Despite his shock, he discussed the practical problems at hand. Johnson asks Kennedy whether he's heard any news of plots, of responsibility. The new president's mind has been racing. Was it the communists? Was it the Vietnamese? Behind his closed curtains, he is certain that something larger is afoot. But Robert Kennedy has the fewest answers of any man in the world.
Johnson then asks Kennedy where he should take the oath of office and what its exact words are. The questions are metwithsilence before Kennedy repliesthat he will find out and call back. He hangs up. The new president receives two calls from Washington in quick succession: The first is from McGeorge Bundy, President Kennedy's national-security advisor; the second is from Walter Jenkins, one of Johnson's most trusted aides. Both men tell him he should return to the capital immediately. Johnson says he will not leave without Jackie Kennedy, and she has let it be known that she will not leave without her husband's body.
These dominoes must fall in order. Johnson does not want to be remembered as an abandoner of beautiful widows. Robert Kennedy calls back. The specifics of this conversation will be forever debated; several of that day's calls are recorded, but no recording of this one has ever surfaced. According to Johnson's account, Kennedy tells him he should take the oath in Dallas, and that it is imperative.
Kennedy later denies he said anything of the sort. After those few disputed minutes, Nicholas Katzenbach, the deputy attorney general, is patched into the call. He has the wording of the oath. It is in the Constitution and probablyin every lawyer's office across the country. Fehmer leaves the bedroom and heads into the front passenger compartment to pick up another phone.
Katzenbach dictates the oath, and Fehmer types it out. She asks if she can read it back to him, and she does, both Johnson and Kennedy still listening in their respective quiets: "I do solemnly swear or affirm that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Johnson calls Irving Goldberg, a lawyer and friend. They decide to ask U. Hughes—a longtime friend of Johnson's—to administer the oath.
Fehmer calls Hughes'soffice; a clerk tells her that the judgeis not in. He believes she's at the Trade Mart, where she wentto see President Kennedy make his speech. Fehmer hangs up and informs Johnson that Hughes can't be found. He tells her to call the office back. This time, he takes the phone.
Air Force One continues to fill. Although it normally carries about twenty-five passengers comfortably, it is now taking on most of Air Force Two 's original passengers as well, nearly twice its usual load. The secretaries who cried before the TV have been told to leave and board the second plane. In their place, piles of bags, including Johnson's suitcases, are carried from Air Force Two across the runway.
Bill Moyers, a twenty-nine-year-old advance man, has chartered a small plane from Austin to Love Field. Now he's given permission by Swindal to land and come aboard. Mac Kilduff, President Kennedy's assistant press secretary, is also on his way. Only a little more than twenty minutes ago, at P. When Kilduff first opened his mouth, no sound had come out, and the gathered newsmen hollered at him to start again. Kennedy died at approximately one o'clock Central Standard Time today, here in Dallas," Kilduff said. He is sweating and ashen. And I think we should have it. A white hearse pulls up to the ramp at the rear of the plane, followed immediately by another car, and then another.
Both are packed with Secret Service agents. Among them are Bill Greer, the driver of President Kennedy's open-topped limousine; Roy Kellerman, who had been in the front passenger seat; and Clint Hill, who had sprinted forward to climb onto the back of the car, only seconds too late. George Burkley, Kennedy's personal physician, and General McHugh also gather around the back of the car.
So does another of Kennedy's military aides, General Ted Clifton, one more member of this mobile army. Together they pull out the dead president's casket, shining bronze in the sun. Minutes before, it was the subject of a drawn-out fight at Parkland, pushed and pulled between Kennedy's men and county officials citing unbreakable Texas laws regarding the autopsies of murder victims. The casket's sudden presence on the ramp is proof of a hollow northern victory.
The men smash off the casket's long handles in order to fit it through the plane's door and settle it into the empty space in the aft cabin, where the two rows of seats had been. Jackie Kennedy, who had ridden in the back of the hearse with her husband's body, follows the casket up the steps and heads for the bedroom. She is shocked to find Johnson, Fehmer, and Youngblood inside it—with Johnson, depending on the account, either still on the bed or having just lifted himself off it.
