«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, ...»
Teague will later say: “J. Edgar Hoover didn’t want me to exist. I was the only proof that there were more shots fired. I didn’t see anything to shed any light on the assassination. I was just one man slightly injured. I was ignored.” Patrolman M.L. Baker is regaining control of his motorcycle after the strong gust of wind from the North when he hears the sound of gunfire. He is riding a two-wheeled motorcycle behind the last press car of the motorcade.
Mrs. Cabell turns to her husband and says: “Earle, it is a shot.” Roy Kellerman, riding in the front seat of the limo, will testify that he hears JFK say, “My God. I’m hit.” No one else in the limo recalls hearing JFK say anything.
The next series of incidents occur almost simultaneously:
* The Warren Report will eventually state that “it is not necessary to any essential findings of the Commission to determine just which shot hit Governor Connally.” WR 19 In Murder In Dealey Plaza, Dr. David W. Mantik writes: “Based on a careful review of the eyewitnesses, JFK most likely slumped forward twice, once after the throat shot, and then immediately after the fatal head shot (a motion not seen in the extant [Zapruder] film). Between these two events, it is most likely that Jackie (slowly) lifted JFK to an erect position so that she could examine his face closely. It seems likely that this upward movement, in a later version of the film (unnaturally accelerated by excised frames), has come to be seen as the head snap.” Dr. Mantik also entertains the theory that a fragment or fragments of glass from the limo’s windshield could have caused additional wounds to JFK’s face due to a shot from the front which passes through the windshield. Mantik notes that “a path from the windshield to JFK’s throat was entirely unobstructed.” He further notes that Tom Robinson, from Gawler’s funeral home, described three tiny holes in JFK’s right cheek, near the right eye. Robinson says that he recalled the wounds because the fixative solution was leaking from them during the embalming process. Reports of a bullet hole in the windshield of the limo persist. A Ford Motor Company employee will report that he sees the windshield - and the hole - before the windshield is destroyed. Based on his inspection, the employee concludes that the shot had come from the front. Mantik suggests that this shot could have come from an open storm drain on the south overpass.
Secret Service agent Clint Hill realizes immediately that something is wrong and jumps off the SS follow-up car. He sprints towards the President’s limousine. The Altgens photo displays the reason: Hill is looking forward at the President while the other agents are looking in various directions. He is therefore undoubtedly the first Secret Service agent to recognize the president’s distress.
Mary Moorman: “A firecracker, maybe. There was another one just immediately following which I still thought was a firecracker. And then I stepped back up on to the grassy area. I guess just, people were falling around us, you know. Knowing something was wrong. I certainly didn’t know what was wrong.” MIDP According to LBJ, Rufus Youngblood, his SS bodyguard -- yells “Get down!” and immediately jumps on top of Vice-President Johnson, pushing him down in the car. Youngblood then practically sits on top of the prone VP. (This is the version of the story as told by LBJ. Ralph Yarborough refuted this version, saying that both Youngblood and LBJ ducked down in the car at the first sounds of gunfire and that Youngblood remained in the front seat.) LBJ’s car is the only car in the motorcade that does NOT have a Secret Service driver.
Motorcycle policeman Marrion L. Baker immediately glances up and sees pigeons fluttering off the Depository’s roof. He believes the shots have come from either the Depository or the Dal-Tex building. He dismounts from his motorcycle and, gun in hand, rushes towards the TSBD building.
