The Kennedy Assassination Tapes
A Rebuttal to the Acoustical Evidence Theory
James C. Bowles
The only thing different in this and all the other VIP escorts we had pulled was the length and the crowds. The crowd was there almost the whole length of the motorcade. In motorcades like this, we are constantly watching up, down, right, left, all around. If we see anything that looks in any way wrong, we radio back to the command car and they hold up the motorcade until it's checked out. That's nothing new.
I was about half-way down the hill on Elm toward the Triple Underpass, going very slowly, so slowly it was actually a walking speed -- you have to put your feet down to stay up -- and, periodically, you had to stop a moment. As I looked ahead I saw one officer on the overpass over Elm, and some civilians, and wondered who the civilians were because they weren't supposed to be up there. But since an officer was with them, and another officer was assigned up there too, I supposed it was all right. They all appeared to be calm and orderly.
Looking on around to my right, I noted that the hill to my right, the one referred to now as the grassy knoll, was clear up to the pavilion. Then, there were a few people standing in the open area from the steps on to the area in front of the pavilion. The number of people increased toward Houston Street, and there was a number of people across the street on the south side of Elm, mostly back to the east.
I had looked toward Chief Curry to get the signal to open interval and move out since he had the Secret Service man with him. Then I looked back toward the President. They had made it around the corner off Houston and were now headed west on Elm in my direction. They had passed the worst of the crowding, and were then coming more into the open, but they were moving real slowly.
That's when the first shot was fired. I was looking directly at the President, and I saw the concrete burst into a cloud of dust when that bullet hit the curb. I noticed, too, that with the shot, some people started running in every direction, while several people hit the ground. It seemed to me like they had been hit by shrapnel. Then, while looking back at the President, I heard the second shot. The President became rigid and grabbed his neck. It also seemed like limousine stopped or almost stopped, and agents from the following car started running toward the President's limousine. The third shot hit the President in the head.
I was still moving west at a slow speed toward Chief Curry when Jim Chaney pulled up from his former position to the right rear of the President's limousine. Chaney said the President had been shot in the head and that it appeared to be a fatal hit. We then informed Chief Curry through his open car window. That's when the chief ordered everybody to go to the hospital.
During the shooting, my back or more accurately, my left side was turned to the grassy knoll, but I was never more than about 100 feet from the spot where someone is supposed to have fired. Just an instant before, nobody was standing there, and I didn't see anyone approaching. If a shot had come from that close to me, I would have known it. There was no shot fired from the grassy knoll. There were three shots fired, and all three came from back up toward the School Book Depository.
Just before the shooting started, I passed my niece, her husband and their children. They were standing on the grassy knoll, just north of Elm Street and near where the President was when the second shot was fired. They gave their statements to the Warren Commission [sic], and I suggested to the Committee investigators that they should be interviewed. I told the investigators what had happened. I told them that there had only been three shots, and that no shot or shots had been fired from the grassy knoll. For some reason they seem to have ignored everything I told them, and I don't think they ever contacted the family.
There's a lot of people who have talked about all this who don't know what they're talking about. It seemed to me like those people from Washington didn't want to know what happened. It seemed like they had already made up their minds how they wanted it to be and were only looking for someone to agree with them. They didn't want to know the truth.
I was assigned to the lead group of jockeys. We got through the crowd at Elm and Houston well ahead of the President. We were at least halfway down the hill from Houston, headed toward the Triple Underpass. Recognizing some friends standing on the south curb of Elm Street, I stopped to spend a moment while waiting for the motorcade to catch up.
As the President started down Elm, one of the group took a picture with a Polaroid camera. I still have that picture somewhere around the house -- I hope I didn't lose it while moving. Anyhow, that was the same time the shooting started. At first I thought it was a motorcycle backfiring, as they were heating up. The first shot apparently missed the limousine as it hit the curb, not too far from where they were standing. The second and third shots hit the President from the rear. At the time, I was facing east on Elm with the grassy knoll to my immediate left, and the corner of the stockade fence was less than 100 feet away. I saw nothing on that hill that looked in any way suspicious. I'm absolutely positive that there were only three shots, that they all came from back up Elm Street from the right rear of the President's limousine, and that no shot was fired from the grassy knoll.