Kennedy died at approximately one o'clock Central Standard Time today, here in Dallas. He died of a gunshot wound in the brain. In a interview with Bob Hardesty, Johnson seemingly confesses to the less graceful of the possibilities: "He wasn't going to sleep in the bed, and I was trying to talk to [Robert] Kennedy and take pills and locate the judge and do all these things I had to do. In less than a minute, all four mortified people in the bedroom leave—Jackie retreats to the aft cabin, next to the casket, while Johnson and his company scurry forward, to the stateroom.
Johnson finds Lady Bird and together they return to Jackie, convincing her to go back into the bedroom. The Johnsons sit with her on one of the beds. Sergeant Ayres has laid out some blue Air Force One towels on it. Kennedy," Lady Bird says, as she will later recall in her diary, "you know we never even wanted to be vice-president and now, dear God, it's come to this. Jackie appears in shock.
I was so glad I was there," she says. To this, Jackie says nothing. She sits in her very particular brand of silence, her pink outfit stained with gore, flecked with fragments of her husband's skull and brain. One of her stockings is almost completely lacquered in blood. Her right glove, white that morning, is caked and stiff with it. Her left glove is missing. Lady Bird asks her if she can get someone to help her change. I want them to see what they have done to Jack. The Johnsons tell Jackie about their plans for the swearing in.
Then they take their leave. Jackie stays in her spot on the bed. She looks around the empty room, begins to unbutton her single glove, and lights herself a cigarette, adding smoke to the shimmering air. Ken O'Donnell, desperate to take off, heads toward the cockpit. He can be blunt. O'Donnell wasn't Kennedy's gatekeeper; he was the gate. Now he runs into McHugh and orders the general to get the plane in the air. After the casket fight at Parkland, O'Donnell fears that Air Force One will be refused air clearance or even intercepted by swarms of local cops. In the confusion, he is not aware that their chief is on the plane.
McHugh has already spoken to Colonel Swindal, who gave him the message that McHugh now passes along: President Johnson wants the plane grounded until he's sworn in. O'Donnell takes his case for immediate departure to Johnson himself, who is still conferring with his Texas assembly in the stateroom. Johnson, citing Robert Kennedy's alleged advice, will not be moved. Hughes, an old family friend, and he was afraid somebody was going to take the thing away from him if he didn't get it quick. Judge Hughes arrives, wearing a brown dress with white polka dots.
She is a tiny woman. In photographs, she almost disappears. They see Johnson in the stateroom. The president has risen out of his gold-upholstered chair, ready to be sworn in. The room begins to fill. The temperature continues to climb. Marie Fehmer palms the typewritten oath to Judge Hughes. But they still need a Bible. Larry O'Brien, excusing himself to Jackie, finds a Catholic missal in the bedroom's nightstand drawer.
It is in a small box, still wrapped in cellophane. It is possibly a gift, something that somebody, somewhere, had thrust into Kennedy's hands, perhaps even on this last trip to Texas. Now O'Brien tears open the box and hands the book to Judge Hughes. Ken O'Donnell follows O'Brien into the stateroom. Johnson sees him: "Would you ask Mrs. Kennedy to come stand here? You just can't do that, Mr. He paces in the hallway, his hands on his head— hysterical is the word he later uses to describe himself.
Finally he walks into the bedroom. Jackie is combing her hair. At least I owe that much to the country. Jackie Kennedy comes out of the bedroom. The room falls silent. She has taken off her single bloody glove, but she has not changed her clothes or made use of the blue towels.
Twenty-seven observers crowd onto the eagle-adorned carpet in the stateroom of Air Force One. It has been ninety-eight minutes since President Kennedy died. Cecil Stoughton climbs up on a couch, pressing himself against a wall. He has a semi-wide lens, a new Hasselblad 50mm, but he still has trouble making the shot. Most of them can't hear Judge Hughes over the whine of the engines coming to life.
