Robert F. Kennedy Fatally Shot: June 5, 1968

Robert F. Kennedy Fatally Shot: June 5, 1968

Fifty years ago this month, Robert F. “Bobby” Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles moments after stepping off the stage where he claimed victory in the California presidential primary election. Kennedy died the next day. The gunman was 22-year-old Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan who later confessed to the crime.

Senate pays tribute to Robert F. Kennedy
The news stunned the world. Senators paid tribute to Kennedy, and religious leaders exclaimed, “Something’s wrong with us!” When word of the shooting made its way to Vietnam, one American soldier responded saying, “What the hell is going on back there?”

Kennedy campaigned aggressively in California, crisscrossing the state. He won with a narrow victory. The mood was celebratory the night of June 5, 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel. Kennedy addressed the crowd shortly after midnight and exited the ballroom through a kitchen. Sirhan rushed towards him in a narrow corridor and shot him at close range.

The gun was wrestled away as Sirhan continued firing resulting in five others being wounded including William Weisel, Paul Schrade, Elizabeth Evans, Ira Goldstein, and Irwin Stroll. The cheers and applause heard seconds before quickly turned to screams and panic when the shots rang out.

Kennedy was rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital where doctors performed surgery but were unable to save him. At the time of Kennedy’s assassination, presidential candidates did not have Secret Service security. His death stirred Congress to pass a law providing that protection for future candidates.

Kennedy’s death came just five years after that of his brother, President John F. Kennedy. Robert Kennedy’s body was flown to New York, where he lay in repose at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral before burial. The nation mourned with Kennedy’s widow Ethel and his 10 young children. An eleventh child was born after Kennedy’s death.

In 2016, Sirhan was denied parole for the 15th time and remains in prison today. What do you remember about the day Robert F. Kennedy was shot? You can search our archives to find more articles on his life and death. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for trending news and updates!

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33 thoughts on “Robert F. Kennedy Fatally Shot: June 5, 1968

  1. It was my 10th birthday and I still remember my mom and gram crying. Such a sad time for our nation.

    • It was my 12th birthday. I watched this happen on live tv and then went to wake my mom and dad.

  2. May his soul continue to RIP!
    What a sad devastating way to depart your life, on such a beautiful remarkabe victory.
    I was only 4 years old at the time.
    The exact date on the following year, I remember telling my Daddy this is the day our President was shot and killed by the bad man!!!
    I believe my Dad told everyone person he knew, what I had repeated to him.
    From that day til now, I’ve had a photogenic memory!
    A President I will never forget!

    • Could have been, should’ve been and would have been President. Wasn’t Nixon running that year?Just maybe he didn’t want to lose again to another Kennedy. Shame on anyone replyiing with hurtful comments, when others express their recollections of a mournful day, when a great American was lost.

    • Ummmm……BOBBY Kennedy was never President, he was campaigning to be President. You are thing of his brother John F. Kennedy. It was a looong time ago.

    • A “photogenic” memory?! I love it!!! I think you meant to say a “photographic” memory! LOL!!

  3. May the Kennedy family rest in peace and find peace on earth and the hereafter, beautiful people that didn’t deserve to part the way they did. Sending love to their family

  4. I wasn’t born yet but it’s sad when good people die young. The Kennedy’s, Martin King,Hendrix,Joplin,Jimmy Morrison,Lennon. The list goes on and on. It’s the way shit is.

    • Ummm, a few of those you listed basically killed themselves with drug usage…..

      • The commenter merely said “when good people die young “. Suicide, overdose, homicide. The method doesn’t really matter to me, either; I am simply saddened by the loss of any human that tried to make life better for others.

  5. The exact same swamp the took the life Center to Robert Kennedy and his brother President John Kennedy robbed a generation of decent men who were out to change history. Now we live with the scum who robbed America and the world of decency, respect and trust. We set out With men like JFK, RFK and MLK and ended up with Bill and Hillary Clinton. Pretty fucking shitty left over.

  6. I remember all the details as though it happened today. Very sad. His last words show his true priority and convictions “is everyone ok?” June 1968 my sophomore year at Ohio State.

  7. Just another way our government robbed this country of great men who would have made changes for the better. No one will ever convince me that our own government officials from the Vice President down didn’t have something to do with their deaths. Believed that when I was 10 and still believe it today and all the research that has been done has not changed my opinion at all it has only reinforced it.
    Now look at the mess our country is in, thank you Mr Clinton on down.
    The inmates are running the country and no one wants change, I think we better take a harder look at who we vote for and make sure they want to work for us and not just lining their pockets with money that would better serve our country.

    • Sirhan was brainwashed by the C.I.A. – same as Oswald. This is why they had little or no recollection of their actions afterward. Both of them were “patsies” with political agendas aligned with our enemies at the time, Our country started down this dark path back then. There is no going back now.

