MEMPHIS, April 5, 1968 (UPI) - Police Chief Frank Holloman today said that "certain evidence has been found which we believe will be helpful" in capturing the white sniper who assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The hunt for the slayer was intensified with the arrival of Attorney General Ramsay Clark and other Justice Department aides sent here by President Johnson. Clark said FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover is personally supervising the case and "we are getting very close" to a solution.
Earlier 11,000 members of the Tennessee National Guard were alerted and 4,000 were sent to various trouble spots in the state. Mayor Henry Loeb lifted a curfew which closed all business and limited the streets only to "essential" persons.
The Memphis Commercial Appeal, a Scripps-Howard newspaper, offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to conviction of the killer.
Mrs. King flew from Atlanta to Memphis this morning in a jet plane chartered by Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. The plane carried back the body of Dr. King. Funeral arrangements were being completed this afternoon.
Mrs. King did not leave the plane at Memphis but stood at the door as the casket was loaded. She kept her composure while the casket was being lifted from the hearse but collapsed sobbing on the shoulder of a woman companion as a freight lift raised the casket to the door.
Dr. King, the non-violent leader of the civil rights movement, was slain last night with a single shot from a 30-caliber Remington pump rifle with a telescopic sight. It was fired from the window of a communal bathroom in a flophouse across the street from the hotel.
The bullet tore a gaping wound in his neck and Dr. King fell in a pool of blood on the second floor balcony outside his room at the Lorraine Hotel. He was shot at about 7 p.m. and died an hour later.
"From evidence we have at this time, only one man was involved," said Holloman. The assassin was described as a white man, six feet tall, 165-175 pounds, between 26 and 32 years old.
He fled from the flophouse, dropping the rifle and a suitcase in the doorway before he leaped into a late model white car and sped away. Holloman refused to divulge the contents of the suitcase.
But he said the assassin had bought a pair of binoculars in the city yesterday.
Chief Holloman said Memphis was "under attack" last night with "people looting, breaking into stores and shooting, principally at police cars." However, the streets of the city appeared deserted early today.
The 39-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner was in Memphis as a proving ground for his massive "poor people's campaign" on Washington later this month. When the march he led here last week burst into a riot, his friends and critics alike expressed doubt that he could keep the Washington demonstration non-violent.
Dr. King insisted he could, and he returned to Memphis Wednesday to draw plans for a 6,000-man march here Monday, vowing to see that it remained peaceful.
Wednesday night he told his followers at a mass rally that "like anybody, I would like to live a long life ... but I'm not concerned with that."
Yesterday at dusk, as he was about to leave the hotel in a Negro district to go to a friend's house for dinner, he strolled onto the balcony. He talked with his friends below.
A Memphis civil rights leader, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, said Dr. King saw him standing with Ben Branch, a musician who was to play at a rally a few hours later.
He asked Branch to play "Precious Lord, Take My Hand."
"I really want you to play that tonight," Dr. King said.
Then he told his chauffeur, Solomon Jones Jr., to start their car.
"I said, 'It's cold outside, Dr. King, put your topcoat on,'" Jones recalled.
"And he said, 'Okay, I will,' and smiled. Those were his last words."
Jackson said he started to speak to Dr. King again - "Dr. King," he called - and the he heard the shot. "It sounded like a stick of dynamite or a firecracker," he said.
"The bullet exploded in his face," Jackson said. Dr. King wheeled and fell on his back.