«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, ...»
Professionals will do a job in the same way. If I’m going to use a high powered rifle, there are very few places I’d work from, and ideally I’d want a place where I held the target for the longest possible time, where I could get closest to it..... we picked a few likely places, and we had more than one person doing the shooting from more than one angle... The Mossad, using better, more powerful equipment, would aim their rifles, they’d say “bang” over the loudspeakers and a laser direction-finder would show where people in the car would have been hit, and the bullet exits. It was just an an exercise which showed that it was impossible to do what Oswald was supposed to have done.” Additionally, note that many of the Marines who served with LHO mentioned that he had a certain lack of coordination that, they felt, was responsible for the fact that he had difficulty learning to shoot. They believed it was the same deficiency in coordination responsible for his reported inability to drive a car.
Dr. David Mantik, in Murder In Dealey Plaza, states: “Many witnesses describe an erect posture at the instant of the final head shot, after which JFK is commonly described as slumping forward. Such witnesses, mostly Secret Service agents in the follow-up car, are Swartz, Ault, Hargis, Hickey, Kinney, Landis. These descriptions of erect posture are totally inconsistent with the Zapruder film, in which the (single) head shot occurs when JFK is slumped forward and to the left. But when the question is raised (as it rarely is) about what posture the witnesses saw at the moment of the head shot, none of them describe JFK as slumped over. This issue - so striking when it is considered - has received almost no discussion whatsoever.” In the Secret Service car immediately behind the Presidential limousine, SS agent George W. Hickey, Jr. reaches down and picks up an AR 15 (an automatic rifle) which has been kept “locked and loaded” in the car. Releasing the safety on the weapon, Hickey stands up in the rear car seat of the convertible and looks around to find the source of the shots. In a moment, the car will lurch forward, knocking him backward. (In the book MORTAL ERROR it is suggested that Hickey accidentally fires his AR 15, actually inflicting JFK’s mortal head wound.) Lumpkin, now on Stemmons Freeway in the motorcade’s pilot car, using motorcycle policemen to divert traffic, speaks into the microphone to Chief Curry: “What do you want with these men out here with me?” Curry: “Just go on to Parkland Hospital with me.” Patrolman R.L. Gross: “Dispatcher on Channel One seems to have his mike stuck.” Curry: “Get those trucks out of the way. Hold everything. Get out of the way!” Agent-in-Charge Emory Roberts, in the follow-up car, picks up the phone: “Escort us to the nearest hospital - fast but at a safe speed.” The twenty sheriff’s deputies who have just watched JFK’s motorcade pass the Sheriff’s Office at the intersection of Main and Houston begin running in the direction of the Grassy Knoll. One researcher found that of the twenty Dallas Police deputies who will give statements regarding today’s events, “sixteen thought the assassin had fired from the area of the grassy knoll” while three had “no opinion” and one “decided the shots came from” the Book Depository. US Congressman Ray Roberts, is riding in the motorcade with Dallas Mayor Earle Cabell and his wife. Mrs. Cabell testifies: “ I believe this was after the third shot, because we were dead still for a matter of some seconds--then when the motorcade started up, Congressman Roberts said--these might not be his exact words, but this is what he meant: ‘If all is well ahead, we are headed for Love Field. We are getting out.’” Robert MacNeil, White House correspondent for NBC News is on the press bus. He jumps up and yells “They were shots!
Stop the bus! Stop the bus!” The driver opens the door and MacNeil jumps out. “I saw several people running up the grassy hill beside the road. I thought they were chasing whoever had done the shooting and I ran after them.” PKHBS Richard Carr, on the seventh floor of the new courthouse watches as two men run from behind the Texas School Book Depository. The men enter a waiting station wagon and speed off north on Houston Street.
Richard Carr described the man he saw as “heavy set, wearing a hat, tan sport coat and horn rim glasses.” Minutes after the shooting, James Worrell saw a person described as “5’ 10” and wearing some sort of coat” leave the rear of the Depository heading south on Houston Street. Carr saw the same man and recognized him as the man he had seen on the 6th floor of the Book Depository. The man walked south on Houston, turned east on Commerce, and got into a Rambler station wagon parked on the corner of Commerce and Record. The Rambler was next seen in front of the Book Depository by Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig. Craig saw a person wearing a light-colored, short-sleeved shirt, who he later identified as Oswald, get into the station wagon and then travel under the triple overpass towards Oak Cliff. Marvin Robinson was driving his Cadillac when the Rambler station wagon in front of him abruptly stopped in front of the Book Depository. A young man walked down the grassy incline and got into the station wagon which subsequently sped away under the triple overpass. A third witness, Roy Cooper, was behind Marvin Robinson’s Cadillac. He observed a white male wave at, enter, and leave in the station wagon. A photograph, taken by Jim Murray, shows a man wearing a light-colored short-sleeved shirt headed toward the Nash Rambler station wagon in front of the Book Depository. Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig, also in the photo, is pictured looking at the man and the station wagon. The Hertz sign, on top of the Book Depository, shows the time as 12:40 PM. The man in the white shirt, possibly Lee Oswald, left Dealey Plaza in the station wagon and was last seen heading toward Oak Cliff.
Avery Davis, an employee in the Texas School Book Depository Building, is standing in front of the building entrance. It is her impression the shots are coming from the overpass in front of the motorcade.
Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig remembers bolting “...toward Houston Street. I was fifteen steps from the corner--before I reached it two more shots had been fired. Telling myself that it wasn’t true and at the same time knowing that it was, I continued to run. I ran across Houston Street and beside the pond, which is on the west side of Houston. I pushed a man out of my way and he fell into the pond. I ran down the grass between Main and Elm. People were lying all over the ground. I thought, “My God, they’ve killed a woman and child,” who were lying beside the gutter on the South side of Elm Street. I checked them and they were alright. I saw a Dallas Police Officer run up the grassy knoll and go behind the picket fence near the railroad yards. I followed and behind the fence was complete confusion and hysteria.” Danny G. Arce, an employee from the TSBD, is standing in front of the building. He says: “ I thought they [the shots] came from the railroad tracks to the west of the Texas School Book Depository.” Teacher Jean Hill, who has just seen the President’s head explode a few feet in front of her, notices a man running from the area of the wooden fence.
SS agent Clint Hill who has rushed from the SS back-up car to JFK’s limo, has just secured a grip on a handhold when the car begins accelerating. Looking into the back seat of the limousine, Hill sees that the right rear portion of the President’s head is missing.
“As I lay over the top of the back seat I noticed a portion of the President’s head on the right rear side was missing and he was bleeding profusely. Part of his brain was gone. I saw a part of his skull with hair on it lying in the seat.” Hill protects President & Mrs. Kennedy with his body all the way to Parkland Hospital. While doing so, Hill looks back at the agents in the Secret Service car immediately behind the JFK limo and shakes his head. In the Secret Service car agent Emory Roberts then tells the other agents that they have to take care of LBJ.
Clint Hill reaches the back of the President’s car 2.6 seconds after the final shot. The shooting lasts about 7 seconds. At least twelve seconds elapses between the first shot and the instant when Hill is in a position to cover the President’s body. Vice-President Johnson is covered by agent Youngblood in less than three seconds.
Clint Hill: “Between the time I originally grabbed the handhold and until I was up on the car, Mrs. Kennedy--the second noise that I heard had removed a portion of the President’s head, and he had slumped noticeably to his left. Mrs. Kennedy had jumped up from the seat and was, it appeared to me, reaching for something coming off the right rear bumper of the car, the right rear tail, when she noticed that I was trying to climb on the car.” Witnesses testify that, in the shadows of the overpass, there comes a cacophony of screeching tires and swerving vehicles.