It seemed like all that took an awful long time to happen, maybe a minute or more. I then pulled out to the head of the motorcade with Gray (deceased) and that's when Chief Curry ordered us to Parkland. That was one wild ride. I almost lost it on Industrial when I crossed the railroad track west of Hines. I hit it way too fast and went airborne, landing almost at Hines. Chief Curry radioed to keep all traffic out of the emergency entrance so I stopped at the turn on the corner southwest of the rear of Parkland. I don't remember in just what order other officers arrived, but McLain must have come in with the main body as he didn't come in late by himself.
Officer "C" did something unique. Late that night, after he returned home, he felt the weight of the day in a most personal way. Not wishing to permit time and circumstances to cloud his memory, he sat down with his child's school notebook, and in a fatigued but reflective mood, wrote a diary for the day. He intended to correct it later and have it typed. However, considering its contents, he decided to leave it unedited. It is well that he did, for in its original state it more clearly reflects the mood of the day. He graciously consented to publishing his unedited account herein for the first time.
I SAW THE PRESIDENT ASSASSINATED
The morning of November 22, 1963 started out to be cold and raining, a dark day. I made detail at 6:45 a.m. along with many other officers. I had escorted President Kennedy in 1961 when he came to Dallas to visit with Mr. Sam Rayburn who was in Baylor Hospital in serious condition. That day, when we got back to Love Field Mr. Kennedy shook my hand and thanked me for the escort. This time I was hoping that I could escort the President again, but I thought I would probably have to work a corner instead. In Detail I was assigned to ride on the right side and slightly to the rear of the presidential Limousine. The original plan was to have two officers ride on the left of the car and two on the right of the car. These officers were to ride one behind the other to keep anyone from getting too near the President but he did not want this so we were changed so as to ride side by side at the rear bumper of the car which was only slightly behind the President.
We rode our motorcycles out of the garage that morning in the rain. We were required to be on our assignments at Ten that morning. The planes were due to land at about Eleven Thirty. I got to Love Field at a little after Nine and it had about quit raining. By Ten it was beginning to clear off.
The planes landed at about Eleven Thirty Five. There were three of them; the first two carried the Staff, White House Press and other dignitaries. The third plane was Air Force One which carried the President.
We lined up our motorcycle escort preparing for the departure. The motorcade was led by Chief ______ who was to be about six blocks ahead followed by Sergeant ______ with two motor jockeys who were to be about three blocks ahead, then Sergeant ______ with four jockeys one block ahead, then Chief Curry only a few feet ahead of the President's car. I was riding beside Jim Chaney on the right side of the President's Limousine. Sergeant ______ and four jockeys were bringing up the rear behind the Secret Service car.
There was hundreds of people standing on the curbs as we came out of Love Field; it was to be this way all the way to the Market Hall. These people would walk out into the street as the first motorcycles went by so Chief Curry told them over the radio to fall back to about 50 feet ahead of his car. On Lemmon Avenue 4900 block near Lomo Alto some people on the right hand curb were holding a long sign said "JFK and LBJ stop and shake our hands." Mr. Kennedy had his driver stop and he told these people to come on and they walked up to his car and did shake his hand. I saw people start to run toward the stopped car from as far as a block ahead of us. Jim Chaney called by radio to Chief Curry and he started backing up toward the presidential car. Sergeant ______ and the four Jockeys turned around and started toward us the Secret Service men dismounted and ran to the car and started moving people away and then we started moving again. Chief _____ called Chief Curry and told him the crowd was extra heavy at Turtle Creek and Lemmon and he replied "that's all right we'll take care of it we have a good motorcycle escort." Sergeant ______ and his four got the crowd pushed back and we proceeded with out to much interference. The closer we got to downtown the heavier the crowd got and the more they would walk out toward the President. If one of them got pretty close a secret service man would leave his car and get on back of the presidential car so he could be close enough to Mr .Kennedy to protect him.
