It was just after midnight on the 5th June 1968, when to the roar of the supporters, Senator Robert Kennedy, emerged into the light of the ballroom at the Ambassador Hotel, San Francisco. After one of the most turbulent campaigns in living memory, he seemed to have taken a decisive step towards the Democrat presidential nomination, having narrowly defeated his anti-war rival Senator Eugene McCarthy, in the California and South Dakota primaries.
For months Kennedy had hesitated about challenging President Lyndon Johnson over the Vietnam War, but at last the prize was in sight. Now as the crowds pressed urgently around him, his aides propelled him towards the Press Room via the Hotel Kitchen.
It was there that 24 year old Palestinian drifter Sirhan Sirhan, angry at Kennedy’s support for Israel, saw his chance. As the Senator was pushed past him he shot and fired his handgun three times into Kennedy.
Even as Kennedy’s bodyguards wrestled Sirhan to the ground, the Senator was laid on the floor bleeding from his wounds. A few minutes later he was rushed by paramedics to hospital. Kennedy clung on to life for nearly 24 hours but in the end his press secretary had to announce that Robert F Kennedy had been pronounced dead at 2am on the 6th June 1968. Less than five years after his elder brother had been shot dead, and American politics had claimed another Kennedy.