RFK Jr: It Wasn't Sirhan Sirhan

Slain candidate's son says he believes there was a 2nd shooter who fired the fatal shots
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2018 8:49 AM CDT
RFK Jr: It Wasn't Sirhan Sirhan
In this June 5, 1968 file photo, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy awaits medical assistance as he lies on the floor of the Ambassador hotel in Los Angeles moments after he was shot.   (Boris Yaro/Los Angeles Times via AP, File)

Nearly a half-century after bullets took the life of Robert F. Kennedy, Sirhan Sirhan, the man convicted of firing those bullets, has an unlikely defender: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The slain presidential candidate's third-eldest child tells the Washington Post that "I got to a place where I had to see Sirhan" because "I was curious and disturbed by what I had seen in the evidence" and "disturbed that the wrong person might have been convicted of killing my father." After a three-hour jailhouse visit with the convicted assassin in December—a conversation he won't discuss in detail—Kennedy Jr. says he believes that there was a second shooter at the Ambassador Hotel on June 5, 1968, and that Sirhan did not fire the fatal shots. Kennedy Jr., who was 14 when his father was assassinated, is now calling for a reinvestigation into his death.

He joins Paul Schrade, who was also shot that night, but survived. The case isn't without evidence: Sirhan was standing in front of Kennedy, but the autopsy showed that the fatal shots hit Kennedy from behind. Evidence in later years showed that as many as 13 shots were fired, though Sirhan's weapon held only eight bullets. "Yes, he did shoot me. Yes, he shot four other people and aimed at Kennedy," Schrade says. "The important thing is he did not shoot Robert Kennedy." Says Kennedy Jr., "Once Schrade showed me the autopsy report, then I didn’t feel like it was something I could just dismiss. Which is what I wanted to do." Sirhan has long held that he has no memory of the assassination, and some witnesses have said there was a second shooter. (More Robert F. Kennedy stories.)

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