We traveled west on Cedar Springs to Harwood then south on Harwood to Main Street without much trouble with the crowd but as we traveled west on Main the crowd was heaviest of all and they wouldn't back up. Several times my right handle bar and right hand hit people in the stomach because they weren't watching me they were only looking at the president. Along about Akard Street the crowd was so heavy and they would not back up so rather than bump them I slacked back and was riding directly behind Jim Chaney. A young man ran out of the crowd from behind me and ran past me on my left which put him between me and the presidential Limousine as he ran past me I saw he was carrying a small camera already placed to his eye but he didn't get to take the close up picture of the President because one of the Secret Service men caught him just in front of my motor and bodily threw him between me and Chaney into the crowd. The last glance I got of the crowd there were people still falling. About this time I saw ahead of me standing in the street a lady holding an umbrella, the type that had a long metal piece on the tip. I rode up beside Jim Chaney forcing people to back up but this lady didn't right then. An Agent left his car and got on the rear of the presidential car. I rode closer to her forcing her back into the crowd. After we passed her the agent went back to his car.
We traveled west on Main the[n] turned north on Houston Street without too much trouble with the crowd then we turned west onto Elm Street. Drove only a short way traveling very slowly. About that time I heard what I thought was a car back fire and I looked around and then to the President's car in time for the next explosion and saw Mr. Connally jerk back to his right and it seemed that he look [sic] right at me I could see a shocked expression on his face and I thought "Someone is shooting at them." I began stopping my motor and looking straight ahead first at the Railroad overpass and saw only one Policeman standing on the track directly over the street. I looked back toward Mr. Kennedy and saw him hit in the head[,] he appeared to have been hit just above the right ear. The top of his head flew off away from me. Mrs. Kennedy pulled him toward her. Mrs. Connally pulled Mr. Connally down and she slid down into the seat. I knew that the shooting was coming from my right rear and I looked back that way but I never did look up. Looking back to the front again I saw the Secret Service Agent lying down across the car over Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy[,] the presidential limousine was beginning to pick up speed and the Secret Service men were running past the presidential car drawing their guns as they ran. I said to Jim Chaney "Let's go with them" and we sped away, he pulled past the President's car and up toward Chief Curry's car. Chief Curry came on the radio and notified the Dispatcher that a shooting had occurred[,] that we were in route [sic] to Parkland Code three and to notify them to stand by. As we were traveling north on Stemmons Freeway Agent Hill raised up looked toward me and shook his head from side to side and held up his hand thumb down. He knew at that time as I did that the President of the United States was dead or dying.
We were driving at a high rate of speed[,] the people along the shoulder of the freeway not knowing what had taken place were trying to get a closer look at the President and would run into the street in front of us. A very dangerous thing to do. After we passed Market Hall we had no trouble with pedestrian traffic but the automobile traffic was heavy. It seemed like an eternity but we finally got to Parkland Hospital.
I got off my motor[,] stepped over to the presidential Limousine. An Agent opened the car door and started to get Mrs. Kennedy out but Mrs. Kennedy said no. It's no need she said and raised up from over Mr. Kennedy. I could see the top of his head was gone, his left eye was bulged out of socket. The agent said "Oh no!" and started crying pulled his coat off and placed it over Mr. Kennedy's head. I saw someone rolling a stretcher up and I said "Let's get Mr. Johnson out then;" thinking that Mr. Connally was Mr. Johnson; reached in the car and got a hold of him under his arms[,] some other officers got a hold of Mr. Connally and we laid him on the stretcher and he was taken inside. I looked back to Mr. Kennedy as Mrs. Kennedy said "all right but I'm going with him." I reached in and got a hold of him at his shoulders and helped lay him on a stretcher. I stepped back and some agents started pushing Mr. Kennedy into the hospital. Mrs. Kennedy walked beside the stretcher. As we got to the door the emergency room an agent told me to take up a post here and not to let anybody but doctors and nurses in.
Some woman and a small boy walked up and asked "Is it true that the President was shot" and I said yes. "How bad is he hurt" she said and I said "I don't know Mam [sic] and if I did I could not tell you."
Mr. Pokey Wright a retired Deputy Chief of Police walked up and told me to clear the Hallway and I along with some Secret Service agents asked everybody to leave the hallway and did get it cleared out.
This was the first chance I had to relax a little bit and I lit a cigarette[.] I noticed I had blood on my hands[,] looked and I had blood on my left sleeve, down the left side of my riding breeches and on the outside of my left boot. I suppose I got this on me as I helped get Mr. Kennedy out of the car.