Johnson chooses to swear rather than affirm, adding, for good measure, four words that are not in the oath: "So help me God. She grabs Jackie's hands. Chief Curry leans toward Jackie. I'm fine," she says before she slowly makes her way to the aft cabin. She drops into a seat beside her husband's casket. She will not move from it. Johnson shakes hands with the congressmen, the pool reporters, and his staff. In Stoughton's pictures—in the less-seen frames before and after the photograph that will come to define the moment—some faces are smiling.
In the crush of the moment, few people notice the man standing in the back, Stoughton's flash lighting up his spectacles, a steel briefcase in his hand. Johnson issues his first official order as president: "Now, let's get airborne. Chief Curry, Judge Hughes, Sid Davis, and Stoughton—with his precious film still in the camera around his neck—dash off the plane and down the ramp.
Air Force One 's doors are locked shut behind them. There will soon be stories that have Judge Hughes taking the Catholic missal with her and in her shock handing it to a mysterious man, never to be seen again. In fact, the missal ends up in Lady Bird's purse. She will show it secretively to Liz Carpenter, and they will worry for a moment that it's a Catholic book, one more of the day's accidental crossings. It looks as new as it did the day it was made, its soft black leather cover embossed with a cross. Colonel Swindal lifts Air Force One into the sky. Davis, watching from the tarmac, is shocked by the steepness of the ascent—"almost vertical," he says.
It's as though Swindal wants to leave not only Dallas but also the earth. Whenever he and Kennedy were flying to the same city, he would ask for permission to come aboard, to be allowed to share a little of Kennedy's spotlight, to wave from the top of the same ramp. Those requests were always refused—Kennedy always citing security concerns, Johnson always believing his exile was for more personal reasons.
The Kennedy people dismissively called him Rufus Cornpone, the sort of man capable of ruining a good suit just by wearing it. Evelyn Lincoln says later that Johnson's repeated demotion to Air Force Two "bothered the vice-president more than anything else. He looks around the stateroom. Jackie Kennedy had helped decorate it. Soon he will have much of it torn out. The crowded plane is largely silent, muffled by a thick blanket of shock. The smoke-filled air slowly begins to cool.
Only Johnson is active. In the stateroom, he wolfs down a bowl of bouillon and begins mapping a route, like a pilot,through the coming hours and days. He calls Walter Jenkins and asks him to begin arranging meetings—with Cabinet members, with White House staff, with legislative leaders, his old friends and foes in the Senate. It's impossible to know when Johnson first begins seeing in his mind's eye the things he will do, but the opportunity to do them he sees right away.
To the rear of the stateroom, Jackie Kennedy sits next to the casket, which lies along the left-hand wall of the cabin, lashed into place with bracing straps. Red bronze and weighing several hundred pounds, it was the best one Clint Hill had found at Vernon Oneal's funeral home in Dallas. It had been delivered polished to Parkland, but now it's chipped and scratched, scarred by the fight at the hospital and the frantic push up the ramp. There are broken bolts where the handles had been.
She cries for the first time. Burkley makes his way back to join them. Passing the vacant bedroom, he notices the door is ajar. On one of the beds, lying on a newspaper, he sees Jackie's bloody glove, dried stiff as a cast, as though her hand were still in it. He finds Mary Gallagher and brings her back to the bedroom, pointing at the glove with his own bloodstained arm. Johnson retreats to the bedroom to change his sweat-soaked shirt. He summons O'Donnell. While he's dressing, Johnson asks O'Donnell to stay by his side—to help with the transition from Kennedy to Johnson, from Massachusetts to Texas, from to You know that I don't know one soul north of the Mason-Dixon Line, and I don't know any of those big-city fellows.
I need you. O'Donnell is noncommittal. He leaves the bedroom and returns to the aft cabin, to Jackie and the casket. The day's losses are not only personal; they are also professional. The center of gravity has shifted. Lady Bird hears one of the Secret Service agents whisper, in what she later calls "the most desolate voice," "We've never lost a president in the Service.
