The Assassination of Robert Kennedy

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'I'm afraid there are guns between me and the White House' - Robert Kennedy 1968

Robert Kennedy

The Assassination

The Number of Bullets

More than one Gunman?

Pruszynski Recording

CIA Involvement

More than one Gunman?
It's certain there was more than one gun 'displayed' in the kitchen pantry as RFK lay dying on the floor. What's unknown is whether this fact had any part to play in his death. And what's disturbing is the apparent lack of effort from the LAPD to investigate whether another gun played a part.

Eyewitnesses were a bit of a problem for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). Take the case of Don Schulman. Schulman was about twelve feet from Kennedy and was one of the witnesses who saw Thane Cesar, one of the Ambassador hotel's security team draw his gun at the time of the shooting, a fact supported by Cesar himself. Schulman also was certain he saw other men with guns in the pantry. However during one of his LAPD interviews (see Larry Hancock article) we can see the direction the official version of events was taking by sticking to the position that only Sirhan had a gun;

Interviewer: “No, there were no other guns.”

Schulman: “I thought I saw em.”

Interviewer: “Nope, you didn’t.”

After Schulman left the room, the tape continues to run, there is further discussion.

“….he really has not changed his (story), he’s sticking with….he still sees guns and this kind of shit…I think if this thing is going to go anyplace and he’s going to be a problem, I’d like to call him back in and we’ll interrogate him.” As author Melanson observes, given that Schulman had just been questioned for an hour and a half, the nature of any further “interrogation” seems to be more on the order of “intimidation” rather than “investigation!”

So a witness standing 12 feet from Kennedy who claims he saw other men with guns near the scene was not asked one iota about where these men were standing, what they looked like, what their actions were! How could anyone claim that there was a thorough investigation carried out?

If there was a second gunman who fired at Kennedy who could it be? Thane Cesar, known for his extreme right wing and anti-Kennedy views seems the most likely suspect, even before we mention where he was positioned in relation to Kennedy.

Another eyewitness, Scott Enyart, supported this view. According to Enyart, Thane Cesar was escorting Kennedy, and was holding him by his right elbow from behind. Rosey Grier, one of Kennedy's bodyguards was in front of him helping to clear the way. When the shooting started people were startled with some falling over in the ensuing panic including Cesar. Cesar had drawn his weapon at some point before he got up. Enyart didn't see him fire, but maybe he did return fire and accidentally (or not) shoot Kennedy from behind (as the autopsy stated). In fact when Kennedy fell he pulled Cesar clip-on tie and had it in his hand as he lay on the ground indicating the proximity of Cesar to Kennedy.

Thane Cesar

Some worrying details have arisen about Thane Cesar's involvement. While admitting to the police firstly that he had gun with him that night, secondly was within touching distance of Kennedy (actually holding his arm) when he was shot at by multiple bullets, and thirdly had drawn his gun, the police never confiscated his gun at the scene and hence never tested it to see if it was fired that night. Now this to me suggests incompetance rather than suggesting that the police that arrived at the scene and took charge of the incident were actually in on some conspiracy and intentionally let Cesar slip through their fingers.

But for it never to be tested at any stage of the investigation once again is gross incomptenance and makes you wonder how a verdict can be arrived at on the assassination without all evidence being thoroughly investigated.

Also Cesar claimed that he was carrying a .38 that night, which was issued to him by the ACE security company he was employed by that night, rather than his .22 (the calibre used by Sirhan). The bullets recovered at the scene were all 0.22s. But how do we know, or more importantly why don't we know what calibre gun Cesar was armed with that night. He then claimed (lied to the police) he had actually sold his .22 to Jim Yoder three months prior to the assassination. In 1972 Jim Yoder was tracked down and produced the receipt of the sale. The receipt was dated September 6th 1968, three months after the assassination! Former FBI agent William Turner and investigative reporter John Christian (see their book 'The Assassination of Robert Kennedy', Oct. 2006) arrived at Jim Yoder's house to be told that the gun had been stolen, and this theft happened just after the LAPD had phoned Yoder making enquires about the gun. But surely this is just a coincidence, since the gun apparently was recovered and returned many years later by the thieves, one of who came forward after learning about its significance. It was tested by the FBI and the results were inconclusive.