  8. I can separate the horrible tragic deaths of both John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy from their politics. What happened to them should never have happened. Robert Kennedy’s assassin is duly still in prison as he should be, and could just as justifiably have been executed for his crime if the laws and legal system had permitted it. However, I can also say that I don’t think Kennedy would necessarily have been a fantastic president. Much of the adoration of the Kennedy’s has been media-driven and born, the adoration of Hollywood, likening unto “Camelot”, glamorization of their accents, articulation, and their youth and charisma. But Robert Kennedy was most definitely an early emerging American socialist. He would have favored heavy restriction of growth and commerce, tied up vast stretches of natural resources, and steeped the government into the business of redistributing wealth rather than encouraging equality of opportunity. While I am very sorry the Kennedy family suffered so many horrific and unacceptable tragedies, I do not necessarily think America would have been served well by Robert F. Kennedy if he had been elected. Of course, we will never know, but those are my sentiments. I am sorry he had to die the way he did. It was plain wrong in every way and it should not have happened.

  9. So many say they’d rather murderers ‘suffer’ in prison for life. Here’s a thought: if after a set time, say 10-15 years in prison, execute them & let them feel both punishments. And look how much it’d save not ‘boarding’ these scumbags forever.

    • I agree. I live in California and it makes me angry to think that part of the state taxes I pay goes to keeping Sirhan fed and alive for 50 years now. He should have been hung – same with Manson.

  10. Robert Kennedy would have made a fine president , the country lost the chance for a great one when he was killed fifty years ago . Since then we have had a lot of a**hole ones .

  11. It seems like yesterday, when you read this article.

    I watched it on TV.

  12. I remember it as if it happened yesterday. My sister and I loved Bobby and followed his campaign closely. We even worried about someone shooting him and said as much when we went to bed on June 5th. Our phone rang early the next morning, which is never good. It was our aunt calling to tell us that RFK had been shot. We were distraught, but still had to go to school. The memories from those days are forever embedded in my brain. 1968 was not a good year for our country.

    • So true Patricia. I was in nursing school. First MLK was shot and killed. I remember all of the black nursing students that day protesting his death by sitting in the hallways and not attending any classes. I chose to join in solidarity as did many others.
      Then when RFK was shot and killed, it was like reopening a wound that was just starting to heal. Everyone was in disbelief ! The tears we all shed were for both men who had tragically lost their lives because they chose to be public servants.
      May they both continue to rest in eternal peace.

  13. I was at Naval OCS in Newport, RI. I woke early, as was required, and immediately heard the news. Everyone was stunned and all flags went to half-mast. I was a Democrat then, and certainly felt that he could get the nomination and, most likely, win the coming election.
    A stunning event for me, and will always be remembered, and mourned.

  14. I was finishing up US Navy Bootcamp in San Diego when it happened. Everyone in my platoon was shocked to hear of his passing and felt the nation was spiraling downwards.

  15. I was 19 and just out of high school in California. After John Kennedy’s assassination and Vietnam grinding on and on I was very jaded about any hope in politics and politicians until Robert. His campaign in California had touched many young people my age and as I sat in front of the TV that night and listened to his speech peppered with humour as well as concern, with his tanned youthful looking pregnant wife at his side, and remembering his affective push for civil rights in his brothers cabinet I decided I would sign up to join his campaign in the morning. My family were all in bed so I witnessed yet another US political tragedy on my own. I, as the whole of America, was gutted this could be happening again. And now the autopsy reports that his son has asked to be re-examined do not substantiate the claim that the young man in front of him could have fired the bullet that struck him from behind. The shootings are bad enough. The possibility of cover ups to protect other people in the US government really point to a very sick society where winning is everything. RIP both the Kennedy brothers. You changed many of our lives for the better.

  16. I was a Eugene McCarthy supporter at the time. Many of us felt RFK was a typical opportunistic politician who let McCarthy take the first steps then moved in to reap the benefits. He was a powerful person who ran on his name and his family. Time has worked well on his image as knowledge of the period in which he was active has become second and third hand impressions.

  17. Perhaps it’s time to ask the man in jail who actually put him up to it.

  18. I was 11 years old and remember it well. When JFK was shot, I was 6 and our school was closed down right after the news of his assassination.
    I was in Jacksonville, Fl when RFK died..my dad was in the navy reserve at the time…my dad was of Irish heritage as well, so it was very sad news indeed. I remember RFK gave such beautiful speeches! He said in one speech that he believed this country was on a perilous course….how timely that was in the turbulent 60’s…and timeless..could apply to current times as well…

  19. I was 15 years old and excited that I would be graduating from junior high into high school. We were gearing up for all the school celebrations and excited that RFK was in Los Angeles. I went to bed that night wondering if he would win the primary. When I got up the next morning I immediately asked my parents if “Bobby” had won. They told me he had been shot and I said “no, that was John, I’m talking about Bobby, and they said it WAS Bobby Kennedy who had been shot.

  20. The week before the primary, I shook Sen. Kennedy’s hand as he was driven by in an open convertible in a ticker tape parade down San Francisco’s Montgomery Street (the financial district), hopeful that I had shaken the hand of our next president. Watching the primary results on television the night of the primary, and RFK’s victory speech, followed by the sound of gunshots and video of the chaos in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel, I found myself crying on my friend Lory’s shoulder again, as she cried on mine, just as we had on April 4th. He, they, had given us so much hope for improving this country in many badly needed ways, and then they were gone, and so was the hope, and we were bereft. It would have been a different country and a different world.

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