A man walked up and wanted to go into the Emergency Room. I asked him who he was and he said he was Justice of the Peace ______. I told him he could not go in because there was probably nothing he could do. He said Ok then he went on. Later the Hospital administrator came out looking for his J. P., I told him I turned him back and he said "Turned him back[,] man[,] he owns the body" and I replied "What body" and he said "I guess you are right." If you see him again we need him to authorize removal of the Body." This was the first official word I had that the President was dead. Officer L. C. Gray walked up and asked me if I heard about Officer Tippit[,] I said no and he told me that Officer Tippit had stopped a suspect and was killed and that they were looking for this suspect in Oak Cliff.
Mrs. Cabell walked up and asked if Mr. Cabell was in the Emergency Room and asked me to ask him if he wanted her to come in. I went inside to ask him and before I could anything he said "Does your radio work." I said yes and he said come on and we went to motorcycle as we passed his wife in the hallway he told her he would be right back. We got to my motor he told me to call the dispatcher and have them to get a Justice of the Peace to the hospital in a hurry. I did and we went back inside he went back to the Emergency Room and an Agent got me by the arm and told me he had information that the airplane had been moved wanted me to find out where it was and arrange for an escort back to Love Field. I liked to never found a phone in that hospital that wasn't busy. One line had already been hooked up direct to Washington. I finally got a line and called the dispatcher's office. I told them who I was and that I understood the airplanes had been moved[,] instructed him to contact the Love Field officer and instruct him to pick up the escort at the entrance to Love Field and lead it to the President's plane. He asked if I was going to escort the president's body back to Love Field and I told him that I did not know. I then looked for the agent to tell him that everything was set and was unable to locate him so I went back to the door to the Emergency Room.
Shortly some officer walked up and told me they are taking the President out the other door[,] come on[,] he said. I walked outside just as they were putting the casket into the Hearse. Someone said "Jackson a secret service agent is looking for you." Sergeant ______ asked me if I going to escort the body to Love Field[,] I said I don't know[,] about that time the agent walked up and asked if I had arranged for the escort and I said "yes I'm ready to go when you are." Officer ______ asked me if I wanted him to go with me and I said yes and turned to Sergeant ______ and told him that ______ and I were going to make the escort to Love Field[,] that we left. A chief's car pulled out in front of us until we got onto Hines Blvd.[,] then he motioned for us to take the lead. We did and made a usual funeral escort, using only red lights and whistle to clear traffic to Love Field. Where the president was placed back on Air Force One.
I was assigned to ride at the left rear of the president's limousine. At first, we had been told to ride beside the limousine, but President Kennedy didn't want that. He wanted us back some so he could greet people directly. So we moved back, two officers side by side on the right and two more on the left, staying about 5 or 6 feet behind him.
Nobody expected what happened. It's hard to believe it. I was looking at the president when the first shot was fired. It missed. The second shot hit the president in the back, and the third hit him in the head. I was still in my position some 10 to 15 feet from President Kennedy. I didn't change my position because I had been told to stay right there no matter what -- don't leave the President's side. So I stayed there all the way to the hospital.
Somewhere during this, Chaney pulled up to Chief Curry and then the chief told us to go to Parkland. While we were on the freeway running 80 MPH or so, people who were standing along the median strip were moving around trying to see the President. They didn't know what had happened. I was afraid someone was going to step out and get hit. One of the Secret Service Agents motioned me to pull up beside the limousine, but I didn't because that would have put me a couple of feet closer to the bystanders, and that would be too dangerous. When I got to the hospital, I worked an assignment to keep people out until it was all over and we were relieved.
It had been a long escort. We had a lot of people all the way. There were no problems, just a heavy crowd and a lot of yelling and cheering, and the motors were getting hot. When you follow the lead, you do a lot of starting and stopping, trying to hold an interval. I was glad it was almost over.
The crowd was real heavy down on the end of the downtown area, but just past Dealey Plaza it would open up and we would be on the freeway and just a few minutes from the Trade Mart. The front of the motorcade started blocking up in the crowd in those last turns coming off Main and turning onto Elm. Back on Houston, where we were, we were just about stopped and moving real slow when we could move.
