«NOVEMBER 22, 1963 (Friday) 12:00 AM (Nov. 22, 1963) Nine Secret Service agents drinking at Pat Kirkwood’s bar the “Cellar Door” in Fort Worth, ...»
Richard C. Dodd is also standing on the triple underpass. It is also his impression that the shots have come from the grassy knoll.
Railroad workers Nolan Potter and Richard Dodd see smoke off to their left, i.e., near the fence on the knoll.
In the presidential limo, Mrs. Nellie Connally at first thinks that her husband has been killed, but then notices an almost imperceptible movement and realizes that he is still alive. She says, “It’s all right. Be still.” The Governor is lying with his head on his wife’s lap when he hears a shot hit JFK. At this point, both Governor and Mrs. Connally observe brain tissue splatter over the interior of the car. According to Governor and Mrs. Connally, it is after this shot that Roy Kellerman issues his emergency instructions and the car accelerates. [W.C.] John Connally: “ I heard it hit. It hit with a very pronounced impact, just [slap of hands] almost like that. Almost that loud a sound; it made a very, very strong sound. Immediately, I could see blood and brain tissue all over the interior of the car and all over our clothes. We were both covered with brain tissue, and there were pieces of brain tissue as big as your little finger. It was something that was unmistakable. There was no question in my mind about what it was.” WC
Gov. & Mrs. Connally will later testify:
Mr. DEVINE. Is it possible that there could have been more than three shots, as far as you recollection is concerned?
Mrs. CONNALLY. I guess anything is possible, but I heard three shots.
Mr. DEVINE. You heard three definitely, no less, and probably no more, is that right?
Mrs. CONNALLY. That is all I heard.
Mr. DEVINE. Governor Connally, you said you heard two shots?
Mr. CONNALLY. That is right.
Mr. DEVINE. The one that hit you you apparently did not hear?
Mr. CONNALLY. That is correct.
Mr. DEVINE. I would take it then by negative implication that you heard no shots coming from your right front?
Mr. CONNALLY. No, sir, I did not.
Mr. DEVINE. In the area that has often been described as the grassy knoll?
Mr. CONNALLY. No, sir. And I don’t believe any came from there.
Nellie Connally will eventually remember: “His first night home [after the assassination], he cried out in his sleep. I would just pat him on the shoulder, and he’d go back to sleep. Ten days later, I asked him, ‘What is it you dream, dear?’ And he said, ‘Nellie, somebody’s always after me. With a gun.’ So I just let him cry out. He did that for a month or six weeks and they were always after him.” Speaking of herself, Nellie Connally will eventually tell a reporter: “And since that day, I have never fully stopped looking over my shoulder...
at the horror that might be behind me.” Mrs. Earle Cabell: “ I was acutely aware of the odor of gunpowder. I was aware that the motorcade stopped dead still. There was no question about that.” WC Escort motorcycle officers, Bobby W. Hargis and B. J. Martin are splattered by blood and brain matter. Martin, who has looked to his right after the first shots, will later find bloodstains on the left side of his helmet. Hargis, who is riding nearest the limousine about six to eight feet from the left rear fender, sees Kennedy’s head explode and is hit by bits of flesh and bone with such impact that he will tell reporters he thought he had been shot. The motorcycle policemen to the right rear of the President’s limousine are not struck with any debris. A piece of bone will later be found by Billy Harper (later identified as occipital bone by the Chief Pathologist at Methodist Hospital) twenty-five feet behind and to the left of the car’s position when the President was hit in the head, according to the Secret Service.
Bobby W. Hargis: Two years after the president’s assassination, Hargis will suffer his own near-fatal injury while patrolling on a police motorcycle. The accident crushes his leg and shatters his ribs. He takes medical leave from 1974 to 1980, when he returnes to the force.
He will hold an administrative job until 1999, when he retires.
