LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: In a startling turn of events during a Hispanic Heritage Month event at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, Democratic presidential hopeful Robert F Kennedy Jr found himself facing a potentially life-threatening situation.
An armed gunman was arrested just two miles away from the site where his father, Senator Robert F Kennedy, was tragically assassinated in 1968. The incident has prompted Robert F Kennedy Jr to demand Secret Service protection from President Joe Biden.
A close call for RFK Jr
The harrowing incident unfolded on Friday night, September 15, as Robert F Kennedy Jr addressed the audience at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre.
A suspect, carrying a US Marshal badge on a lanyard, attempted to approach Kennedy, posing as a member of his security team. The alarming detail emerged that the suspect had two loaded pistols in shoulder holsters along with spare ammunition.
The location of this unsettling incident holds a haunting connection to history. It occurred less than two miles from the former site of The Ambassador Hotel, located at 3400 Wilshire Boulevard.
It was at this very spot that Robert F Kennedy Sr was shot and killed in June 1968, shortly after winning the Democratic California presidential primary. The hotel was later demolished in 2005 and replaced by the Robert F Kennedy Elementary School.
Following the incident, Robert F Kennedy Jr expressed his concerns about his safety and the need for Secret Service protection. “I’m still entertaining a hope that President Biden will allow me Secret Service protection,” Kennedy stated, highlighting the gravity of the situation.
Kennedy took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to express his gratitude toward those who acted swiftly to thwart the potential threat.
“I’m very grateful that alert and fast-acting protectors from Gavin de Becker and Associates (GDBA) spotted and detained an armed man who attempted to approach me at my Hispanic Heritage speech at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles tonight,” Kennedy wrote.
“The man, wearing two shoulder holsters with loaded pistols and spare ammunition magazines was carrying a U.S. Marshal badge on a lanyard and beltclip federal ID. He identified himself as a member of my security detail,” he continued.
He went on to commend the LAPD for their rapid response in making the arrest. “Armed GDBA team members moved quickly to isolate and detain the man until LAPD arrived to make the arrest. I’m also grateful to LAPD for its rapid response,” Kennedy added.
I’m very grateful that alert and fast-acting protectors from Gavin de Becker and Associates (GDBA) spotted and detained an armed man who attempted to approach me at my Hispanic Heritage speech at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles tonight. The man, wearing two shoulder… pic.twitter.com/vvJc0Gtk4o
— Robert F. Kennedy Jr (@RobertKennedyJr) September 16, 2023
Notably, Robert F Kennedy Jr is no stranger to the issue of Secret Service protection. He has previously lamented the Biden administration’s denial of his request for such protection.
Despite trailing significantly in the polls, with only 9 percent of support compared to Biden’s 76 percent, Kennedy’s request for protection had been denied. “I am the first presidential candidate in history to whom the White House has denied a request for protection,” he stated.
The incident involving Robert F Kennedy Jr serves as a grim reminder of the tragic history that shadows his family. As mentioned, his father, Senator Robert F Kennedy, brother of the assassinated President John F Kennedy, was shot just two miles away from the recent incident location.
On June 5, 1968, Robert Kennedy celebrated his victory in the California primary with thousands of supporters at an Ambassador Hotel rally. Tragically, as he was making his way through the hotel kitchen to meet with journalists, gunshots rang out. Robert Kennedy was shot multiple times, and five others in the crowded kitchen were also wounded.
Is RFK Jr eligible for Secret Service protection?
The issue of Secret Service protection becomes paramount in this context. Typically, the Secret Service provides protection to “major” presidential candidates within 120 days of the election. However, RFK Jr faces an eligibility challenge for the agency’s protection.
According to 18 USC section 3056(a), the Secret Service is authorized to protect:
1. The president, vice president, president-elect, vice president-elect, and their immediate families.
2. Former presidents and their spouses for life, unless the spouse remarries.
3. Children of former presidents under the age of 16.
4. Visiting heads of state or government and their spouses.
5. Other distinguished foreign visitors to the United States and official representatives of the United States on special missions abroad, when directed by the president.
6. Major presidential and vice presidential candidates, along with their spouses, within 120 days of a general presidential election.
7. Former vice presidents, their spouses, and their children under 16, for up to 6 months from the date the former vice president leaves office, with the possibility of temporary protection authorized by the Secretary of Homeland Security after that period.