A little past half way down Houston (between Main and Elm), I heard the first shot. I could tell it came from somewhere in front of me, and high. As I looked up I noticed all the pigeons flushed off the top of the building on the corner ahead of me. And in the same period I heard the second shot, and then the third one. I couldn't see just where the shots came from but I knew they were from a high-powered rifle. I hunt a lot, and had just got back from hunting. There was no mistaking that; there were three shots, that's for sure. Though I didn't see exactly where the shots came from, I knew in my own mind they probably came from the corner building as the sound was right and because of the pigeons. So I headed there, got off my motor and entered the building (the Texas School Book Depository). It took a while because of the crowd; they had started moving in every direction.
The man who said he was the building superintendent was outside and met me at the door and went in with me. Shortly after I entered the building I confronted Oswald. The man who identified himself as the superintendent said that Oswald was all right, that he was employed there. We left Oswald there, and the supervisor showed me the way upstairs. We couldn't get anyone to send the freight elevator down. In giving the place a quick check, I found nothing that seemed out of the ordinary, so I started back to see what had happened. Not knowing for sure what had happened, I was limited in what I could legally do.
The investigator from Washington contacted me for my recollection of what happened, but I guess they weren't interested in what I said.
I had just turned off Main onto Houston and stopped. I was headed north along the west curb and just a little north of Main Street. Inspector Putnam was standing near the curb not 10 feet from me. While waiting there for the press bus to complete its turn, I heard the shots. They definitely came from ahead of me, all three of them.
The motorcade was backed up almost to a stand-still. Then, people started running and falling. I looked toward where I would expect to see the President's limousine but I couldn't see it. I looked at Inspector Putnam but could tell from his expression he didn't know anything more than I did, so I took off for the front of the motorcade to see what had happened.
I passed people while I was doing this. I remember passing some of the motorcade vehicles, but I don't remember specifically who I passed. As I went down Elm Street, I noticed a motorcycle down at the curb, and an officer crawling on his hands and knees. The lead vehicles of the motorcade had already cleared the Triple Underpass, headed for the Elm Street off-ramp to Stemmons. They slowed down on the access road and I caught the lead units on the access road just about where the railroad goes over it, but I couldn't pass them because the roadway was too narrow.
On the freeway I pulled up behind the president's limousine. Apparently I startled one of the agents in the limousine who didn't hear me come up because he spun around and pointed a 90 mm machine gun at me . . . at least it looked that large when it was pointed at my head.
Somehow, we made it to Parkland and got them out of the limousine. A young boy came up from somewhere with a small, cheap-looking box camera. The limousine door was open and the kid stepped up and snapped a picture of that mess on the floor. An agent reached over and took the camera, peeled it and told him that, "That's all the pictures for today." I spent the next little while doing security duty at the hospital.
I told the investigator that there were only three shots and that they had all come from the Book Depository, but it seemed to me he didn't believe me, or he didn't like what he heard. To ease his doubt I suggested he put me on the polygraph or use truth serum. He said the polygraph really wouldn't prove anything and that they couldn't use truth serum because if I woke up with a headache I could sue them. I offered to sign a release of liability, but he wasn't interested. In fact, since I didn't say anything he wanted to hear, I got the distinct impression he wasn't interested in anything I said. I couldn't tell whether he had been sent here to discover something or just to see whether anybody agreed with whatever they had already made up their rinds about.
I had worked traffic at Cedar Springs and Olive while the motorcade came through. The President came through by 12:20, and the traffic flow returned to normal in a couple of minutes. I was due to report to the motorpool at the Trade Mart for my next assignment. To get there, I passed through the downtown area by heading west on Elm Street, getting ahead of the motorcade which was westbound on Main Street. I reached Elm and Houston a couple of minutes ahead of the motorcade and continued west through the Triple Underpass as the motorcade reached the west end of town.
Just after I turned off Elm and was on the service ramp leading to north on Stemmons, I heard sirens starting. I didn't hear anything that sounded like shots. I assumed the motorcade was speeding up to get to the Trade Mart because it had been scheduled to be there at 12:30, but they were late. I pulled over on the shoulder to get out of the way and let them pass. Some motorcycles passed, but I can't say who they were.
