Robert Kennedy’s children believe there was a second gunman when their father was assassinated
Two of Robert Kennedy’s children have called for a new investigation into the assassination of their father.
They believe there is sufficient evidence to suggest that there was a second gunman at the hotel where their father died.
Kennedy was assassinated 50 years ago (on 6 June 1968). He was shot by Sirhan Sirhan at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
He was celebrating, having won the California Primaries in his bid to become the next US President.
Sirhan was convicted of Kennedy’s murder and sentenced to death in 1969, although his sentence was reduced to life in prison in 1972 after California abolished the death penalty.
Now Robert F. Kennedy, Jr and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend are calling for another investigation into their father’s death.
They say there is sufficient evidence to suggest there was a second gunman at the hotel.
The autopsy report said that Kennedy had been shot from behind at point blank range. However, no witnesses saw Sirhan get near enough to Kennedy to shoot him from so close – or from behind.
One witness was Paul Schrade, who was one of five other people who were shot during the incident. Schrade was shot in the head as he tried to tackle Sirhan.
He says that having searched his memory, it couldn’t have been Sirhan who shot Kennedy from behind as he was facing him from the wrong angle and was too far away.
There is also audio recording of the events as a Polish reporter left his recording device running after Kennedy’s speech. The audio suggests that there were 13 gunshots.
However, the .22-caliber revolver that Sirhan had used only held eight bullets.
Sirhan, who was 24 at the time, has always maintained that he had no recollection of shooting Kennedy and many people believe he may have been hypnotised.
Robert Kennedy Jr, an environmental attorney and activist, has spent time with Sirhan, having visited him at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility.
Kennedy Jr said: “I went there because I was curious and disturbed by what I had seen in the evidence. I was disturbed that the wrong person might have been convicted of killing my father.
“My father was the chief law enforcement officer in this country. I think it would have disturbed him if somebody was put in jail for a crime they didn’t commit.”
“There were too many bullets. You can’t fire 13 shots out of an eight-shot gun.”
His sister Kathleen, the former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, is joining him in calling for a new investigation.
She told the Boston Globe: “I think Bobby makes a compelling case.”
However, not all of the 11 Kennedy siblings are in favour of re-opening an investigation.
Kerry Kennedy told the Boston Globe: “The reason that people are interested in the circumstances of my father’s death is because of what he did with his life.
“And I think we should focus on his life and not so much on his death — his moral imagination, his capacity for empathy, his quest to heal divisions, and his belief that one person can make a difference.”
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling