Assassination Jolts Sacramento Scene

Published: Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 - 12:19 pm
Last Modified: Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 - 11:30 am

Originally published in The Bee on Nov.23, 1963

Sacramento was quiet last night. Traffic was lighter than usual. The cars seemed to be moving slowly, as if in mourning. Pedestrians often walked head down. This was the obvious reaction in the Capital City to President John F. Kennedy's assassination.

Early today thousands of pheasant hunters gathered in breakfast spots, despite the rain, prior to the 8 AM opening of pheasant hunting season. But the usual joviality was gone.

Yesterday the flash of the news jolted the city like nothing had in many years. Telephone switchboards everywhere were jammed. Everyone seemed to want to call someone else, perhaps to pass on the news or to get confirmation of the latest developments.

Misty eyed shoppers downtown crowded around available radios and television sets. News vendors sold copies of The Bee as quickly as they became available.

Tears Stream

It was not unusual to see tears streaming down the faces of passersby, even rugged men who were not ashamed to allow visual evidence of their grief.

"Oh, no" or "I can't believe it" or "It isn't true" or "It's impossible" were comments made thousands of times.

Prominent persons of all backgrounds reacted with condolence to Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy.

Anwar Ali Khan, leader of the Moslem League of Sacramento, sent a telegram to President Lyndon B. Johnson, stating:

"The Moslem League of America wishes to send condolences to the late president's wife and family. All Moslems of California are profoundly shocked at the assassination of our great president.

"We pledge our support to you in your efforts to carry our great nation through this trying period."

Deepest Sympathy

Mexican Consul Antonio Islas wired Mayor James B. McKinney and Mike R. Malaki, chairman of the board of supervisors:

"On behalf of myself as consul of Mexico and of the Mexican colony under my jurisdiction, I offer you deepest sympathy in the tragic loss of your president."

Mayor McKinney sent a telegram to Mrs. Kennedy offering condolences "on behalf of all the people of Sacramento."

McKinney added:

"John F. Kennedy was the leader of the United States, and a great American, but also a leader of all people of the world in their search for peace and human dignity.

"His lose is not our nation's alone, but the world as well."


City Manager Bartley W. Cavanaugh called the assassination "shocking beyond words. It's just horrible."

Cavanaugh said city employees who wished to go home after the news yesterday were allowed to although city offices remained open as did country offices. Governor Edmund G. Brown ordered all but essential state offices closed.

City schools remained in session but the San Juan Unified School District dismissed classes soon after the president's death was confirmed.

Read more articles by Clark Biggs

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