Suddenly he was there, inside a chic Lincoln Continental, spectacularly unprotected as he grinned at onlookers woozy at what dumb luck had plunked into their midst. The city of movie stars and rocks gods had been expecting him, just not in the cool shadows outside of downtown’s Biltmore Hotel. History had pulled a fast one. A brown-haired college student palming a metallic device when he stumbled across this scene had no intention of squandering his brush with chance fate. With nobody cordoning him off, he edged close enough to the man-of-the-hour to read his expression.

The student with the 35mm-camera had no idea about what he was going to capture.

Zooming out, the whole world was gnawing its cuticles watching to see if the polarizing face in the car could reproduce Camelot within any reasonable facsimile. Of course, the mob despised him, the political left was torn over him and Wall Street and the Kremlin harbored their own sharp opinions. But, as the college kid discovered in the year of the Tet Offensive and LSD-mixed Kool-Aid, the guy behind the excitement was mortal –a floppy-haired man weary around the eyes, facing backwards in the rear seat of somebody’s chrome-and-leather luxury sedan. Robert Francis Kennedy might’ve wanted to take a whiz or a grab a Philippe’s French-Dip nearby if not for his excursion in the filtered sunlight near Fifth Street and Grand Avenue.

RFK, an adventurer the first to dive into frigid waters and an armchair philosopher apt to quote the ancient Greeks, was achingly aware of his vulnerability to assassins by the time he’d arrived here for the 1968 California primary. Outwardly, the New York Senator and former U.S. Attorney General in his older brother’s administration ridiculed his fear of being murdered as tiny compared to his determination to achieve a higher good. Even so, palpable threats made him flinch, if not more fatalistic where the public couldn’t see. “Everybody,” one insider explained, “remembered Dallas.”

But did anyone learn from it where it counted? The young man with the camera—my older brother, Paul Jacobs—was able to get within about a dozen feet of the next potential leader of the free world until, finally, a staffer shooed him away. The resulting two photographs from a borrowed Nikon Nikorrmat caught RFK in unscripted poses, and not just any, either. Because Paul likely took them hours before infamy doubled down in the kitchen of the sprawling, Myron-Hunt-designed Ambassador Hotel, he unknowingly had on film a pair of the last privately captured photos of the second Kennedy to die on the job.

In grainy black and white, there he is fist-pumping wellwishers, including a woman in a polka dot scarf, while a couple of men with small movie cameras film from the driver’s side. A curious fellow in a fedora, sunglasses and a patterned shirt observes the action, and a bespectacled aide in the front passenger seat is caught mouth agape communicating with someone outside his door. In a more intimate photo, there he is again seated sideways with an absorbed expression and his hair parted in that hard, Ivy League sweep. To his right is the regal, brick façade of the Biltmore, L.A.’s VIP address that had hosted under its Italian-like cathedral ceilings Academy Award ceremonies, Jack Kennedy during the 1960 Democratic National Convention, and The Beatles (via helipad) four years later. To the left are the Central Library and the office towers of Figueroa Boulevard.

This, however, is the sadly noble tale about the scar fate rolled over, not geography. Examine both photos carefully and you’ll notice a mark on RFK’s head that might mean more than anything or anyone in the frames. The misshapen, dime-sized blemish high up on the right side of his forehead, in fact, might have spared him from a killer’s bullet had the injury that caused it kept him away from the Ambassador. My brother had his own life-or-death component here, one connected to the figure in the Lincoln, which was probably light blue like the L.A. sky before chronic smog painted it taupe grit. By providence, he was bumping into the man perhaps best able to end the unpopular war that Jack green-lighted under the anti-communist “domino theory.” A war that Paul and his chums were convinced could very well get them killed in olive green military uniforms within a year or so of college graduation.

At the time of their brief encounter, my twenty-one-year-old brother with Dustin Hoffman Graduate-esque hair and a boy-next-door mug was a part-time statistician for L.A. County’s Probation Dept. — when he wasn’t taking his senior year classes at USC and getting used to life as a newly married man with tremors about the humid jungles of Southeast Asia in his head. As usual, after quitting time, he walked up from Temple Street to the west side of the Biltmore, where his then wife picked him up in their egg white VW Bug. This Tuesday was different. Paul, dumbfounded he could get within a football first down of Kennedy, clicked away, dwelling less on his subject’s political iconography than his rendezvous with celebrity, as if he’d lucked into a long elevator ride with Elvis.

