On This Day In 1968: Robert F. Kennedy Is Shot Moments After Winning California Primary : It's All Politics Forty-one years ago today, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-NY) declares victory in the California Democratic presidential primary — and moments later is mortally wounded by an assassin's bullets.
NPR logo On This Day In 1968: Robert F. Kennedy Is Shot Moments After Winning California Primary

On This Day In 1968: Robert F. Kennedy Is Shot Moments After Winning California Primary

June 5, 1968:

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Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-NY), moments after declaring victory in Tuesday's Democratic presidential primary in California, is shot three times by Sirhan Sirhan, a Jordanian immigrant, at Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel.

Kennedy, who never regains consciousness, dies 25 hours later, on June 6.

Kennedy had won a hard-fought primary over Sen. Eugene McCarthy (D-MN), who had defeated him the week before in Oregon. He received 46 percent of the vote to McCarthy's 42 percent. An unpledged slate favorable to the Johnson-Humphrey administration, headed by state Attorney General Thomas Lynch, finished third with 12 percent.

In California's Republican Senate primary, liberal incumbent Thomas Kuchel is upset by Max Rafferty, the state superintendent of public instruction and a staunch conservative. The Democrats nominate former state Controller Alan Cranston, who will defeat Rafferty in November.