Witness Claims Second Shooter Killed RFK At Convicted Assassin's Parole Hearing
A man who was standing beside Senator Robert F. Kennedy when he was assassinated in 1968 has asked for the investigation into the murder to be reopened, saying there was a second gunman involved. He also testified at convicted killer Sirhan Sirhan's recent parole hearing, advocating for the man's release. Paul Schrade, now 91, was involved with the United Auto Workers and a labor chairman on Senator Robert F. Kennedy's presidential campaign. He was also a friend of the Kennedy family. He was with Kennedy on June 5, 1968 when he was fatally shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Schrade, too, was shot in the head, but survived.
In an interview with The Saratogan last year, Shrade recounted, "I got hit with the first shot. I was right behind [Kennedy]. It was meant for him and got me. I thought I had been electrocuted. I was shaking violently on the floor and saw flashes."
Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian man who had apparently been angry with Kennedy over his support of Israel, was ultimately convicted of the crime. But Schrade believes that while Sirhan was the man who shot him and the others, it was someone else who killed Kennedy. He showed up to Sirhan's fifteenth parole hearing to testify on Sirhan's behalf, according to the Guardian.
Schrade said that Sirhan couldn't have shot Kennedy, because "he was never in the position to do this." He claims that experts never matched the bullets that hit Kennedy to Sirhan's gun, and that Kennedy was shot from behind while Sirhan was in front of Kennedy, according to ABC 10.
Schrade believes that for some unknown reason, the government covered up what really happened, but also that those who orchestrated the cover-up are now dead.
Schrade wants LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and the L.A. County District Attorney to reopen the case, KTLA reports. "We know the case and they know the case, and they can't face up to their public and legal responsibility of dealing with the second gunman who shot [Kennedy]," he told the station.
The way the assassination has typically gone down in history is as such: Kennedy had just won the California primary and gave a speech to his supporters in a ballroom at The Ambassador Hotel, located in Koreatown until it was demolished in 2006. He attempted to take a shortcut through the hotel's kitchen to get to the press room. As he was shaking the hand of a teenage kitchen employee, Sirhan Sirhan stepped out from behind an ice machine and opened fire, fatally striking Kennedy and wounding four others, including Shrade. Sirhan was tackled to the ground and arrested, later telling authorities he was motivated to kill the Senator because of his support for Israel during the Six-Day War.
In a 1989 interview, he told Inside Edition's David Frost, "My only connection with Robert Kennedy was his sole support of Israel and his deliberate attempt to send those 50 bombers to Israel to obviously do harm to the Palestinians."
At this most hearing, however, Sirhan claimed, as he has in the past, that he has no recollection of the assassination.
"If you want a confession, I can't make it now," he said. He said that anything he had said during his trial was because his lawyer had made him believe he was guilty of the crime.
Sirhan has also previously claimed to have been hypnotized by an attractive woman into performing the shooting after a day of drinking at the hotel.
Shared said that he has documents indicating that the LAPD and Los Angeles County District Attorney mishandled the case, and that forensic experts have been able to use audio to show that a total of 13 shots were fired from two separate guns.
There is only one known audio recording of the incident, knowing as the Pruszynski recording, so named for Stanislaw Pruszynski, a freelance Polish journalist who was covering Kennedy's campaign. Forensic expert Philip Van Praag gave an interview to CNN in 2008 in which he talks about the 13 shots and the second gun. He claims there was an instance of a double shot, in which the shots are too close together to have been fired from a single gun.
Ultimately, Sirhan was denied parole as commissioners felt as though he did not show enough understanding or remorse for his crime. Schrade addressed him as he left the hearing, saying, "Sirhan, I'm so sorry this is happening to you. It's my fault."
This is the fifteenth time Sirhan has been denied parole. He will be up for it again in 2021.