Unintentionally exposing the safety of a presidential candidate whose own brother was executed was the last thing Paul contemplated. Yet, the camera he carried with him as an amateur shutterbug could have been a pistol; and that open, unprotected sedan—named after the slavery-abolishing president himself shot in the head 103 years earlier—another Kennedy casket. RFK’s entourage had already relived that parallel after firecrackers exploded next to the motorcade as it passed through San Francisco’s Chinatown during a campaign rally a few days earlier. Ethel, Kennedy’s pregnant wife, flung herself to the bottom of the car upon hearing the bursts. Though her husband had continued waving and smiling defiantly, a Newsweek columnist traveling with him noticed what others missed. The candidate’s knees buckled.

Such came with the territory only he could occupy. On a barnstorming tour of California the day before the primary on Tuesday, June 4, 1968—where he was contesting Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy and Vice President Hubert Humphrey for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination after Lyndon Johnson declined to seek reelection—the junior Kennedy was everywhere. On the Monday before, he’d flown from L.A. to the Bay Area, returned south to Watts and Long Beach, and then continued on to San Diego. Hitting those three big media markets for the news cycle required 1,200 miles worth of travel in 13 hours.

Big crowds whooped for him, even if not everyone was beguiled with his candidacy or his promise to bring peace to Vietnam and comfort to the disenfranchised. “How ‘bout your brother? Who killed your brother?” someone shouted. RFK, who was the third youngest of nine children, faltered in his speeches that day. A journalist with him said he acted “spaced-out,” his mind someplace else. “I don’t feel good,” he acknowledged to an aide, a rare admission for a man who’d been surviving on four hours of shuteye with nary a gripe. A campaign volunteer meeting him later that day likened his handshake to a “noodle.” RFK was acting withdrawn and mousy when his persona needed to be outsized and embracing.

At his last stop in San Diego, where 3,000 supporters turned out to hear him at the El Cortez Hotel, he was unable to finish his remarks on the first stab. He had to sit down on the stage before an aide took him to a bathroom, where he vomited. Returning to the audience, he tried completing his speech, wrapping up with a favorite proverb by George Bernard Shaw: “Some men see things as they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask, why not?” On the plane back to L.A. near midnight, the candidate shriveled in near-exhaustion. Ethel admonished the noisy reporters on board to leave him be. People meeting him for the first time then were struck by how aged he looked, his youthful face slightly wrinkled, brown-blond hair graying, blue eyes staring from a gaunt skull typical for an old man, not one 42. Was this really the leader who liked ending his day on the hustings with a bowl of chocolate ice cream and a Heineken?

Besides the enormity of what he was attempting, RFK was also stricken by the possibility that he had neglected his own family. In April, police in Hickory Hill, Indiana had apprehended David, one of his eleven children, for throwing rocks at passing motorists. A child psychologist that RFK queried about the behavior suggested the boy was hurling objects at people he didn’t know because he couldn’t lob them at someone he did. Like his Dad! Kennedy, thus, saw the upside of defeat. “If I lose,” he said, “I’ll go home and raise the next generation of Kennedy’s.” Probably thinking alone those lines, he took the six of his kids with him in California to Disneyland the Sunday before his Monday dash up and down the state ahead of primary balloting.

Something else that was neglected, appallingly, was his safety from madmen. Presidential candidates back then, even ones named Kennedy, traveled without U.S. Secret Service Protection. Equally absent was assistance from the Los Angeles Police Department, one of whose officers ticketed RFK’s motorcade for running a red light. Sam Yorty, the city’s feisty, attention-loving Republican mayor who’d supported JKF over Nixon in 1960, considered the younger Kennedy a radical. An East Coast subversive. Rather than all professionals, RFK’s bodyguards sometimes were celebrity athletes like Roosevelt Grier, the husky former-tackle for the Los Angeles Rams, and Olympic decathlete Rafer Johnson. In South Central, an activist group called the “Sons of Watts” watched out for him only a few months after a lone gunman had taken out Martin Luther King in Memphis. Why not ask the Hells Angels, as the Rolling Stones would do with deadly consequences at the Altamont in Northern California the next year, to guard his flank?

