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In Focus

RFK 50 years later: A look back at the assassination of Bobby Kennedy

Shortly after he finished his California primary victory speech on June 5, 1968, Robert F. Kennedy was shot. He died the next day.

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June 5, 1968

Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, 42, addresses campaign workers and supporters at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after winning the Democratic presidential primary in California. He is flanked by his wife, Ethel, and his California campaign manager, Jesse Unruh, who was speaker of the California Assembly.

 

Dick Strobel / AP
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Kennedy, who represented New York in the Senate, delivered his victory speech in the hotel ballroom after winning the primary.

Bill Eppridge / The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Minutes after his speech, Kennedy was shot as he made his way through the hotel kitchen. Juan Romero, a Mexican immigrant working at the hotel as a busboy, tried to comfort him. 

Bill Eppridge / The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Romero, now 67, was waiting to shake Kennedy's hand when shots rang out. He then tried to keep the senator's bleeding head from touching the kitchen floor.

Boris Yaro / Los Angeles Times via AP
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Romero gives his statement to police.

Frank Carroll / NBC NewsWire via Getty Images
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June 6, 1968

Kennedy's wife, Ethel, and brother, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., at the airport in Los Angeles as they depart with Kennedy's body.

Harold Filan / AP
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Image: Frank Mankiewicz, Coretta Scoott King

Mrs. Coretta Scott King, center, enters St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York for Kennedy's funeral. Kennedy's press secretary, Frank Mankiewicz, is in front of her. Both had been aboard the plane that flew his casket from Los Angeles.

AP
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June 7, 1968

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy holds a cross while sitting in a pew during the wake at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Anthony Camerano / AP
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Former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy with her children, Caroline and John Jr.

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Ethel Kennedy blows a kiss at her husband's casket.

AP
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June 8, 1968

Mourners outside St. Patrick's Cathedral on the day of the funeral.

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An honor guard stands over Kennedy's casket in St. Patrick's Cathedral.

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Quoting his brother, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy said in his eulogy: "Some men see things as they are, and say why? I dream things that never were, and say why not?"

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Sen. Edward M. Kennedy escorts his sister-in-law Ethel Kennedy during the funeral.

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Mourners lined Fifth Avenue outside the cathedral to get a glimpse of Kennedy's casket.

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"The Train: RFK's Last  Journey" at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Mourners along the route of the train that took Kennedy's body from New York to Washington. 

This photo is part of a show, "The Train: RFK's Last Journey," at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art until June 10.

Paul Fusco / Courtesy SFMOMA/Danziger Gallery/Magnum Photos
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"The Train: RFK's Last  Journey" at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Mourners line the train tracks to pay their final respects.

Taken from the funeral train, this image is part of "The Train: RFK's Last Journey" at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Paul Fusco / Courtesy SFMOMA/Danziger Gallery/Magnum Photos
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"The Train: RFK's Last  Journey" at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

"There were people everywhere," recalls photographer Paul Fusco. "It was solemn and quiet. No yelling. I stood in the same spot on the train until it got dark and I photographed everything I saw on the track that day."

Paul Fusco / Courtesy SFMOMA/Danziger Gallery/Magnum Photos
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"The Train: RFK's Last  Journey" at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

An estimated 2 million people gathered along tracks and platforms to watch the train pass. 

Paul Fusco / Courtesy SFMOMA/Danziger Gallery/Magnum Photos
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Ethel Kennedy at the burial service in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

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June 10, 1968

Kennedy's grave is marked by a plain white cross in Arlington National Cemetery.

In the foreground, a guard carries a floral gift. The senator's grave is near that of his brother President John F. Kennedy.

AP
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Image: Sirhan Parsons

Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, Kennedy's assassin, with his attorney, Russell E. Parsons.

Half a century later, two of Kennedy’s children are calling for a new investigation into their father's death.

 

AP
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