In 1968, Senator Robert Kennedy was shot to death during a campaign stop at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. This tragedy ushered a new Secret Service duty of protecting presidential candidates.
Hotel busboy Juan Ramirez was shaking the senator’s hand when the shots were fired. He now has his own family and lives in San Jose – this is an excellent follow-up piece on Ramirez.
Kennedy had an entourage with him as he was attacked in the hotel kitchen, and panic and confusion ensued when the shots were fired. Writer George Plimpton, who was a personal friend of Kennedy, assisted in wrestling Sirhan to the floor with one of Kennedy’s private bodyguards. Sirhan continued firing the gun during the struggle, wounding William Weisel of ABC News, Paul Schrade of the United Auto Workers union, Democratic Party activist Elizabeth Evans, Ira Goldstein of the Continental News Service, and Kennedy campaign volunteer Irwin Stroll.
Officially, Palestinian Arab Sirhan Sirhan was convicted of the murder – he was apprehended at the scene with a gun – but like all Kennedy-related scandals, there are conspiracy theories. Nonetheless, Sirhan Sirhan is still living out a life sentence at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego County, California. His crime is widely credited as the first act of political violence over the Arab-Israeli conflict.
George Plimpton died in 2003 after a versatile career as a writer and actor (he has a cameo as a psychologist in Good Will Hunting).
William Weisel continued to cover politics for NBC news for another 12 years before relocating to Napa Valley and retiring from journalism to enter the restaurant business.
Paul Schrade was not re-elected to union office after the assassination and took a factory job. He has repeatedly accused the LAPD of botching the investigation into the assassination and still believes that there was a second gunman present.
Irwin Stroll went on to become an interior designer to the stars and died in 1995.
Ira Goldstein left journalism to start a privately-owned business – he does not give interviews.
Elizabeth Evans faded from politics after the shooting – her whereabouts are unknown.
If you’re interested in the conspiracy rabbit hole, a new book due out this November entitled A Lie Too Big to Fail will detail the LAPD’s investigation and basically tear it apart – you can pre-order a copy on Amazon here.