RKF shouldn’t have had to worry about any of it because it was hard enough being in the shadow of Jack—the war-hero-turned 35th president, America’s glamour-boy-in-chief, hand tucked stylishly in suit coat, a bedroom-eyed, political natural whether behind a podium or tossing out one liners with Hyannisport savoir faire. Robert, for much of his life, had been a tagalong bringing up the rear of a privileged New England family committed to public service (and private enjoyments). After Lee Harvey Oswald and/or others murdered his older brother that autumn day in Texas, RFK, then U.S. Attorney General, surrendered himself to existential grief, to questioning God with brooding indignation. But having battled the Mafia, J. Edgar Hoover, bullwhip segregationists, and the nuclearizing Soviets in his mid-thirties, he knew he had something to offer a divided country despite withstanding character attacks on him as an opportunist hanging ten on his family’s magic brand. In a way, RFK was harder to dissect than Jack, and tougher to promote. It wasn’t just the superficial—the semi-buck teeth, the reedy voice, and what one writer called a “shy gawkiness”—but a spirit coopted by innocent hope and raw cunning difficult to express on a bumper sticker.

When Robert needed California peace, he often headed toward the setting sun. In May, he’d spent time at the Malibu beach home of John Frankenheimer, who’d risen from actor to cameraman to director for such classics as “The Birdman of Alcatraz” and the Cold War mind-control thriller, “The Manchurian Candidate.” Out there with him on that visit were Shirley MacLaine, her brother Warren Beatty, actress Jean Seaberg and her novelist husband, Romain Gary. Comfortable on the coast, RFK returned with some of his family to Frankenheimer’s place on June 3rd, the night before the primary. Observing Robert’s bone-weary appearance, Frankenheimer let his guest and his wife stay in the master bedroom.

The next morning broke gray and chilly in a soupy, seasonal mist that Angelenos call “June Gloom.” If RFK was about to assume pole position over the two other Democrats by winning California, he needed a breather following nearly three months of nonstop campaign activity as a late-entering candidate. He spent a good part of what would end up his last earthly day sleeping in, playing with his kids in the choppy water, and sunning once the fog burned off. Transistor radios hyped the election before moving on to traffic and Dodger pitcher Don Drysdale’s bid for a sixth shutout. Rumors of George Harrison’s rental home off the Sunset Strip, on a street called Blue Jay Way, stayed off the airwaves.

On this same day was an incident that history stupendously has never zoomed in on in the post-mortems of what was to come. While swimming outside the director’s house, his son David was knocked off his feet by a crashing breaker and sucked beneath the waterline by California’s notorious undertow. Near him, RFK dove under to rescue his boy, pulling him to the surface. Both emerged from the saltwater bruised and scraped from being thrust onto the rocky ocean floor. Indeed, the elder Kennedy now sported a noticeable abrasion on his forehead mere hours before he might appear on national television. His terrified son was so grateful for his father’s nimble reflexes that he promised him he’d return the favor when he could.

Sometime later, the sapped presidential candidate got horizontal, falling asleep on two poolside chairs as Frankenheimer’s guests noshed from a buffet. One attendee studied RFK’s limp body and parted lips, dreading that he wasn’t breathing. Once awake, Kennedy suggested skipping his own election night celebration at the Ambassador Hotel. Just hang there. Defy convention. Family, friends and others could watch the primary results trickle in from Malibu. The media could travel out, too. By mid-afternoon, after exit polls showed him ahead of McCarthy in the California race, the notion of being a no-show at his own fete crumbled. Around 6:00 p.m., Frankenheimer, who was collecting footage for a campaign documentary and providing TV and film footage for RFK, daubed his forehead blemish with theatrical makeup so he wouldn’t appear like he had taken a hard Frisbee off the noggin.

The thirty-eight year old director then drove RFK, outfitted in a handsome, blue pinstriped suit, to the event about an hour east. Some accounts suggest that Frankenheimer, who had a passing resemblance to actor Leslie Nielsen, ferried him in his Rolls Royce Silver Shadow. A tantalizing online clip about the journey narrated by Fred Dutton, RFK’s campaign director, though, was filmed from a powder-blue convertible identical to what my brother photographed. Whatever car was used, Frankenheimer pressed the accelerator like “a bat out of hell that night…carried away” in the moment, Dutton said. Hollywood and Washington were never more incestuous than the day before the inevitable unthinkable. Frankenheimer, all the same, was berating himself for inviting over to RFK’s Malibu sendoff a batch of distracting showbiz types, among them Roman Polanski, director of the upcoming Rosemary’s Baby, his stunning wife, Sharon Tate, and future Walt Disney Corp. president Frank Wells. Cursing his decision-making, Frankenheimer drove past the Vermont Avenue turnoff, entangling himself in the traffic of the Harbor Freeway Interchange too far east. “Take it easy, John,” his passenger told him kindly. “Life is too short.”

