Juan Romero cradling the head of a dying Robert F. Kennedy and a photo of the abandoned and now demolished kitchen hallway of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles where Robert F. Kennedy was mortally wounded by an assassin’s bullet. Juan Romero died this past Monday at the age of 68 from a heart attack. He was the last person to shake Kennedy’s hand before Kennedy was struck down.
The LA Times is reporting tonight that Juan Romero has died of a heart attack at the age of 68. Romero was the busboy seen cradling the head of a mortally wounded Robert F. Kennedy in the iconic photograph taken shortly after Kennedy had been shot in the head by an assassin's bullet. Romero was forever haunted by what happened just after midnight on June 5, 1968, when he was on duty as a busboy at the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Blvd. near Koreatown in Los Angeles. Romero was just 17 at the time. Romero was in the habit of leaving flowers at that monument each year to mark RFK’s death. He said he often felt we as a nation were moving further politically from what he saw as a Kennedy legacy of tolerance and compassion.
As Robert F. Kennedy lays mortally wounded in the Ambassador Hotel’s kitchen area, busboy Juan Romero cradles Kennedy's head and places a rosary in his hand. Kennedy asks Romero: "Is everybody OK?" Romero responds, "Yes, everybody's OK." Kennedy then turns away and says, "Everything's going to be OK.” This moment is captured by Life magazine photog Bill Eppridge and Boris Yaro of the Los Angeles Times and becomes the iconic image of the presidential hopeful’s assassination. A witness states that a female in a polka-dot dress repeatedly exclaims, "We killed him! We killed him!” before running away - video footage of her testimony can be seen in the new Netflix series "Bobby Kennedy for President” - I highly recommend watching the 4-part series. Kennedy is shot three times. One bullet is fired at a range of about 1 inch (2.5 cm) and enters behind his right ear, dispersing fragments throughout his brain. The other two enter at the rear of his right armpit; one exits from his chest and the other lodges in the back of his neck. Despite extensive neurosurgery to remove the bullet and bone fragments from his brain, Kennedy is pronounced dead at 1:44AM on June 6, nearly 26 hours after the shooting. This past week, it is revealed that two of Kennedy’s children want a new investigation into his death. Robert Kennedy Jr. believes someone else - and not Sirhan Sirhan - shot his father. Robert Kennedy Jr. met with Sirhan in prison earlier this year. (Fun fact: Robert Kennedy Jr.'s wife is, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” actress, Cheryl Hines. Haines waited outside in the car for two hours while Kennedy spoke with his father’s assassin. #deadinhollywood #robertfkennedy #ambassadorhotel #midwilshire #losangeles #hollywood #truecrime #zines
On this primary night, let’s not forget that 50 years ago today on June 5, 1968, presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy is mortally wounded after winning California’s Democratic presidential primary. Kennedy addresses his supporters at 12:10AM in the Ambassador Hotel’s Embassy Room Ballroom in the Mid-Wilshire district of L.A. - at this time, the secret service only provides protection for incumbent presidents but not for presidential candidates. Kennedy ends his speech by stating: "My thanks to all of you; and now it’s on to Chicago, and let’s win there!” He is supposed to walk through the ballroom, but William Barry, Kennedy’s bodyguard and former FBI agent, stops him and says, “No, it’s been changed. We’re going this way.” He clears the way for Kennedy to go left through swinging doors to the kitchen corridor, but Kennedy is hemmed in by the crowd and follows maître d' Karl Uecker through a back exit. Uecker leads Kennedy through the kitchen area, holding his right wrist but releasing it as Kennedy shakes hands with well-wishers. Uecker and Kennedy start down a passageway narrowed by an ice machine against the right wall and a steam table to the left. Kennedy turns to his left and shakes hands with busboy Juan Romero—just as his assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, steps down from a low tray-stacker beside the ice machine, rushes past Uecker, and repeatedly fires a .22 caliber revolver...