Dwyane Wolfer, chief criminalist claimed they were able to match bullets from the crime scene to Sirhans gun. However after the trial it was discovered that the serial number on the envelope containing the bullets used to convict Sirhan did not match the serial number of Sirhans gun, the LAPD claimed the envelope was just mis-labelled. But was the correct gun tested? Was it the test gun or Sirhan's gun?

Ted Charach's excellent documentery from 1973, The Second Gun, (if you have an hour and 39 minutes to spare sometime have a look at this thought provoking film) stirred many people in the US and friends of the Kennedy's including Paul Schrade, attorney Vincent Bugliosi, newscaster Baxter Ward, forensic scientist Robert Joling, criminalist Herbert MacDonnell and assassination researchers began to put pressure on the Californian authorities and forced a new hearing into the case.

Seven ballistic experts were court-appointed in 1975 to look specifically at the theory of a second gun. And while the theory was ruled out 'officially' one of the panel members, Lowell Bradford, felt after scrutinising the evidence that the question of a second gun was 'more open than before'. Do we know if other panel members felt the same?

Quote Criminalistics professor Herbert MacDonnell had signed an affidavit in 1973 stating that a bullet removed from RFK's neck, exhibit #47, could not have been fired from Sirhan's gun. He further stated that, based on the differing number of cannelures (grooves), it could not have been fired from the same gun as exhibit #54, a bullet removed from victim William Weisel. In a 1974 public hearing, California state crime lab veteran Lowell Bradford concurred UnQuote

Did Cesar ever get questioned by the authorities regarding these descrepancies, if only to clear up the matter and rule him out of the equation? Don't think so.

Do we know anything about Thane Cesar's connections to shady characters?


John Marshall, a reporter with KFWB interviewed Cesar almost immediately after the shooting. A couple of answers from Cesar are a bit strange but by themselves I don't think they implicate him. They can be explained, I think.

Marshall: Officer, can you confirm that the senator was shot?
Cesar: Yes, I was there holding his arm when they shot him.

The use of the word 'they' in his answer seems to suggest to some people that Cesar somehow knew there was more that Sirhan involved, but surely it could just be a figure of speech from someone (Cesar) just after hearing a number of gun shots.

Marshall: And what sort of wound did the Senator receive?
Cesar: Well, from where I could see it looked like he was shot in the head and the chest and the shoulder.

Just how Cesar knew this from looking at Kennedy lying on his back on the floor is a bit of a mystery since Kennedy was indeed shot in the head, chest and shoulder but, aside from perhaps being able to see his chest wound, the other two wounds weren't visible or established, since they were at the back of the head and back of the shoulder, until sometime later when examined by a doctor. However it's possible that in the moments as Kennedy lay dying people around him tried to stop the bleeding (Juan Romero?) and anybody looking on may have seen where the bleeding was coming from (more on this later).

But then again Cesar in the same brief interview claims he only heard four shots fired when we know there were minimum of eight fired. So maybe Cesar was just caught up in the confusion, bedlam and terror of the moment like many others and no weight should be given to the accuracy or inaccuracy of statements in the interview.


Jimmy Hoffa involvement?

The FBI had reports of a 'contract killing' on RFK organised by Jimmy Hoffa who was a public enemy of the Kennedys and in the Lewisburg penitentiary at the time.


The LAPD had jurisdiction over the case as it was not a federal offence to murder a presidential candidate in 1968. The LAPD refused to release their files on the assassination and no reasons were given. After pressure from the general public and in particular from Kennedy assassination researchers they eventually released them almost 20 years later.

And as the researchers began to investigate the case it became clear that many documents and photographs were missing or destroyed, especially ones that may have contradicted the LAPD's version of the assassination. The LAPD stated 2400 photographs were burned because they claimed they were duplicates. But they could not produce evidence to support their claim and had no proper inventory of the photos such as a list or log of destroyed photos. They also stated they destroyed the door frame and ceiling tiles held as evidence due to lack of storage space. The LAPD recorded 3470 interviews throughout their investigation but only 301 were released to the public. And on top of this many of the key witnesses claimed no records were taken of their interviews.

