«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, ...»
Gov. John Connally will later testify: “I don’t know that any political figure in this country can be spared an assassin’s bullet if indeed there is a dedicated assassin. So I would hope that the American people would understand that the mere fact that the Secret Service failed was not a failure of desire, not a failure of dedication, not a failure of talent, but rather a failure of an evitable circumstance.” Deputy Constable Seymour Weitzman, standing at the corner of Main and Houston Streets, has heard the shots. He immediately runs toward the underpass and to the stockade fence atop the knoll. There, Deputy Weitzman is informed by a bystander that the “firecracker or shot had come from the other side of the fence.” During the time Weitzman is running from the intersection of Main and Houston, he observes a blonde woman, 20 to 25 years old, drop a lunch sack at a point about half a block west of the Texas School Book Depository building. He thinks nothing of it at the time. Only later will Weitzman determine that this lunch sack was very similar to the lunch sack found at the sixth floor window where the assassin apparently stationed himself. He will bring this information to the attention of the Dallas Police Department. Weitzman subsequently picks up a piece of JFK’s skull, which he finds near the curb on the south side of Elm Street, and turns it over to authorities.
In an interview with Seth Kantor of the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain, Mr. U. E. Baughman (former head of the Secret Service) will decclare that it is a “basic, established rule” of the Secret Service to see to it that people are kept out of the upper stories of buildings along a presidential parade route. The manager of the Texas School Book Depository therefore “should have been under firm instructions by the police” to close the upper floors of that building to unauthorized persons. Mr. Baughman also points out that the only shots fired today were fired by the assassin. There was no return gunfire from either the Secret Service or the Dallas Police.
Baughman maintains that the Secret Service should have peppered the sniper window with machine gun fire immediately after the first shot. Baughman is quoted as saying “there are a lot of things to be explained” about the assassination.
Several people in Dealey Plaza (including Phillip Willis and his family) witness the arrest of a young man wearing a black leather jacket and black gloves. He is ushered out of the Dal-Tex building by two uniformed policemen, who put him in a police car and drive away from the crime scene as the crowd curses and jeers him. There is no official record of this arrest.
Approximately fifteen minutes from now, the elevator operator in the Dal-Tex Building notices an unknown man inside the building. Feeling that the man doesn’t belong in the building, the elevator operator seeks out a policeman, who detains the suspicious man, bringing him to the sheriff’s office for questioning. They hold him for nearly three hours. He tells police that his name is Jim Braden, and that he is in Dallas on oil business. He shows them identification, and explains that he had entered the building in hopes of finding a telephone to call his mother. Braden further asserts that he entered the building only after the assassination occurred, although eyewitnesses place him in the building at the time the shots were actually fired. Eventually, the police accept his explanation and release him. Jim Braden is actually Eugene Hale Brading, an ex-con from Southern California with reputed underworld ties.
On September 10, just two months before the assassination, Brading had his name legally changed to Braden. Had Dallas police known his actual name, they would have learned that he was a parolee with thirty-five arrests on his record.
Brading had told his parole officer that he was going to Dallas on oil business, and his parole records indicate that he planned to meet with Lamar Hunt. Although he later denied meeting with Hunt, a witness (Hunt chief of security Paul Rothermal) placed Brading and three friends at the offices of Lamar Hunt on the afternoon before the assassination. Brading’s presence at Hunt’s office was also confirmed in an FBI report. Coincidentally, Jack Ruby accompanied a young woman to the Hunt’s office that same afternoon. And on the twenty-first, (last night) Brading checked into the Cabana Hotel in Dallas, where Jack Ruby just happened to visit sometime around midnight that same evening.
During the months preceding the assassination, Brading kept an office in the Pete Marquette Building in New Orleans. Also occupying an office in that building, on the same floor and just down the hall, was G. Wray Gill, a lawyer for New Orleans crime boss Carlos Marcello. One of Gill’s detectives is David Ferrie, who has been in and out of Gill’s office many times during the time Brading keeps an office there. Ferrie later became the focus of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s investigation into the Kennedy assassination.
On the evening of June 4, 1968, Brading will check in to the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, more than a hundred miles from his home. Just a few minutes away at the Ambassador Hotel, Robert Kennedy will be murdered in the hotel pantry after winning the California primary. Upon learning of Brading’s close proximity to the Ambassador Hotel that evening, the Los Angeles Police Department will be concerned enough to question Brading about his possible role in both assassinations.
12: 33 PM (Nov. 22, 1963) (Warren Commission states:) This is the earliest time Oswald could have left the Texas Book Depository Building after shooting the President. He departs the building from the main entrance. Oswald will later testify that a Secret Service agent stops him in front of the Book Depository to ask where the nearest telephone is located. The man Oswald meets leaving the Texas School Book Depository is also claimed to be Pierce Allman, a crew cut reporter who enters the TSBD to telephone a report to WFAA radio. (After Oswald’s eventual arrest, Captain Will Fritz and the other interrogators of Oswald will never ask him which exit he used or whether a policeman had been stationed at the door, and if so, whether he had tried to prevent him from leaving or had checked his credentials.) AATF A KBOX news car arrives on the scene- coming up behind the TSBD. James Romack, a truck driver for Coordinated Transportation, removes a portion of a barrier, allowing the vehicle to pass. Meanwhile, a man in the dark sportcoat dashes out the back door of the TSBD. A sawhorse barrier has been erected that crossed Houston St., located approximately 25 yards from the TSBD to block northbound traffic into a road construction zone.