I could tell that something had happened because of what you could see in the back seat of the limousine, but I didn't know what. I waited a moment and looked back to be sure that all the vehicles headed my way had passed. Then I started back toward Elm, driving the wrong way down the entrance ramp, and then I continued east on Elm against the one-way traffic sign, headed back toward Dealey Plaza to see what had happened and what I might be needed to do. While I was driving the wrong way on the ramp and on Elm, no vehicular traffic passed me. I'm certain of this because I was going the wrong way and had to be careful.
I rode back to Elm and Houston and joined the officers surrounding the Book Depository. Later, I was assigned to the front door to take the name and address of everyone allowed to leave the building.
I worked the motorcade through Harwood and Pacific. The President got through and the traffic cleared enough for me to leave by 12:25 p.m. I was due at the Trade Mart for assignment by 12:30, so to avoid downtown traffic, I went back to Ross Avenue and turned west toward Lamar. Then I went north on Lamar. When I was headed west on Ross, I became aware of an open transmitter on Channel 1 and switched over to Channel 2 because that was the channel we would be on anyway.
While I was northbound on Lamar and almost at McKinney Avenue, I heard Chief Curry come on the air saying something about, ". . . go to Parkland Hospital." Nothing was said about what was wrong, but I couldn't help but wonder. I made the turn where Lamar becomes Continental and goes under some railroad tracks, and continued west on Continental. The roadway through there is set between walls on either side for a few hundred feet before you come out into the open in the old Trinity Riverbed area.
As I came out into the open area at Stemmons Freeway and Continental, I could hear sirens off to my left, I made my right turn from Continental to northbound on Stemmons Freeway service road. As I did, I realized that the sirens were from the motorcade, and that they were northbound on Stemmons passing over Continental and were passing immediately to my left.
I realized that something was wrong. I was accelerating in second gear, so I stayed in second to about 50 MPH, which was about as fast as I could do, and then shifted into high gear, and entered onto the freeway, behind the rear of the motorcade. I could do a little better than 50 MPH in high gear, but couldn't catch the motorcade. Deciding to join them as best I could, I pulled into the center of the freeway and stayed wide open. The motorcade was pulling away from me, but not so fast that I lost sight. As they went over rises in the freeway, I couldn't see all of them all the time, but essentially, I kept them in sight until they turned off Stemmons service road onto Industrial Boulevard, by the Trade Mart. I continued to follow all the way to Parkland Hospital.
When I pulled onto Stemmons behind the motorcade several hundred feet north of Continental, I became the last vehicle running north. While in that position, no vehicle passed me. I'm positive of this because I was concerned with being overtaken by someone who might not see me. By the time the front of the motorcade turned onto Industrial, I was perhaps a quarter of a mile behind them. At Parkland, I joined with other officers providing security at the hospital. I was sent to the old emergency waiting room because some enterprising reporters were climbing through the windows in an effort to penetrate security. A couple of photographers even handed me their cameras to hold for them while they worked their way in. I obliged, and then, after they gained entry, returned their cameras and walked them around the corner and back outside.
I was assigned to traffic at Cedar Springs and Maple. After the President passed and the regular traffic flow was restored, I left for the Trade Mart. I had more than enough time so I was working my way in that direction. I don't recall just where I was when I heard the chief order officers to go to Parkland, but I was fairly close and felt I should go.
I arrived at the emergency dock shortly before the motorcade. I wasn't ready for what I saw when they arrived, and I still haven't got over it. I couldn't believe it even though I assisted in removing the victims from the limousine. I think all of us were moving mechanically because we were in a state of shock. It just wasn't real.
After roll-call, I left City Hall and went to Hines and Industrial to cut southbound traffic on Industrial when the motorcade was approaching the Trade Mart on Stemmons. This was to keep the regular traffic from interfering with the motorcade while they turned into the Trade Mart parking lot off Industrial. I parked my motorcycle, turned up my radio and waited.
I heard sirens corning from around Stemmons and Industrial and looked up there and saw the front of the motorcade turning the comer. My watch was running slow so I thought there was still a couple of minutes before they would even be due there. Then I thought maybe I had missed my radio call telling me to cut traffic, and for a moment, that worried me. I started to cut traffic when I realized that they were passing the Trade Mart and coming on down Industrial in my direction. It suddenly occurred to me that the President had attended a breakfast in Ft. Worth before his short flight to Dallas, and that it had been a long motorcade, and that perhaps he had become ill. As the limousine passed me, an agent motioned for me to join them, so I turned around and joined them.
