Police Hunt for King’s Slayer

Johnson Calls Meeting of Rights Leaders

Martin Luther King jr

White Sniper Sought in Death at Memphis

Memphis, Tenn — The assassination of Dr Martin Luther King Jr triggered Negro violence across the nation, and caused President Johnson to delay this morning, for the second time, his departure for Hawaii.

The President called a late morning meeting of civil rights leaders in the White House in the convulsive wave of reaction following the death Thursday night of the 39-year-old King.

King died in a Memphis hospital less than an hour after he was shot in the neck as he stood on the balcony of his motel here. Police searched for a white gunman.

>> Martin Luther King Jr slain by lone Memphis assassin (1968)

Johnson originally had planned to leave for Hawaii Thursday night and postponed it to early today, then postponed it again for the meeting with civil rights leaders, set for 11 am.

4 flown to Memphis

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At the same time, Atty Gen Ramsey Clark and three other federal officials were sped here in an Air Force jet.

A Justice Department spokesman in Washington said Clark planned to meet with members of King’s family and with his colleagues, including Dr Ralph Abernathy and Dr Andrew Young.

“He also will confer with federal, state and local law enforcement officers concerning last night’s assassination,” the spokesman said.

Violence, including arson and shooting, broke out in several American cities.

Youth burns to death

In Tallahassee, Fla, police said a white youth was burned to death after a fire bomb went off 10 blocks from predominantly Negro Florida A&M University, where earlier small bands of snipers fired at police. There were no arrests.

Police said a white man was stabbed to death during violence in Washington. A Negro died of stab wounds in Harlem although it was not known if his death was related to disturbances there.

Police in Memphis shot and critically wounded one man after they said he opened fire on them. Two Detroit police officers were shot and wounded while patrolling in a predominantly Negro neighborhood.

More than 90 arrested

Widespread looting and arson struck Harlem and Brooklyn’s Bedford Stuyvesant section. More than 90 persons were arrested and scores injured.

Angry crowds burned and looted stores in a Negro neighborhood just two miles north of the White House in Washington. Some 50 persons were injured and 167 arrested.

Police in Jackson, Miss, fired tear gas at groups of Negroes on the Jackson State College campus. A white-owned supermarket in a Negro section was firebombed despite a Negro leader’s pleas for nonviolence.

Disturbances were reported in Nashville, Newark, Boston and a number of smaller cities and towns.

Johnson leads in tribute



The violence that swept some city streets accompanied the national outpouring of grief and sorrow that followed the death of King, the nation’s leading advocate of nonviolence and a Nobel Prize winner.

President Johnson led the nation in mourning and tribute. In a nationwide television and radio appearance he called upon “every citizen to reject the blind violence that has struck down Dr Martin Luther King.”

But the violence flared despite his plea.

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About this story

Source publication: Steubenville Herald Star (Steubenville, Ohio)

Source publication date: April 5, 1968

Filed under: 1960s, Crime, Events, Notable people

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