Gordon Arnold, on leave following his Army basic training, is an amateur cinematographer anxious to film the presidential motorcade from the best possible angle. Dressed in his Army uniform, Arnold first chooses as his site the railroad overpass at the western end of Dealey Plaza, which offers a clear, unobstructed view of the plaza, through which the motorcade is to pass. Arnold is prevented from entering the overpass by a well-dressed man who shows him a Secret Service badge and ID. Official records indicate that no Secret Service agents are assigned to patrol the area on foot today. However, a Dallas police officer and a county deputy sheriff reportedly encounters a second such “agent” on the Grassy Knoll immediately after the shooting. Arnold then finds a suitable vantage point from which to shoot his movie film, only a few feet in front of the stockade fence on the Grassy Knoll. Suddenly he feels a shot whiz past his left ear. He throws himself to the ground in an involuntary reaction, probably due to his recent training. Questioned by a uniformed police officer a few seconds later, Arnold insists that the shots came from behind him. The officer confiscates Arnold’s film. Arnold will recount the experience in a 1978 interview published in the Dallas Morning News. While some people discount his story, it receives tacit corroboration from Senator Ralph Yarborough, who is riding with Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson two cars behind Kennedy’s.
Yarborough will write the Morning News that he recalls that when the first shot was fired he saw a uniformed figure immediately “hit the dirt” at the spot where Arnold said he was filming. The senator remembers thinking to himself that the man’s quick reaction suggested he must be a “combat veteran.” Nothing more has ever been heard of Arnold’s confiscated film, and the police officer who took it and the Secret Service agent who prevented Arnold from going onto the overpass have never been identified.
Jacqueline Kennedy will later recall that she had been presented yellow roses in every Texas stop with the exception of Dallas
-- where she was presented red roses. Of the fatal shot, she will later recall: “... his last expression was so neat; he had his hand out, I could see a piece of his skull coming off; it was flesh colored not white -- he was holding out his hand -- and I can see this perfectly clean piece detaching itself from his head; then he slumped in my lap..... his head was so beautiful. I’d tried to hold the top of his head down, maybe I could keep it in... I knew he was dead.” “ I was trying to hold his hair on. From the front there was nothing --- I suppose there must have been. But from the back you could see, you know, you were trying to hold his hair on, and his skull on.” The Warren Commission will later omit certain portions of Mrs. Kennedy’s description of the wound from the official record. This omission will not be discovered until 2001.
After viewing the Zapruder film on Nov. 25th, Dan Rather will describe JFK at this moment as moving “forward with considerable violence... Mrs. Kennedy stood up immediately her mouth wide open...the President slumped over against Mrs. Kennedy almost toppling her over as she was standing... Mrs. Kennedy then threw herself out of the back seat of the car onto the trunk of the car almost on all fours stretched out over the trunk of the car...” Jack Ruby telephones a friend on November 22nd and asks if he would “like to watch the fireworks.” Unknown to Ruby, his friend is an informant for the criminal intelligence division of the Internal Revenue Service. He and Ruby are allegedly standing at the corner of the Postal Annex Building at the time of the shooting. Minutes after the shooting Phil Willis, who knows Jack Ruby, sees and photographs a man who looks like Ruby near the front of the School Book Depository.
Jim Bishop, in his book “The Day Kennedy Was Shot” writes of the fatal head wound: “This one the President did not feel.
The light had gone out with no memories, no regrets. After forty-six and a half years, he was again engulfed by the dark eternity from which he had come. For good or evil, his work, his joys, his responsibilities were complete.” Special Agent William Greer will testify that “the last two shots seemed to be just simultaneously, one behind the other.” Secret Service Agent Paul Landis, in the car with Dave Powers and Kenneth O’Donnell, says he believes the final head shot came from the grassy knoll, but that an earlier shot came from above and behind him (in the direction of the Book Depository.) US At least seven witnesses see a puff of smoke on the grassy knoll.
