King was assassinated the next evening, April 4
, at 6:01 PM, on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel
, while preparing to lead a local march in support of the predominantly black Memphis sanitation workers' union who was on
strike at the time. Friends inside the motel room heard the shot fired and ran to the balcony to find King shot in the throat.
He was pronounced dead at St. Joseph's hospital at 7:05 PM . The assassination led to a nationwide wave of riots
in more than 60 cities. Five days later, President Lyndon Johnson
declared a national day of mourning for the lost civil rights leader. A crowd of 300,000 attended his funeral that same day.
LBJ did not attend, and instead sent Vice-President Hubert Humphrey
because he was meeting with several advisors and cabinet officers on the Vietnam War
in Camp David
, and on fears he may be hit with protests and abuses over the war.