador Hotel here in Los Angeles forty-eight years ago today, June 5, 1968.
RFK was the projected winner over Senator Eugene J. McCarthy** of Minnesota. The final tabulation of votes gave him a 46 to 42 percentage victory. President Lyndon B. Johnson had announced his decision in late March not to seek another term.
Senator Kennedy had just spoken to supporters in the hotel's ballroom and left the stage entering the kitchen pantry. The speech concluded at 12:15 a.m. Pacific, 3:15 a.m. Eastern time.
As the Senator walked through the pantry shaking hands with some of the hotel employees, shots rang out. One bullet struck the Senator just behind the right ear and entered the brain. While other bystanders were also hit by bullets, Mr. Kennedy was the only one who would lose his life.
A reporter, speaking into his audio tape recorder, shouted "Senator Kennedy has been shot! Is that possible?"
The assassin, identified as Sirhan Sirhan, was restrained by Kennedy aides and bystanders and was taken into custody by officers of the Los Angeles Police Department.***
Senator Robert Francis Kennedy died on June 6, 1968 at the age of 42.
*Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968) was born in Brookline, Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard and the University of Virginia School of Law.
RFK was manager of JFK's 1952 Senate and 1960 Presidential campaigns. He served as Attorney General from 1961 to 1964 and as US Senator 1965-1968.
**Eugene J. McCarthy (1916-2005) was born in Watkins, Minnesota and graduated from St. John's University and the University of Minnesota. He was a professor at St. John's 1940-43. EJM served in the House of Representatives 1949-1959 and in the Senate 1959-1971.
***Shane O'Sullivan's "Who Killed Bobby? The Unsolved Murder of Robert F. Kennedy," 2008, argues that many disturbing questions about RFK's death remain unanswered.
While Sirhan's pistol held 8 bullets, for example, tests from the only audio recording available made during the shooting suggests that at least 10 shots were fired.
"This new audio evidence seems to vindicate key eyewitnesses like Kennedy aides Paul Schrade and Frank Burns (and others who)...for forty years...have all insisted that Sirhan never got close enough to fire the fatal shot (that hit RFK behind the right ear) described in the autopsy."
"RFK in 1968: a hard struggle against long odds," by Arthur L. Cyr, The Seattle Times, May 28, 2008.
"Who Killed Bobby? The Unsolved Murder of Robert F. Kennedy," by Shane O'Sullivan, Union Square Press, New York, 2008.