Malcolm Kilduff remembers: “We went around Vice President Johnson’s car because it had slowed up and we wanted to get up and catch up with the president’s car.” PKHBS LBJ’s Secret Service bodyguard, Rufus Youngblood, testifies: “I had a radio which was on a Baker frequency, where I could communicate back with the agents in my followup car. And they had a Charlie frequency, which was on the same network of the Presidential motorcade. And I called back and said I am switching to Baker frequency--I said, “I am switching to Charlie.” And as I switched, I heard some transmission over the Charlie sets saying for me to keep my man covered, and I heard Kivett reply to Emory Roberts that he was covered, and I saw agents in the followup car, the Presidential followup car signaling us to stay close. I asked the driver what his opinion was as to--I don’t know for exact sure just where we were going, but I knew our best protection was to stay with that Presidential followup crew. And I asked the driver if he had passed the Trade Mart. He said he passed it and we were going on to the hospital. And I heard indications over the radio that we were going to the hospital. We had a very fast ride there. I told the driver to go as fast as he could without having a wreck. There was some conversation between the Vice President and myself while we were going to the hospital.
I told him that I didn’t know how serious it was up in the front car, but when we arrived at the hospital, I would like to get out of the car and go into the building and not stop, and for him to stay close to, myself and the other agents. He agreed to.” About this time, Victoria Adams, an TSBD employee goes down the stairs from the fourth floor to the first. She will later testify that she never saw LHO descending the stairs. If LHO is at the sixth floor window within seconds of the final head shot, he is wiping away finger prints and preparing to hide his rifle as he crosses the sixth floor -- through stacks of boxes -- to the northeast corner in order to descend the stairs. (Tests will establish that LHO could have reached the second floor vestibule in 1 minute 14 seconds.) Miss Adams will testify that she watched the motorcade from an open window on the fourth floor (the third set of double windows from the southeast corner), in company with other employees in the Scott, Foreman Co. publishing office where she worked. After the last shot, she and Sandra Styles immediately run down the back stairs to the first floor, where she sees Billy Lovelady and William Shelley standing near the elevator.
In a session with the Warren Commission counsel, Victoria Adams will volunteer the opinion that the shots she heard came from below her fourth-floor window and to the right, not from above and the left, where Oswald allegedly fired the fatal bullet. Adams will another unsolicited piece of information that will fuel the controversies surrounding the shooting scene. She will recall that when she reached the street minutes after the assassination, she and coworker Mrs. Avery Davis see a man at the corner of Houston and Elm streets questioning people much in the manner of a police officer. Later, after viewing Jack Ruby on television, she will say he “looked very similar” to the man at Houston and Elm. However, other persuasive testimony places Ruby at the Dallas Morning News offices at the time.
Outside -- James Worrell, Jr., a twenty-year-old witness to the assassination, races northward, up Houston Street, where he sees a man exit from the back door of the Depository and walk quickly south on Houston. The man is wearing a brown suit coat. (This man is next seen by Richard Carr; a steelworker at the corner of Houston and Commerce. Carr remembers seeing this same man around noon at a window on the seventh floor of the Book Depository Building.) Nightclub singer Beverly Oliver is standing on the south side of Elm Street across from the wooden fence and films the entire assassination with her 8-millimeter camera. She observes a puff of smoke from the fence on the knoll. Her film is confiscated the next day by men identifying themselves as government agents. (This film has never been seen since.) Oliver later identifies the FBI man who confiscated her film as Regis Kennedy. Some researchers will later take issue with Oliver’s statements and the fact that she claims to be the “Babushka lady.” Ed Hoffman, a deaf-mute on the overpass, has witnessed two men behind the picket fence -- one has a rifle. After the assassination, he sees one man toss the rifle to the other who then takes it to a spot near the railroad tracks and “breaks it down” and then puts it in a box which resembles a tool kit. Hoffman, being deaf and mute, has a very frantic and difficult time trying to communicate this information to the authorities. (Once Oswald is in custody, Hoffman is told by an FBI agent to keep quiet or “you might get killed.” Reports of his sighting are hidden from the public for twenty-two years.) Hoffman also watches the President’s car as it moves toward the freeway entrance. The car stops there for about 30 seconds to receive directions from the lead car, which they have passed moments earlier. While William Greer waits for the lead car to catch up, Hoffman looks into the presidential limousine. He sees that the entire rear of JFK’s head is gone.