In his suite at Mid-Wilshire’s Ambassador, an Establishment stomping ground in the experimental sixties, Kennedy found more celebrities—Milton Berle, George Plimpton, Budd Schulberg, John Glenn— in boisterous, party mode. Did RFK hear the news? He had clinched four out of five state primaries, giving him crucial tailwind needed to make him the Democratic nominee if California later fell into his column. RFK took nothing for granted whatever others’ excitement about his chances, edgy that McCarthy, the so-called “peace candidate,” might stymie him from a dominating victory in his home state of New York. Still, there was a difference in him from hours earlier when he’d pined to remain in Malibu. At the hotel, he acted unshackled, giddy, marginally cheeky, observers noted. He smoked a cigar in the hallway and quoted Lord Tweedsmuir about politics being an “honorable adventure.”

“I feel now for the first time that I’ve shaken off the shadow of my brother,” he told Kenny O’Donnell, his other campaign manager, in a phone call that evening. “I feel like I made it on my own.”

Everyone by now knows the bloodshed that prevented him from striding into the Oval Office. Just after midnight, after winning the all-important California primary, Kennedy appeared in the muggy, raucous hotel ballroom of the Ambassador. “We are a great country, an unselfish country, and a compassionate country…” he told supporters. “Now it’s on to Chicago, and let’s win there.”

“We want Bobby! We want Bobby!” the crowd chanted back.

En route to a victory party already underway at The Factory—a nightspot owned by Pierre Salinger, Sammy Davis Jr., and other liberal glitterati—RFK was led through the hotel kitchen. Some of his aides had psychedelic garb with them for the revelry. Just as their boss turned around to scout for his wife, a Palestinian-born drifter supposedly angry with Kennedy’s recent pro-Israel comments fired a snub-nosed .22 caliber Iver-Johnson cadet revolver. One bullet caught Kennedy behind the right ear. He fell backward onto the concrete floor with a hole in his head. Grier, Johnson, and faithful bodyguard Bill Barry wrestled with the shooter—24-year-old Sirhan Sirhan,—to make him drop the pistol. Somehow in the chaos Sirhan squirmed away and got his weapon again until he was subdued with hands around his throat. “Don’t kill him!” hollered Jesse “Big Daddy” Unruh, speaker of the California legislature, from the top of a serving table. “We want him alive,” meaning not executed before he could confess, as had happened with Jack Ruby in Dallas.

A total of 13 bullets were fired and five others besides RFK were struck, none lethally. “Is everybody else all right?” Robert Kennedy asked Ethel as she caressed him on the kitchen floor. He passed out from there, never to wake again. He was pronounced dead at 1:44 a.m. the next day. Hearing the news early the following morning, Paul felt a chill dash up his spine and blood vacate his stomach. Not only had he seen RFK through the lens of his camera the previous day, he had voted for him, too. Later, Kennedy’s body traveled by funeral train, just like Lincoln’s cortege, with tens of thousands of people lined up along the tracks to bid farewell.

Endorse or denounce his politics all you want, bath in his family’s mystique or harpoon it; one can still argue, even mawkishly, that with RFK’s final breath in a local hospital went America’s fleeting hope to redeem itself before its decade of disenchantment in the 1970s, before Nixon and his Watergate burglars, before Vietnam bled into deadly misadventure, before hyper-partisanship transmogrified into our fetid national state of being.

In the years that passed after his assassination, conspiracy theories twirled just as they had after Dallas, with some persuaded the mob or other conspirators engineered it. Could there have been a second gunman in the Ambassador kitchen that evening? Could the obscure Sirhan Sirhan have been a mind-controlled patsy planted to distract attention from the real assassin? Could the CIA have been involved, still livid with how the Kennedy’s treated the agency after the Bay of Pigs fiasco? Could another group have done it? How else to explain bullet trajectories that make little sense, skeptics asked? Sirhan’s lawyers in March 2012 officially contended their client did not discharge any of the bullets that killed RFK, no matter official conclusions to the contrary. In January 2012, in a strange compacting of time, Robert Kennedy Jr. revealed his father’s belief that Oswald did not act alone in assassinating John F. Kennedy and that the Warren Commission report that settled on the single-gunman theory was a “shoddy piece of craftsmanship.” RFK, said one son, even felt “some guilt” that his efforts against organized crime might have incited the mafia to put the hit on JFK.