Witness Howard Brennan, who is reportedly observing a rifle protruding from the sixth floor window at this time will later testify that he does NOT see the last shot fired. “But you heard the last shot?” he is asked. “Yes, sir.” Author Walt Brown states: “This strongly suggests that the last shot was not fired from the weapon in the sixth-floor window that Brennan was observing.” Forrest V. Sorrels, head of the Dallas office of the Secret Service and riding in the first car of the motorcade, certain there are gunshots, shouts to Curry: “Let’s get out of here!” Hearing the shots, James Tague, who has been standing near the triple underpass in Dealey Plaza, quickly seeks shelter behind a concrete abutment located between Main and Commerce. Though he doesn’t yet realize it, he has been struck on the cheek by a piece of flying debris and is bleeding. It is assumed that Tague has been struck by a piece of concrete sent flying by a projectile that strikes the curb near him, or by a fragment from a bullet that hits the curb, or by a fragment that strikes him before hitting anything else. Whatever it is that has hit the curb near Teague, it has left a mark in the concrete which will eventually become the subject of much debate. Deputy Sheriff Buddy Walthers, who sees the mark soon after the shooting, agrees that it has been caused by a bullet. Patrolman Clyde Haygood, who radioes in the incident at around 12:40, will be under the same impression. In a 1966 filmed interview, Tague unequivocally states that the mark was the result of a bullet striking the curb. He believes - of the three shots he hears - it is the second shot that hits the curb, not the third one. He is pretty certain he hears a shot AFTER he is stung by a fragment of cement or lead.
Senator Ralph Yarborough, a few cars behind JFK’s, will remember: “All of the Secret Service men seemed to me to respond very slowly, with no more than a puzzled look. Knowing something of the training that combat infantrymen and Marines receive, I am amazed at the lack of instantaneous response by the Secret Service when the rifle fire began.” Police Ban (Channel 2) Order to get to Parkland Hospital. 12:30:18 PM CST. Curry says to get someone to go up to the overpass and see what happened up there. Have Parkland Hospital stand by. Get men into the railroad yard. Hold everything up there ‘til homicide and investigators get there. When asked if he can give any more information, Curry says that it appears Kennedy’s been hit.
Over a minute after Curry orders the motorcade to the hospital, at 12:31:22, Sheriff Decker says, “Hold everything secure until the homicide and other investigators can get there.” There will eventually be much discussion regarding the dictabelt recordings of police conversations on their respective radio channels.
The solution regarding much confusion may be reached by the fact that Dallas police Sgt. S. Q. Bellah can be heard on both channels, asking: “You want me to hold this traffic on Stemmons until we find out something, or let it go?” These remarks come 179 seconds after the last gunshot on Channel One and 180 seconds after Curry’s order to “go to the hospital” on Channel Two. When Bellah’s words are used to line up the two channels, the gunshot sounds also recorded on the dictabelt “occur at the exact instant that John F. Kennedy was assassinated.” The problem has historically been that Decker’s remarks on Channel One come a full minute after Curry’s on Channel Two and yet a half-second after the last gunshot on Channel One. It therefore suggests that this is most probably due to an acciddental overdub. The recording needle for Channel One has most probably jumped. It is possible, for instance, to hear Decker giving a whole set of instructions on Channel Two, but on Channel One, there is only a fragment, ‘... hold everything secure.... ‘ “ THE DEALEY PLAZA “MARKSMANSHIP”: Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock, former senior instructor for the U.S. Marine Corps Sniper Instructor School at Quantico, Virginia eventually says: “Let me tell you what we did at Quantico. We reconstructed the whole thing: the angle, the range, the moving target, the time limit, the obstacles, everything. I don’t know how many times we tried it, but we couldn’t duplicate what the Warren Commission said Oswald did. Now if I can’t do it, how in the world could a guy who was a nonqualified on the rifle range and later only qualified ‘marksman’ do it?’ ” According to Victor Ostrovsky, an Israeli Mossad agent, the Mossad also reenact the shooting: “To test their theory, they did a simulation exercise of the presidential cavalcade to see if expert marksmen with far better equipment than Oswald’s could hit a moving target from the recorded distance of 88 yards. They couldn’t... The Mossad had every film taken of the Dallas Assassination. Pictures of the area, the topography, aerial photographs, everything. Using mannequins, they duplicated the presidential cavalcade over and over again.