It quickly became apparent that the LAPD had destroyed critical material evidence including ceiling tiles, door frame, photographs and misrepresented key facts and obstructed independent efforts to resolve the critical issues in the case. They went out of their way to hinder persons who were trying to unravel what really happened. Essentially, they made sure that nobody else could come to any conclusion about the case other than what they concluded - that Sirhan was the lone gunman.

Autopsy evidence
Los Angeles Coroner Thomas Noguchi conducted the official autopsy on Robert Kennedy. He concluded, based on powder burns on his skin, that the fatal bullet was fired from point blank range (less than two inches) from Kennedy, and entered the back of his head behind his right ear and travelled in an upward direction. But all the eyewitnesses placed Sirhan in front of Kennedy at all times and at no stage did Kennedy turn his back to Sirhan and said he was never less than four to six feet away. In fact the autopsy showed that all three shots that hit Kennedy came from behind. So how could Kennedy be shot from the back three times by a man who stood in front of him?

In the confusion and bedlam could Kennedy have turned his back to Sirhan, just for a brief moment, with nobody noticing? Not according to Karl Uecker, who was one of the few people in the midst of the incident. The following is a quote from this excellent site

One witness, Karl Uecker, who struggled with Shiran when he was firing his gun, provided a written statement in 1975 about what he saw: “There was a distance of at least one and one-half feet between the muzzle of Shiran’s gun and Senator Kennedy’s head. The revolver was directly in front of my nose. After Shiran’s second shot, I pushed the hand that held the revolver down, and pushed him onto the steam table. There is no way that the shots described in the autopsy could have come from Shiran’s gun. When I told this to the authorities, they told me that I was wrong. But I repeat now what I told them then: Shiran never got close enough for a point-blank shot.”

Scott Enyart
The Scott Enyart saga is mysterious to say the least. One wonders what evidence he may have captured on his film. Scott Enyart was a 15 year old photographer, taking photos for his high school paper as Robert Kennedy walked through the pantry area of the Ambassador hotel. This aspiring press photographer took 18-20 pictures in the pantry area, and about 4-6 during the shooting and immediately afterwards as Kennedy was falling (for a moment or two Enyart hadn't realised he was shot, he just thought he stumbled and fell).

Enyart was taken to a police station, questioned, and his film confiscated. He was told it would be used for evidence (it never was) and would not get it back for 20 years as all evidence relating to the case was sealed for 20 years. In fact the LAPD themselves decided on this 20 year sealing of evidence so the public or press couldn't access the evidence. It seems they didn't legally have the right to do this but were never challenged.

In 1988 the evidence was transferred to the California State Archives and Enyart was told he could recover his confiscated film from there. When he contacted this institution he was told the film was not there and they assumed it had been destroyed along with a lot of other evidence from the Kennedy case by the LAPD. So he filed a 'stolen property' lawsuit against the LAPD. He wanted the LAPD to either give back the property or compensate for its loss. In 1996 it went to a jury trial.

Skip Miller, an L.A. lawyer was hired by the city of Los Angeles to deter Enyart from his case, to crush his case and to destroy the credibility of Enyart. This didn't work. The jury found in Enyart's favour and awarded him $450,000.

Miller's team claimed during the trial that they discovered the film amongst the archives. They tried to bring it to court (twice). The first time it arrived the package had apparently been tampered with so the judge said it was spoiled evidence, so it was sent back to the state archives, re-inventoried and sealed again.

The second time it was being brought to court it was stolen from the back of the couriers car on the way to court. This was bizarrely after the courier company was called by Skip Miller, who wanted all the information on the car, its colour, its route, its time of arrival. Very suspicious!

After the jury found in favour of Enyart the city appealed the verdict. When it went to appeal the entire case had amazingly been stolen from the clerks office. There was no clerk record of the original case in the court. The case had to be rebuilt and rewritten from attorney notes for the appeal process.