Marrion L. Baker races into the building, followed by the building manager, Roy Truly, who has been watching the motorcade from in front of the building. The two start to take an elevator, but both cars are locked on the fifth floor, so they use the stairs. Through the glass window in the door of a second-floor lunchroom, Baker sees a man hurrying away from him. With Truly close at his back, Baker flings open the door and challenges the man with gun drawn. When Truly identifies the man as a Book Depository employee, Officer Baker continues up the stairs to the roof. According to the report Baker files with the FBI the following day, the man, who later is identified unequivocally by two competent witnesses as Lee Harvey Oswald, was “drinking a Coke,” which he has evidently purchased from a lunchroom vending machine only moments before. The words “drinking a Coke” will be deleted from the report, and any reference to the soft drink during Baker’s testimony before the Warren Commission will also be stricken. The Coke has become a pivotal detail with Warren Commission critics for two reasons: first is the Commission’s deletion of Baker’s statement about it, and second is the testimony of another building employee, Mrs. Robert A. Reid, that she saw Oswald drinking a Coke moments later. Critics argue that the Commission wanted knowledge of the Coke suppressed, because it was impossible for Oswald to have fired the shots that killed the president from the sixth floor, hidden his rifle behind some boxes on the other side of the floor, raced down the stairs to the second floor, purchased a Coke from the vending machine in the lunchroom, and begun drinking it before he was confronted by Baker and Truly. When Captain Will Fritz of the Dallas police asks him about his whereabouts when the assassination happened, Oswald will say he was in the secondfloor lunchroom drinking a Coca-Cola. BE; HT Jack Dougherty, an employee in the TSBD, is working on the fifth floor. He hears a noise that sounds to him like a backfire.
(Dougherty will later testify that he takes the West elevator from the fifth to the first floor where Eddie Piper will tell him that JFK has been shot.) Harold Norman, Junior Jarman and B.R. Williams are watching to motorcade from a fifth floor window in the Texas Book Depository building. This window is directly under the “sniper’s nest” window on the sixth floor. Norman will later testify that he can hear: “Boom, Click-Click, Boom, Click-Click, Boom.” (Norman will continue to work at the TSBD for over 30 more years and will disavow some of the reports in his Warren Commission testimony.) “I thought the shot had come from the garden directly behind me... I do not recall looking toward the Texas School Book Depository.” William E. Newman, Jr. - who is watching the motorcade from a position on Elm St.
“I thought the shot came from back of me.” - Abraham Zapruder, who is standing on a concrete slab on the grassy knoll.
“I thought the shots came from the vicinity of the railroad or the WPA project.” - Roy Truly The shots “came from the grassy area down this way... in the direction... the parade was going, in the bottom of that direction.”
- O.V. Campbell, vice President of the Book Depository “The shots that I heard definitely came from behind and above me.” - Emmet Hudson - who i s standing on the steps leading up the grassy slope.
Secret Service agent Glen Bennett sees a shot “hit the Boss about four inches down from the right shoulder...” Senator Ralph Yarborough says: “My God, they’ve shot the President!” Lady Bird Johnson says: “Oh, no. That can’t be.” Kenneth O’Donnell begins to bless himself. Dave Powers murmurs: “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph...” Powers will later say that he and O’Donnell clearly saw the shots come from the grassy knoll. Powers says he felt they were “riding into an ambush,” explaining why William Greer begins to slow the limo. US SS agent Roy Kellerman, sitting next to the driver of JFK’s limo (William Greer), testifies that he hears Mrs. Kennedy say to JFK: “What are they doing to you?” (There is speculation that the first shot fired misses JFK and actually slams into the pavement some twenty feet behind the car. It is speculated that JFK receives a superficial wound in his scalp from a piece of pavement that is blown away by the bullet and that this wound is what he initially reacts to in the Zapruder film. Note also that Kellerman never moves toward JFK in order to shield him. The SS manual in 1963 plainly states that “the first duty of the agents in the motorcade is to attempt to cover the president as closely as possible and practicable to shield him by attempting to place themselves between the president and any source of danger.” Is it just possible that Kellerman does not move to the rear in order to shield JFK because he considers the source of danger lies in front and ahead of the limo? This suggestion is further bolstered by one researcher’s premise that JFK has been hit in the right cheek and temple by splinters of glass from the windshield of the limousine - which has been hit [from the front] by a bullet which splinters the bullet-resistant glass.
