June 1968 - Robert F. Kennedy Assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel

Robert F. Kennedy shaking hands with students in Garden Grove on June 3, 1968
Robert F. Kennedy shaking hands with students in Garden Grove on June 3, 1968, three days before he died. | Photo: Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive/UCLA Library, Digital Collections/Creative Commons License
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On June 5, 1968, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, was shot following a speech at the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard.

On the night of June 4, the date of the California primary election, Kennedy addressed supporters at the hotel's Embassy Ballroom, declaring his victory in the primary four hours after polls had closed. Following the speech, he was being led through the kitchen en route to a press conference in another room. While shaking hands with hotel worker Juan Romero, a gunman, later identified as Sirhan Sirhan, repeatedly fired a .22 caliber revolver, wounding Kennedy and five others.

Kennedy, shot three times - once in the head and twice in the torso - was rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital near downtown L.A. where he underwent surgery. The senator was pronounced dead in the early morning hours of June 6 from his wounds.

Sirhan, a 24 year old Palestinian Christian of Jordanian nationality who had lived in Southern California since the age of 12, was convicted of the murder of Kennedy and was originally sentenced to death, but it was later commuted to a life sentence. His motive was believed to have stemmed from a combination of his anti-Zionist political beliefs (reacting to Kennedy's pro-Israel policies) and mental illness.

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The 1968 Democratic presidential nomination was won by Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who eventually lost to former Vice President Richard Nixon in the November election.

In 2005, the Ambassador Hotel was razed to make way for a Los Angeles Unified School District Campus. In 2010 the campus opened as Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, which houses several LAUSD-administered charter and magnet schools. An open space fronting Wilshire Boulevard was dedicated as Robert F. Kennedy Inspiration Park, serving as a memorial to the senator, his work, and his legacy.

In June 1967, Sen. Kennedy appeared in the debut episode of the KCET program, "Struggle for Peace," a series which dealt with the contemporary problems of war and peace in the world. The program's debut examined the military positions of the major world powers. Kennedy was interviewed, along with former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and other leading statesmen and militarists.

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