«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, ...»
Police Chief Jesse Curry is walking down a corridor toward the jail office when he is called to take a telephone call from Dallas Mayor Cabell in his office. Since other officers are in charge of moving Oswald, Curry stays in his office to give Cabell his report over the telephone.
A reporter in the basement seeks out Lieutenant George Butler. The reporter will later testify: Butler’s former poise “appeared to have deserted him completely... He was an extremely nervous man, so nervous that... I noticed his lips trembling.” Conspiracy Sergeant Patrick Dean, who has known Jack Ruby for years, is in charge of securing the basement against intruders. Dean, who will later be allowed to write his own questions, will fail a lie-detector test. The records of Dean’s test have since disappeared.
Conspiracy 11:18 AM (Nov. 24, 1963) Jack Ruby leaves Western Union office The time Ruby sends the twenty-five dollar money order is only four minutes from the time he shoots Oswald. Some researchers have reached the conclusion that the shooting of Oswald is not predicated on Ruby knowing the exact time of Oswald’s transfer, but rather conversely that Oswald is transferred only after Ruby is in a position to shoot him.
On November 29, 1963, Police Reserve Officer Harold Holly will make a report stating that he arrives for duty about ten minutes after LHO is shot and that: “...then he was sent to Parkland Hospital. While at Parkland, he engaged in conversation with another reserve officer whose name is unknown to him. This reserve officer told Mr. Holly that prior to the shooting, he either observed, or himself admitted Jack Ruby to the basement. That Mr. Ruby was wearing a press identification card on his jacket. Mr. Holly states he could recognize this reserve officer if he could see him again.” Subsequently, Holly identifies William J. Newman as the man he talks to. Burt Griffin, Warren Commission Counsel, will later call Newman “a damn liar” to his face as Newman is giving his testimony.
AATF Detective Jim Leavelle, one of the men handcuffed to Oswald, has said he never understood the reason for the nearly one-hour delay in transferring Oswald, but that Capt. Will Fritz gives him the order to move just after conferring with FBI and Secret Service officials.
11:19 AM (Nov. 24, 1963) Detectives take LHO in an elevator from his upper floor cell to the basement of the city jail. FD Note: The Dallas police force is housed in Dallas City Hall, which adjoins the Municipal Building. There are two ramps leading into the police basement - one on Main Street, normally reserved for entering vehicles, and one on Commerce Street, for departing vehicles.
Officer R. E. Vaughn is stationed at the top of the Main St. ramp. Apart from the two ramps, access to the basement is possible through five doors, reached by entering City Hall or the Municipal Building in the first instance. While police witnesses will testify that all five doors to the basement are secure against unauthorized persons, the Warren Commission believes that there is some doubt about one of the doors. AATF UPI reporter Terrance McGarry tells the FBI that at least five minutes before Oswald is shot, he stations himself at the middle of the basement end of the Main St. ramp and that no one comes down the ramp during this period. Also, a taxi-driver, Harry Tasker, has been hired by a reporter to stand by outside the police station. He has positioned himself opposite the Main St. ramp and has kept the ramp entrance under constant observation, so that he will see the reporter as soon as he emerges and is ready to race to the county jail.
Tasker tells the FBI (on Dec. 6, 1963) that he has been standing at the ramp entrance for about five minutes before the shot and that no one resembling Ruby enters the basement while he is there. AATF 11:20 AM (Nov. 24, 1963) Lieutenant Pierce drives his car up the ramp at the police station. One version of Jack Ruby’s entrance into the police station has him entering now. As a policeman guarding the ramp moves the crowd to one side to let Lieutenant Pierce’s car pass by, it is alleged that Ruby starts down the ramp on the opposite side of the car. Officer R. E. Vaughn, who is stationed there, denies that Ruby enters the basement via the Main St. ramp. Other versions have members of the DPD assisting Ruby in gaining access to the building. James Turner, an employee of WBAP-TV Fort Worth, testifies that while he is standing near the railing on the east side of the Main St. ramp, perhaps 30 seconds before the shooting, he observes a man he is confident is Jack Ruby moving slowly down the Main St. ramp about ten feet away from the bottom. Two other witnesses testify that they think they have seen Ruby on the Main St.
side of the ramp before the shooting. One witness, a reserve sergeant name Croy doesn’t know “whether it was [Ruby] or not.” Croy also fails to report this man in his written report after the shooting. Warren Commission document will eventually state: “Investigating officers have determined the Robert Huffaker, KRLD-TV newsman was in this area at the time, and his clothes were identical to the clothing described by this officer [Croy].” AATF Robert Kintner, an NBC executive, decides that his network should air the transfer of LHO instead of the services in Washington. Because of Kintner, the murder of LHO will be televised live on national television. Kintner will eventually join LBJ’s White House staff.
TKAT LHO is brought into the basement handcuffed to Detective Leavelle on the right, with Detective Graves at his left arm, preceded by Captain Fritz and Lieutenant Swain and followed by Detective Montgomery. Every one of these men except Captain Fritz knows Jack Ruby and has known him for periods of ten to twelve years. Thirty-six other officers present know Ruby. No one sees him until it is too late. AATF As LHO is led out, the assembled TV crews immediately snap on their bright lights, momentarily blinding some of the police escort. Captain Fritz has not assigned a single man to walk directly in front of the prisoner and shield him from possible attack. (In the television coverage, now preserved on tape, it is observed that LHO appears to glance directly at Ruby as he walks out. In this split second, he seems aware of Ruby’s presence. He shifts his gaze and continues to walk.) A car horn sounds twice. Jack Ruby, is sheltering himself behind police officer William “Blackie” Harrison. Ruby has known Harrison for eleven years.