After President Kennedy and Governor Connally had been taken inside, a Secret Service Agent stationed me outside the door to the President's emergency room. He told me that no one would be allowed to enter except for medical personnel. Shortly after this, a man who said he was an FBI agent flashed his folder and started past me. Just as I called for him to wait a minute and he replied that it was all right, the Secret Service Agent came back in and told him he couldn't come in. The man repeated who he was and started toward the door. The Secret Service Agent said, "I don't give a ______ ______ who you are, you aren't coming in," and he grabbed the other guy, gave him a quick flip and laid the man flat on the floor. The Secret Service Agent then told me to escort the man out of here and out of the building and don't let him back in . . . to keep him out, whatever it took. I escorted him out without incident and never saw him again.
Some time later, I assisted in taking the President's body out to an awaiting ambulance. After placing the coffin in the ambulance, a Secret Service Agent helped himself to the ambulance and drove off, leaving poor old "Peg" standing on the dock saying, "They're stealing my ambulance!"
After things died down, several officers were standing out back trying to settle down and collect their wits. We were in a kind of a bull-session about what kind of day it had been when ______ mentioned that it hadn't been his day, that his mike had stuck open during all this, and he had made a comment on the radio that he shouldn't have.
I was assigned to work traffic and the crowd along Stemmons at Industrial. Officer ______ was with me. I heard and saw the motorcade coming toward the Trade Mart, but I could tell something wasn't right as they were traveling too fast, and they were strung out. When they passed us and continued north on Industrial, I knew something was wrong.
Shortly thereafter we were sent to Elm and Houston. We were copying vehicle license numbers for a while. Then Officer Tippit got shot over in Oak Cliff.
The dispatcher was calling for some help there, and there were enough officers at Elm and Houston, so we were sent to Oak Cliff.
About the time we reached the area the dispatcher was broadcasting information regarding the suspect and his escape route. We pulled up on Jefferson and started checking some cars parked behind a service station to see if the suspect was hiding in or under one of the cars. That's when we found his jacket. We saw Captain ______ in his car on Jefferson so I turned the jacket over to him. It isn't easy to handle a motorcycle and hang on to a jacket.
About this time some officers who had been checking houses in the area reached a church and wanted help to search it. By then, I had gotten separated from Officer ______. While I was around there and some officers were checking, another squad spotted a subject fitting the general description of the suspect running into the branch library at Jefferson and Marsalis. However, he turned out to be an employee.
A while later the suspect was arrested in the Texas Theatre. I have heard that someone suggested that "the real suspect" had escaped by hiding in that church while officers were drawn away to the library on a wild goose chase. That's ridiculous. The church was searched, and the subject did merit being checked. From a distance, he fitted the description, and he was running as if he were being chased. The officer who spotted him would have been grossly negligent had he ignored that subject.
Later that day, after things had settled down, I was with another three-wheel officer and some others when he commented about his earlier troubles which included his radio microphone sticking open during the assassination.
My wife, our two children and I went to Love Field to see the President, but we didn't get a good view. I knew the motorcade route, so I drove downtown so we could get a better look. I had loaded my 8mm movie camera but forgot to bring it. We were standing right on the curb near a street light post in front of the pavilion which was on the hill behind us.
When the President's limousine came around the corner, I had a good view from about 150 feet. About that time I heard two loud sounds about three seconds apart. I didn't associate them with gunshots, so I didn't consider where they might have come from. They seemed more like firecrackers. However, I did notice a change in President Kennedy; his arm went up and he seemed to stiffen.
Just after the two sounds which I now know to have been gunshots, the limousine stopped for an instant, a large man in the right front seat picked up what looked like a telephone, and then the car shot forward again. Some of the agents on the following car got off. By this time the limousine was about to pass in front of us.
From a distance of 12 to 15 feet, just one lane of traffic away, we saw the bullet hit the President from the right rear and literally tear away the side of his scalp and right ear. Apparently Governor Connally had been shot too as his eyes were wide open, his arm was down, he was rigid and his shirt was bloody.
Hearing this shot, the one that hit the President in the head, I realized someone was shooting and we were too near. I told my wife, "That's it, get them down!" and we fell down over our children.