Roy Kellerman assigns most of his agents to Rufus Youngblood, the new man in charge. Clint Hill will stay assigned to Jackie. He sits mostly in silence, going over the day's events, the same few seconds that will play on a loop for the rest of his life. Kennedy shouted, 'They've shot his head off,' then turned and raised out of her seat as if she were reaching to her right rear toward the back of the car for something that had blown out.
I forced her back into her seat and placed my body above the president and Mrs. As I lay over the top of the backseat, 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.
At some point, Hill visits Jackie at the back of the plane. Hill," she says, reaching out for his hands. Johnson asks Moyers, Valenti, and Carpenter to work on the speech he will deliver when they arrive at Andrews. We'll have plenty of time later to say more. He reads it to himself:. This is a sad time for every American. The nation suffers a loss that cannot be weighed. For me it is a deep personal tragedy.
I know the nation, and the whole free world, shares the sorrow that Mrs. Kennedy bears. I will do my best. That is all I can do. I ask God's help—and yours. Johnson takes out a pen and changes a few words " We have suffered a loss…. The world shares the sorrow…. Now it reads: "I ask for your help—and God's. Air Force One receives a weather report warning of storm clouds ahead.
Be advised of a severe weather area from forty miles west of Greenwood, Mississippi, to twenty miles west of Blytheville, Arkansas, extending one twenty miles, one hundred and twenty miles to the east, for tornadoes, tops five zero thousand, fifty thousand feet. Colonel Swindal begins a quick climb. He ascends higher than he had ever flown with President Kennedy, high enough to see clearly the curvature of the earth, and for the first time it hits him. In a letter to William Manchester, the author of The Death of a President, Swindal describes the moment: "As the sun set on the flight from Dallas, flying over the storm clouds at forty thousand feet and darkness coming on so fast because of our high speed toward the East, suddenly realizing that President Kennedy was dead I felt that the world had ended and it became a struggle to continue.
Rufus Youngblood wants Johnson to spend the night in the White House. Johnson is irritated by the suggestion. He doesn't want his arrival to look like a palace coup. If you can protect us at the White House, by God you can protect us at home, too. Moments later, there is another call from the plane. Someone has remembered that the vice-president had been so powerless that he has only a commercial telephone line to his house.
On the ground, linemen from the White House Communications Agency get to work on something more secure.
Dallas, 50 Years After an Assassination
President, you can't say Dallas doesn't love you," which President Kennedy acknowledged by saying "No, you certainly can't. From Houston Street, the presidential limousine made the planned left turn onto Elm, providing it access to the Stemmons Freeway exit. Suddenly, shots were fired at President Kennedy as his motorcade continued down Elm Street. A minority of the witnesses recognized the first gunshot they heard as weapon fire, but there was hardly any reaction to the first shot from a majority of the people in the crowd or those riding in the motorcade.
Many bystanders later said that they heard what they first thought to either be a firecracker or the backfire of one of the vehicles shortly after the President had begun waving. Within one second of each other, Governor Connally and Mrs. Kennedy turn abruptly from looking to their left to looking to their right, beginning at Zapruder film frames Connally testified that he immediately recognized the sound as that of a high-powered rifle, then he turned his head and torso rightward, attempting to see President Kennedy behind him.
Governor Connally testified he could not see the President, so he then started to turn forward again turning from his right to his left. The governor also testified that when his head was facing about 20 degrees left of center,  he was hit in his upper right back by a bullet that he did not hear get fired. The doctor who operated on Connally measured his head at the time he was hit as having turned 27 degrees left of center. My God. They're going to kill us all! Connally testified that just after hearing a loud, frightening noise that came from somewhere behind her and to her right, she turned toward President Kennedy and saw him raise up his arms and elbows, with his hands in front of his face and throat.
