Busboy Juan Romero has shared Robert F Kennedy's last words. Picture: AP
Busboy Juan Romero has shared Robert F Kennedy's last words. Picture: AP

Busboy reveals RFK’s final words

JUAN Romero is 67 now but he still struggles to talk about the moment Robert F Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in California 50 years ago.

Mr Romero was a 17 year old busboy when he shook hands with the then senator.

Juan Romero, 67, holds a photo of himself and the dying Sen. Robert F. Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Picture: AP
Juan Romero, 67, holds a photo of himself and the dying Sen. Robert F. Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Picture: AP

 

"I remember extending my hand as far as I could, and then I remember him shaking my hand," Mr Romero said on NPR's Morning Edition. "And as he let go, somebody shot him."

He says both he and Kennedy fell to the ground as the presidential hopeful spoke to him.

"I knelt down to him and I could see his lips moving, so I put my ear next to his lips and I heard him say, 'Is everybody OK?' I said, 'Yes, everybody's OK," Mr Romero said. "I put my hand between the cold concrete and his head just to make him comfortable.

"I could feel a steady stream of blood coming through my fingers," he continued. "I remember I had a rosary in my shirt pocket and I took it out, thinking that he would need it a lot more than me. I wrapped it around his right hand and then they wheeled him away."

In this June 5, 1968 file photo, presidential hopeful Sen. Robert F. Kennedy waves goodbye to his supporters as he prepares to leave the Ambassador Hotel ballroom in Los Angeles, before exiting through a kitchen backstage. Picture: AP
In this June 5, 1968 file photo, presidential hopeful Sen. Robert F. Kennedy waves goodbye to his supporters as he prepares to leave the Ambassador Hotel ballroom in Los Angeles, before exiting through a kitchen backstage. Picture: AP

Mr Romero revealed that he got a lot of hate mail after the assassination with many people saying that the busboy should have done more to save Kennedy's life.

"One of them event went as far as to say that, 'If he hadn't stopped to shake your hand, the senator would have been alive,' so I should be ashamed of myself for being so selfish," he said.

Romero said he asked Kennedy for forgiveness when he visited his grave at the Arlington National Cemetery in 2010.

"I felt like I needed to ask Kennedy to forgive me for not being able to stop those bullets from harming him," Mr Romero said.

His comments came as Robert F Kennedy Jr and his sister Kathleen Kennedy Townsend both said this week that they believe the wrong man went to jail for their father's death.

Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian with Jordanian citizenship, was arrested and sentenced to life in prison following Kennedy's death the day after he was shot.

Robert F Kennedy Jr has visited Sirhan, now 74, in prison and reviewed the case. He says it doesn't make sense that Sirhan shot his father.

While he pleaded guilty, Sirhan has constantly maintained that he did not shoot Kennedy.

Multiple pieces of evidence suggest that Sirhan was in front of Kennedy when he was shot.

However, Robert F Kennedy Jr's other seven siblings do not want an investigation into their father's death reopened.

'The reason that people are interested in the circumstances of my father's death is because of what he did with his life,' Kerry Kennedy said. "And I think we should focus on his life and not so much on his death - his moral imagination, his capacity for empathy, his quest to heal divisions, and his belief that one person can make a difference."

Ethel Kennedy was pregnant with the couple's youngest child, Rory, when her husband died.


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