Later, it will be said of William Greer, JFK’s driver: “It is absolutely incredible that a trained Secret Service agent, whose critical responsibility is to protect the President, and after hearing two gunshots, the panic of his passenger’s exclaiming “My God, I am hit,” and “Oh, no, no, they’re going to kill us all,” and after turning his head to verify “something was wrong” would not have immediately accelerated out of trouble. Instead, in that remaining critical five to six seconds before the fatal bullet to the President’s head, the driver turns to look again, the limousine slows down, and the driver does not turn back around again until after the President’s head has exploded.” Chuck Marler THE FOURTH DECADE -- Vol. 1, Number 4 Roy Kellerman, turning to driver William Greer, mutters: “We are hit!” (Kellerman will later tell the Warren Commission: “if President Kennedy had from all reports four wounds, Governor Connally three, there have got to be more than three shots, gentlemen.”) Greer ignores Kellerman’s warning. The Presidential limousine, which has been moving at about eleven miles an hour, slows down perceptibly. The brake lights go on. Greer turns around in his seat to look directly at JFK. (Later, the Zapruder film will be closely studied and it will be determined that frames showing Greer’s head turn, have possibly been altered.) Next to the Stemmons Freeway sign, at curbside, stands a man holding an open umbrella -- the only open umbrella in the area. After the first shot, the “umbrella man” pumps the umbrella up and down. This action (and the umbrella man) is filmed by Abraham Zapruder.
Agent John D. Ready jumps off SS follow-up car to dash to JFK limo. He is recalled by special Agent-in-Charge Emory Roberts. Roberts also orders all other agents not to move.
Jackie Kennedy will later recall someone yelling just behind her when the shots are fired.
In her open convertible, Mrs. Earle Cabell smells the unmistakable odor of gunpowder in the air. Ralph Yarborough also smells gunpowder. He will eventually say: “I always thought that was strange because, being familiar with firearms, I never could see how I could smell the powder from a rifle high in that building.” Mary Moorman has fallen on the grass after taking a Polaroid photograph of JFK in his limo. She pulls at the leg of Jean Hill, screaming: “Get down! They’re shooting!” Five seconds after JFK has first clutched his neck, the limousine still seems to be in its stultifying pause, the driver (Greer) looking over his shoulder into the back seat. (Greer’s son will eventually wonder why his father was JFK’s driver, citing his father’s intense dislike of JFK as the reason.) In the motorcade press buses, men are asking each other if what they’ve just heard could be rifle fire. A driver says: “They’re giving him a twenty-one-gun salute.” Mrs. Earle Cabell, is riding in an open convertible six cars back from the motorcade’s lead car. At this moment, her car is just passing the Depository building. She jerks her head up on hearing the first shot because “I heard the direction from which the shot came...” Looking up, she sees an object projecting from one of the top windows of the Depository building.
Gov. John Connally will later testify to the following:
Mr. DEVINE: Governor, I think you testified that you heard but two shots and that you don’t think that you heard the shot that struck you; is that accurate?
Mr. CONNALLY: That is correct.
Mr. DEVINE: Both of these came from over your right shoulder?
Mr. CONNALLY: Yes, sir, from behind me and over my--back behind me over my right shoulder, that is correct.
John S. Craig notes the following: Secret Service Agent Roy Kellerman described the shots as a “flurry.” Two of the shots were often described by witnesses as so closely spaced that they seemed “simultaneous” and had “practically no time element between them.” Additionally, there is a substantial amount of testimony, presented in this article, that describes the later shots as sounding different from the first shot. Governor Connally’s initial reaction to the gunfire was “that there were either two or three people involved or more in this or someone was shooting with an automatic rifle.” A double sound, or bang, is described by three Secret Service agents. Two of these agents sat within feet of Kennedy as occupants of the limousine. A double shot was reported by one of the witnesses standing on the overpass.