Jack Ruby suddenly lunges through the crowd, pistol in hand -A police officer, Detective Combest, sees Ruby stride swiftly forward. “He was bootlegging the pistol like a quarterback with a football... I knew what he was going to do... but I couldn’t get at him.” Conspiracy 11:21 AM (Nov. 24, 1963) JACK RUBY SHOOTS LEE HARVEY OSWALD -- televised live on NBC. The first murder ever carried “live” on television. Ruby’s single bullet enters LHO’s abdomen. It ruptures two main veins carrying blood to the heart, and tears through the spleen, the pancreas, the liver, and the right kidney. Oswald cries out and crumples to the floor. He reportedly never speaks another word.
The wounded Oswald is guided to the floor by Jim Leavelle while L.C. Graves grabs Ruby. Oswald, mortally wounded, is then rushed back into the jail office where police give him artificial respiration while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. (Ruby’s shot has traversed Oswald’s lower abdomen, rupturing two main arteries carrying blood to the heart, and has torn through the spleen, pancreas, liver, and the right kidney. Obviously, pumping Oswald’s chest is the worst possible reaction to the internal bleeding caused by his abdominal wound.) Jack Ruby is hustled out of the police basement and taken to the same jail cell that has only been vacated by Oswald earlier this morning. Oswald is placed on a stretcher and put into an ambulance and rushed to Parkland Hospital. It has been reported by the Dallas Police that they believe LHO actually died in the ambulance en route to the hospital. He reportedly sighed once, then grew still and ashen.
The following testimony is from Detective B. H. Combest, who is at LHO’s left side when he is shot by Ruby:
Combest: I didn’t hear him say a word hardly, after he had been shot. He was moaning at the time Jimmy Leavelle, Graves, and I laid him down on the floor and removed the handcuffs that he had on him...At the time I asked him and talked to him trying to get him to make a statement to me at the time. Especially, after I realized how serious the wound was. When we first asked him he appeared to comprehend what I was saying...I told him was there anything that he wanted me to tell anybody or was there anything he wanted to say right now before it was too late...trying to let him know if he was ever going to say anything he was going to have to say it then.
Hubert: You thought he was dying?
Combest: Yes, sir; I did.
Hubert: And do you think you used language to him to convey to him your idea that he was dying?
Combest: Yes, sir.
Hubert: Did you get any indication that he actually understood what you were trying to convey to him?
Combest: When I firt started asking him he did. He looked up at me, seemed to recognize that I - who was talking to him...
Hubert: But, he didn’t say anything?
Combest: No sir, just shook his head and I said, “Do you have anything you want to tell us now,” and he shook his head...I kept talking to him as long as I thought he would try to answer me, hoping that he would give a dying declaration on the shooting.
The above testimony was NOT included in the Warren Commission Report.
Jim Leavelle remembers the ride in the ambulance with Oswald to Parkland Hospital: “A med student was doing CPR and I was holding his wrists, trying to get blood pressure and couldn’t get any. I told the doctors in the trauma room I want that bullet out.....
It just popped out in a tray, like a grape seed. I gave the nurse my pocketknife and I said, ‘Scratch your initial in that bullet because you and I will testify that that was the bullet.’ I wrapped it in a tissue and put it in the crime lab later for analysis. We both did testify several times on it.” Of twenty five detectives in the Dallas Homicide and Robbery Bureau (ten had been on duty for the motorcade), seven are on duty this day (28 percent), twelve are off (48 percent), three have taken the day off (12 percent), one is sick (4 percent), and two are on vacation (8 percent.) Mobster John Roselli will eventually tell columnist Jack Anderson: “When Oswald was picked up, the underworld conspirators feared he would crack and disclose information that might lead to them. This almost certainly would have brought a massive U.S.
crackdown on the Mafia. So Jack Ruby was ordered to eliminate Oswald...” Conspiracy LBJ aide, George Reedy, thinks the TV channel he is watching has cut away from coverage of the Kennedy funeral preparations to play an old Edward G. Robinson gangster movie when he first sees the shooting out of the corner of his eye. Brothers LBJ enters the Blue Room in the White House and tells RFK of the shooting. LBJ urges the surprised attorney general “to do something...We’ve got to get involved. It’s giving the United States a bad name around the world.” RFK asks Walter Sheridan to find out all he can about Jack Ruby. Brothers Desmond Fitzgerald’s wife will eventually tell author Evan Thomas that the first and last time she ever saw her husband break down in tears was when Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby. Her husband has been upset from the moment of the assassination, and sits silently, watching the news along with millions of others around the globe. When Jack Ruby performs his deed, Fitzgerald begins to cry, and says, somewhat cryptically, “Now we’ll never know.” Jack Ruby will eventually say: “...and who else could have timed it so perfectly by seconds. If it were timed that way, then someone in the police department is guilty of giving the information as to when Lee Harvey Oswald was coming down.” AATF The Warren Commission will state: “Although Chief Curry’s estimate that approximately 25 to 50 of the 1,175 men in the Dallas Police Department knew Ruby may be too conservative, the Commission found no evidence of any suspicious relationships between Ruby and any police officer.” AATF Seth Kantor writes: “...starting with Sunday afternoon, you could no longer find a policeman in town who said that he knew Ruby...” 12:44 PM (Nov. 24, 1963) Operation to save the life of Lee Harvey Oswald begins at Parkland Hospital.
Homicide and Robbery division Detective Guy F. Rose quickly obtains a search warrant for Jack Ruby’s residence at the Marsala Place Apartments. The detective arrives around 1:00 PM and searches the rooms until about 2:00 PM looking through the clutter, though attempting to return items to their original positions. No photographs are made at the scene.
1:00 PM (Nov. 24,1963) Networks announce Lee Harvey Oswald’s condition is critical.