In memory of the ultimate sacrifice Martin Luther King Jr. gave on April 4, 1968, the New York Daily News has republished the article about King’s assassination from the following day.
The investigators released many details regarding where the shooter positioned himself for the best vantage point, the description of the assassin, and the state of emergency instituted in Memphis as a result of the assassination.
The Daily News also reported on the unrest that followed: “Nevertheless, disorders flared. Two policemen were reported injured. Three hours after King’s death, police reported looting as guardsmen rushed in to help restore order.”
Here is the Daily News’s article, “Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Prize winner and a leader of the Civil Rights Movement, is assassinated at 39 in 1968,” in part:
(Originally published by the Daily News on April 5, 1968.)
MEMPHIS, April 4 — The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., America’s foremost exponent of nonviolence in the struggle for civil rights, was struck down by an assassin’s bullet tonight as he stood on the balcony of his motel here.
King, a 39-year-old Nobel Prize winner, died an hour after he was hit in the neck shortly after 6 p.m. by a single bullet from a Browning automatic rifle fitted with a telescopic sight.
Police Director Frank Holloman and Sheriff William Morris said the single bullet that killed King was fired from a second-story window of a flophouse 50 to 100 yards from King’s motel.
They said the window faced the balcony where King was standing when the slayer fired. “He got a straight shot,” Morris said.
“We feel the assassin crouched in a second floor window, sighted through some trees and fired the shot that killed Mr. King,” he added.
Reports tentatively described the slayer as a young white man dressed in dark clothing. Two white youths arrested immediately following the shooting were later released by police.
A state of emergency was declared throughout the city. Most public places and all liquor stores were ordered closed and Mayor Henry Loeb clamped on a dusk-to-dawn curfew.
Tennessee Gov. Buford Ellington ordered 4,000 National Guard troops into the city amid rising tension.
Nevertheless, disorders flared. Two policemen were reported injured. Three hours after King’s death, police reported looting as guardsmen rushed in to help restore order.
King had returned to Memphis yesterday to try and prove he could lead a massive march peacefully. He was at the head of the march here last Thursday that left one dead, 62 injured and 276 under arrest. The avowed aim of the demonstrations was to back Memphis’ 1,800 striking sanitation workers, most of whom are [African-Americans], in their work stoppage for pay raises and the right to union representation.
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