Having not considered the first two noises to have been shots, and having been so preoccupied with what I had just seen, and my concern for our immediate safety, I was not concerned with where the shots had come from. Thinking about it afterwards, I had the impression that they had been fired from behind us. I noticed Mr. Zapruder with his camera and thought it was a gun. My impression was only "behind us," not from the stockade fence. I am certain no shot was fired from there. Also, I'm certain that only three shots were fired. We are positive about that. Had the Committee investigators asked us, we would have told them this. Instead, they used part of what I said in a statement I made that day, and it makes it sound like I believe someone fired from the grassy knoll. That's not true.
The truth is: First, there were three shots, not four. Second, when I said "I . . . thought the shots had come from the garden directly behind me . . . ", I was referring specifically to the third shot and assumed all three had come from the same place; I really hadn't thought the first two were shots until I saw that they were. To say "behind me" would depend on just which way I was looking at the time I made my estimate. Watching the President pass from left to right, I was turning my head, so I saw the third bullet hit and was aware of the sound of the shot while I was concerned with what I was seeing. The shot sounded like it was from "behind me," but there's no way I can be more specific. Third, I am certain no shot was fired from behind the fence on the grassy knoll as that would have been to my immediate right and within 100 feet of my ear. I would have known it if a shot had been fired from there.
Just after I had turned north onto Houston from Main Street, I was moving very slow along the west side of the street. Officer "E" was across the street and a little ahead of me. The motorcade seemed to stop at Elm and Houston as the crowd pressed in on the President. As the President got around onto Elm Street, I was approaching the middle of the block between Main and Elm. It was along there that I heard a shot. I suppose it was the first shot because I looked up and saw the pigeons flushed from their roost on top of the building on the northwest corner of Elm and Houston. I was either stopped or stopping at the time. I looked around in an effort to determine what had happened. I don't recall ever hearing the other shots -- just one which I guess was the first.
While looking about, I looked through an opening in the decorative wall behind the fountain and pond in Dealey Plaza running parallel to Houston Street. I saw the President's limousine going west on Elm Street fairly slow, and a man was running along behind it, holding on to the handrail, and jumping onto the rear of the car. I was sure by that, that something serious had happened. Then Chief Curry radioed for us to go to the hospital -- Parkland Hospital, and the lead jockeys started off code 3 (using sirens with their red lights). So I did the same. I pulled up to Houston and Elm and turned left to go west on Elm. As I turned I saw Bobby (a presidential escort officer) on his hands and knees, and his motorcycle was on its side. For an instant I thought he had been hurt, but then I noticed that he was crawling and attempting to stand up. By the time I reached him, he was on his feet and heading up the hill to my right, the one they now refer to as the grassy knoll.
I accelerated to catch up with the rest of the motorcade. Turning right and up onto Stemmons Freeway, northbound, I opened it up. I neared them as we reached where Stemmons goes over Continental, and about even with the Cabana Motel (about 600 to 800 feet north). I was part of the motorcade en route to the hospital.
At Parkland Hospital, I parked my motorcycle right near President Kennedy's limousine and left it there. I went over to see if there was anything I could do. They got Governor Connally up and out to a stretcher, but they were having trouble with President Kennedy since Mrs. Kennedy didn't seem to want them to do anything. They finally persuaded her to step out of the car, and I escorted her aside far enough to allow the others to get the President out and on a stretcher. Then we all went inside.
I'm not sure just how long I stayed in the emergency room but it was at least an hour or more because when I came out I found out that Officer Tippit had been killed in Oak Cliff. I also found that my motorcycle had been moved across to the other side of the parking area. I don't know who moved it or when, but several had been moved over to the same place. Officers had been standing by listening to the radio to follow what was happening both at Elm and Houston, and over in Oak Cliff.
Now, the Committee staff Report says that I was from 80 to 90 feet west of Houston, west bound on Elm Street when the President was hit with the last shot. That's completely wrong! I never left Houston Street until after the chief said for us to go to the hospital and for someone to check the overpass. The agent didn't get onto the back of the limousine until some seconds after the last shot. I saw that happen while I was still on Houston Street, so while I only heard one shot, I could not have been on Elm Street until after the shots had been fired. Had the Committee staff told me what they had in mind, it would have made a difference in my testimony. They were at least deceitful if not outright dishonest with me.
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