I was a rascally six-year-old kid from distant, older parents living in the Pasadena foothills, not far from where Sirhan Sirhan resided, when the Ambassador’s floor ran red. My bedtime came after prime time Batman ended. Paul was 15 years older than me, meaning I idolized everything about him, from his insouciant popularity, to his brown MG sports car that he drove blasting the Beatle, to his feats of waterskiing derring-do. In 1969, the draft tapped him, and he was sent to Ford Ord in Monterey for Army training before a likely deployment to Vietnam. At first, it seemed bitchen-squared, as TV romanticized war and made heroes and villains absolute to a junior G.I. Joe like me. Before long, I had a military buzz-cut to imitate Paul and my own itchy Army jacket. The sergeant high on Paul’s leadership potential showered me with comic books, mess hall donuts, and niceness on one trip to Ford Ord.

Later, after the Army had Paul for some months, my intoxication with heroic combat began sobering. Every night, it seemed, the news showed the wounded being ferried to helicopters followed by “kill” numbers. Grownups openly bickered about whether Vietnam was worth the blood sacrifice. Back up to Ford Ord on another visit, the military staked a chain-link fence to separate adults from children to reduce their chances of contracting meningitis that had infected the base. I could only touch the brother I missed so tremendously through small, diamond-shaped squares in a cold fence. For some reason, my little-kid mind equated that distance with a more permanent one, where Paul returned dead from Vietnam in a body bag and my own joy was embalmed for good with him.

Safe to say that after serving his country, Paul survived. Decades later, when I became a writer, he emailed me the black-and-white photographs and explained the gut-wrenching timing behind them. I had no idea of their value. Busy with other projects, I let them stagnate on my hard drive for couple of years. Finally, with his permission, I posted them online, where bloggers, Kennedy experts and the Los Angeles Times made them an Internet sensation. The poignancy of them was undeniable. People tried deciphering who was driving the Lincoln and the Brylcreemed men in it. Was it a young John Kerry, Timothy Wirth? And what was the little motorcade doing outside the Biltmore on a campaign event nobody can peg?

The issue of when my brother took the pictures soon washed out other mysteries about them. Over the transom came an email from another Paul, Paul Schrade, and he was spitting BBs at the suggestion that the photos were taken mere hours before the killing at the Ambassador. Schrade at first dubbed the contention an “innocent mistake.” RFK had spent the entire day of the primary in Malibu, never near downtown, he said. Case closed. Fred Dutton, he said, “confirmed it.” As time went on the leonine-haired Schrade grew more livid with me, despite my and Paul’s acknowledgement that the photos might have been snapped a day or two earlier. Outsiders weighed in with a magnifying glass, examining RFK’s striped tie with others he’d donned.

I hit search engines for answers and within a millisecond understood that Schrade had justification for boiling feelings on the subject. June 1968 was still his private horror. At the time, he was a United Auto Workers chief and RFK’s labor campaign chief standing near the candidate when Sirhan opened fire. One bullet struck Schrade in the head with a jolt that he likened to being “electrocuted.” A signature photo from that evening’s slaughter, besides a bus boy leaning over the fallen Kennedy, was of Schrade’s head resting on a blood-soaked straw campaign hat while someone fanned him with a Newsweek magazine featuring RFK overlaid on JFK’s image. When Schrade heard Kennedy had died, someone told him Kennedy’s last words. “Is everyone all right? Is Paul all right?”

Schrade, not surprisingly, lived everyday with that traumatic moment, battling depression, losing his job, and working to uncover a conspiracy he believes killed his friend less than five years after his brother was cut down. “I was so angry,” Schrade told a reporter. “We should have realized it was going to happen again.” He has also tried keeping RFK’s flame alive as a person worth emulating. A few years ago, the $568 million Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, a cluster of schools built on the former Ambassador site at a record cost, opened, thanks largely to Schrade’s 23 years of work. In dedication to him, there is the “Paul Schrade Library.” Bullet fragments are still lodged in this skull.

My brother’s pictures seemed to have rattled them. Schrade accused me of exploiting them for personal aggrandizement, of using a remote connection to a remarkable family like a fame-mongering paparazzo. When I expressed sympathy with his perspective and asked for his assistance identifying the people with RFK in the Lincoln, he terminated his communication by saying he was “disappointed” in me. Paul Schrade wasn’t buying the timing of Paul Jacobs’ pictures, maybe because he believed all the knowable facts were in about Robert’s movements and pondering otherwise invited psychic vertigo.

