17 Haunting Images That Capture RFK’s Assassination

On the 45th anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination, we look back at his final hours. (WARNING: graphic images)

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Frank Carroll / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The 1968 presidential primary elections in California were held on Tuesday, June 4. Four hours after the polls closed in California, Sen Robert F. Kennedy claimed victory in the state’s Democratic presidential primary (he had also won South Dakota earlier that evening).

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Bill Eppridge/Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images

Kennedy’s children, Kerry, 8, Courtney, 11, David, 12, and Michael, 10, sat with their Aunt Jean Kennedy Smith, as they watched the Democratic presidential primary election returns from their suite at the Ambassador Hotel.

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Bill Eppridge/Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images

Before heading towards his victory speech in the Ambassador Hotel ballroom, Kennedy stopped by the kitchen to shake hands with the workers.

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Julian Wasser//Time Life Pictures / Getty Images

At approximately 12:10 a.m. PDT, Kennedy (along with his wife Ethel) addressed his campaign supporters in the Ambassador Hotel’s Embassy Room ballroom.

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Bill Eppridge/Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images

The victory in California and South Dakota was an important one for Kennedy. At the time he was substantially behind incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey (who had announced his candidacy after LBJ withdrew from the race) in Democratic Party delegates.

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Bill Eppridge/Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images

Kennedy signs a campaign poster for one of his supporters shortly before his assassination.

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CSU / Everett / Rex USA

Kennedy was shaking hands with busboy, Juan Romero, in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel when he was shot.

According to reports, Kennedy asked Romero, “Is everybody safe, OK?” and Romero responded, “Yes, yes, everything is going to be OK.” Romero then placed a rosary in his hand.

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Popperfoto / Getty Images
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Bill Eppridge/Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images
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Bill Eppridge/Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images

Ethel pleading with the crowd of shocked onlookers to give them some room.

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Bill Eppridge/Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images
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Bill Eppridge/Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images

Caption from Life.

“Mrs. Robert Kennedy, who had been walking with the senator, crouched over her dying husband, whispering to him as he lay on the floor. Beside her, waiting for the ambulance attendants to arrive, knelt her sister-in-law, Mrs. Stephen Smith and Dr. Ross Miller.”

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Popperfoto / Getty Images
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CSU / Everett / Rex USA

The shooter Sirhan B. Sirhan, a Jerusalem-born Palestinian Christian, targeted Kennedy because of his strong support for Israel. The date of the assassination (June 5) conceded with the one-year anniversary of the first day of the Six-Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

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Frank Carroll / NBC NewsWire via Getty Images

William Weisel of ABC News, was one of five other people shot by Sirhan Sirhan,

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Bill Eppridge/Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images

A Kennedy supporter in shock after his assassination.

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CSU / Everett / Rex USA

One of the last photos of Kennedy, as he is being transported to hospital.

Kennedy died at 1:44 A.M. PDT, on June 6, nearly 26 hours after the shooting. He was only 42-years-old and was survived by his wife and 11 children. His last child, Rory, was born six months after the assassination.

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