(12:35 pm) When interviewed by Captain Fritz on 11/22/63, Oswald said “as he was leaving the TSBD building, two men (one with a crew cut) had intercepted him at the front door; identified themselves as Secret Service Agents and asked for the location of a telephone” (CD 354). Mr. Pierce Allman, who had brown crew cut hair, and Terrence Ford, of WFAA TV, ran into the TSBD a few minutes after the shooting. They entered the front door of the building, emerged into a hallway and there met a white male who they could not further identify. Allman asked this person for the location of a telephone. Oswald watched as Allman used the phone and Oswald then left the TSBD and walked east on Elm.
On November 30, FBI Agent Alan Manning interviews Mrs. Evelyn Harris. In his summary of that interview, he writes: “The daughter of Mrs. Lucy Lopez, a white woman married to a Mexican, worked at a sewing room across the street from the TSBD.
Her daughter and some of the other girls knew Lee Harvey Oswald and also were acquainted with Jack Ruby. They observed Jack Ruby give Oswald a pistol when Oswald came out of the building.” Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig sees police detain a Latin man whom they have seized on Elm Street. In a few moments, Craig will witness this same man driving a Rambler station wagon. The Latin man is released from the police detainment by someone who says he is a Secret Service agent. Craig will eventually identify this “agent”, from photographs, as possibly being Edgar Eugene Bradley -- an ex-convict allegedly connected to the Mob in Southern California. (Bradley is also in LA on the evening RFK is murdered.) Mr. Roy Cooper is driving his car and following his boss who is driving a Cadillac. They are coming south on Houston and have had to wait for the motorcade. Cooper sees a white male somewhere between 20 and 30 years of age wave at a Nash Rambler station wagon, light colored, as it pulls out and seems ready to leave from Elm and Houston. The station wagon pulls out very fast in front of the Cadillac driven by Cooper’s boss and his employer has to stop abruptly and nearly hits the Nash Rambler. Cooper can not see who was driving the Nash Rambler and is not able furnish any further description of the man who jumps into the car. The Nash Rambler station wagon pulls off at a rather fast rate of speed and heads to the overpass toward Oak Cliff.
Law clerk, Lillian Mooneyham, sees a man in “the sniper’s window” a few minutes after the shots are fired. Oswald could not have been the person moving around in the window (since the Warren Commission assumes Oswald exited the sniper’s nest in a matter of seconds in order to have any hope of getting him to the second-floor lunchroom where he is seen by a police officer about 90 seconds after the shooting). Additionally, all five of the witnesses who see a gunman in the sixth-floor window during or right after the shooting say he is wearing a light-colored shirt. Oswald wore a brown shirt to work today.
The interference on police Channel 1 stops. (The microphone has been “stuck” open for at least four minutes total). But first there is an electronic beeping in precisely the Morse code signal for “Victory.” The telephone system in Washington, D.C. is interrupted and, in some areas, goes dead and remains out of service for an hour.
Aboard Air Force One, Col. James B. Swindal overhears Roy Kellerman on the Secret Service radio channel speaking from JFK’s limo: “Lancer is hurt. It looks bad. We have to get to a hospital.” Moments later, the Secret Service communications gear on Air Force One goes dead. Swindal receives the news that JFK is dead by tuning into network television aboard the aircraft.
Note that power in the TSBD went out just prior to the assassination. Channel 1 has been interupted for a total of four minutes during the assassination, and the communications gear aboard Air Force One now goes dead at a very crucial time immediately following the assassination.
12:34 PM (Nov. 22, 1963) The radio telephone in a press car carrying representatives of the wire services is rendered inoperative immediately after Merriman Smith gets out the first utterance of the shooting. It is reported that Smith yanks the phone wires out after he gets off his UPI news flash. (The press pool car contains Merriman Smith, Jack Bell, Marty Underwood, Bob Clark of ABC, and Bob Bascomb of the Dallas Morning News, plus the driver who is an employee of Southwest Bell Telephone.) (Death of Secret Service Agent) Eddie Barker, KRLD-TV, a CBS affiliate, will note, “The word is that the President was killed, one of his agents is dead, and Governor Connally was wounded.” ABC News in Washington will report, “A Secret Service agent apparently was shot by one of the assassin’s bullets.” ABC’s Bill Lord report includes, “Did confirm the death of the secret service agent... one of the Secret Service agents was killed... Secret Service agents usually walk right beside the car.” ABC Washington will also note, “One of the Secret Service agents traveling with the President was killed today.” The Associated Press (AP) is quoted on WFAA (ABC):”A Secret Service agent and a Dallas policeman were shot and killed some distance from where the President was shot.” Police Ban (Channel 2) -- Orders to keep everything out of the emergency entrance to Parkland Hospital. Get all of the traffic out of the way. An officer in Dealey Plaza radios that he has a witness who saw a man with a gun in the TSBD. Curry tells officer get name, address, phone # and all information. Cut traffic on Hines & Industrial Blvd.