Remembrance, not self-serving controversy, had been my intention in posting them, and yet by bringing out what had been unseen, it was if I’d waded into territory still too radioactive for outsider exploration. Another stranger with an opinion on the matter, this one from North Carolina, fortunately was more revelatory than accusatory. Dave Loughlin, a music publisher who had read about the photos online as a self-described Kennedyphile, educated me in a long, twangy voicemail that my brother’s snapshots were taken June 4th because RFK’s scrape from saving his son are clearly visible there and not in previous stills from the campaign. In the pre-digital era, the mark was equal to a time stamp. After I learned about Kennedy’s day in Malibu, I thanked Dave as my archaeologist. That scrape was a pinpoint. Whether it was also an omen (or pre-stigmata) I cannot say.

So what was RFK doing on sloping Bunker Hill on primary day 1968, if that’s the correct date for the photos, when he had already delivered a speech at the hotel in April? Maybe, just maybe, RFK was in downtown L.A. being filmed by Frankenheimer’s people for the documentary on this most extraordinary of days on a trip his associates never knew about or forgot to mentally warehouse in their miasma of grief and regret. Maybe, just maybe, it had happened after Frankeheimer missed his turn and circled back through downtown. I can only wish with quixotic delusion that there had never been any photographs, that Kennedy had smacked his head harder into the ocean floor, requiring stitches, concussion testing, and bed rest keeping him out of peril and in line for a presidency all about binding wounds and finding common ground again. RFK could have been our painkiller, our collective Vicodin, but Los Angeles robbed us of that fairytale.

“Historians have argued…about what Kennedy might have become, just as journalists and commentators in his lifetime debated who he really was,” author Evan Thomas wrote in his excellent biography, Robert Kennedy: His Life. “Was he the hard, bullying, McCarthyite, wiretapping, Hoffa-Castro-obsessed hater forever scowling and vowing to ‘get’ his enemies? Or was he the gentle, child-loving, poetry-reading, soulful herald of a new age? None of these images is wholly right; none wholly wrong. A better way to understand him is to examine his fear. He was brave because he was afraid. His monsters were too large and close at hand to simply flee. He had to turn and fight them.”

Treacherous endings were in store for many of those at Frankenheimer’s Malibu compound the day RFK suffered his watery scar. Killers from Charles Manson’s “Family” murdered Sharon Tate, her unborn child and four others in a Benedict Canyon house in August 1969. Nine years later, Tate’s widow, Roman Polanski, fled to France after he was charged with statutory rape. Frank Wells made it to 1994, dying in a helicopter crash in his tenth year as Disney’s profit-making president. Then there was David Kennedy, who had heard about his father’s murder on TV hours after his father had plucked him from the undertow. He perished from a drug overdose in Palm Beach, Florida in April 1984.

Frankenheimer might have taken a bullet himself had it not been decided last minute that Schrade was a better person to be on stage with RFK than a Hollywood personality. He’d been waiting in the Ambassador parking lot to whisk his friend to the victory party at The Factory until he heard a woman run out yelling, “Kennedy’s been shot.” The paradox could drive a man insane. RFK had left his clothes at the house of the director of a movie about U.S. soldiers brainwashed to kill. “I really had a nervous breakdown after that,” Frankenheimer said later. “That’s when I went to France, and that’s when I went to the [Cordon Bleu], because I just had to do something else with my life, and I really couldn’t go near politics for a long time after that.” He passed away in 2002.

My brother agonized in his own fashion, too, seeing Kennedy’s face close up and then getting word hours later that Dallas and Los Angeles were synonymous now, that the Texas Book Depository and the Ambassador’s Kitchen were forever joined as cushy nests for snipers. In ensuing years, Paul, a real estate executive, family man, pilot, and philanthropist, often drove to legal appointments at Fifth and Grand wondering what Kennedy was thinking as he sat in that Lincoln with monsters milling around. Nobody may ever know. Immediately after what happened at the Ambassador, LBJ ordered the Secret Service to guard presidential candidates. By then, Kennedy’s scarred forehead had been forgotten in L.A.’s last picture show.

This story is drawn from photographs, personal recollections, the book “Robert Kennedy: His Life” by Evan Thomas (Simon & Schuster – 2002),“Bobby’s Last, Longest Day (Newsweek), “Robert F. Kennedy’s Assassination Remembered by Paul Schrade” (Huffington Post, June 4, 2011), “John Frankenheimer: Renaissance Auteur,” (hollywoodinterview.blogspot) “RFK Children Speak about JFK Assassination” (USA Today, Jan. 12, 2013), “Robert Kennedy’s Final Day” (Woodstock Journal) and “Robert Kennedy’s Last Day” (