She then heard another gunshot and then Governor Connally yelling. Connally then turned away from Kennedy toward her husband, at which point another gunshot sounded, and both she and the limousine's rear interior were covered with fragments of skull, blood, and brain.
According to the Warren Commission  and the House Select Committee on Assassinations,  Kennedy was waving to the crowds on his right with his right arm upraised on the side of the limo when a shot entered his upper back, penetrated his neck and slightly damaged a spinal vertebra and the top of his right lung. The bullet exited his throat nearly centerline just beneath his larynx and nicked the left side of his suit tie knot. He raised his elbows and clenched his fists in front of his face and neck, then leaned forward and left. Kennedy, facing him, then put her arms around him in concern.
According to the Warren Commission's single bullet theory , Governor Connally also reacted after the same bullet penetrated his back just below his right armpit. The bullet created an oval-shaped entry wound, impacted and destroyed four inches of his right fifth rib, and exited his chest just below his right nipple. This created a two-and-a-half inch oval-shaped air-sucking chest wound. That same bullet then entered his arm just above his right wrist and cleanly shattered his right radius bone into eight pieces.
The bullet exited just below the wrist at the inner side of his right palm and finally lodged in his left inner thigh. According to the Warren Commission, a second shot that struck the President was recorded at Zapruder film frame The Commission made no conclusion as to whether this was the second or third bullet fired. The presidential limousine then passed in front of the John Neely Bryan north pergola concrete structure. The two investigative committees concluded that the second shot to hit the president entered the rear of his head the House Select Committee placed the entry wound four inches higher than the Warren Commission placed it and passed in fragments through his skull; this created a large, "roughly ovular" [sic] hole on the rear, right side of the head.
The president's blood and fragments of his scalp, brain, and skull landed on the interior of the car, the inner and outer surfaces of the front glass windshield, the raised sun visors, the front engine hood, and the rear trunk lid. His blood and fragments also landed on the Secret Service follow-up car and its driver's left arm, as well on the motorcycle officers who were riding on both sides of the President just behind his vehicle. Secret Service Special Agent Clint Hill was riding on the left front running board of the follow-up car, which was immediately behind the Presidential limousine.
Hill testified that he heard one shot, then, as documented in other films and concurrent with Zapruder frame , he jumped off into Elm Street and ran forward to try to get on the limousine and protect the President; Hill testified to the Warren Commission that after he jumped into Elm Street, he heard two more shots. After the President was shot in the head, Mrs. Kennedy began climbing out onto the back of the limousine, though she later didn't have any recollection of doing so.
Kennedy returned to her seat, and he clung to the car as it exited Dealey Plaza and accelerated, speeding to Parkland Memorial Hospital. After Mrs. Kennedy crawled back into her limousine seat, both Governor and Mrs. Connally heard her repeatedly say, "They have killed my husband. I have his brains in my hand. Kennedy recalled, "All the ride to the hospital I kept bending over him saying, 'Jack, Jack, can you hear me? I love you, Jack. Governor Connally was riding in the same limousine in a seat directly in front of the President and three inches more to the left than Kennedy; he was also seriously injured, but survived.
Doctors later stated that after the Governor was shot, his wife pulled him onto her lap, and the resulting posture helped close his front chest wound, which was causing air to be sucked directly into his chest around his collapsed right lung. James Tague was a spectator and witness to the assassination. Tague's injury occurred when a bullet or bullet fragment with no copper casing struck the nearby Main Street south curb. A deputy sheriff noticed some blood on Tague's cheek, and Tague realized that something had stung his face during the shooting.
When Tague pointed to where he had been standing, the police officer noticed a bullet smear on a nearby curb. Nine months later the FBI removed the curb, and a spectrographic analysis revealed metallic residue consistent with that of the lead core in Oswald's ammunition. When the Commission counsel pressed him to be more specific, Tague testified that he was wounded by the second shot. The presidential limousine passed by the grassy knoll to the north of Elm Street at the time of the fatal head shot. As the motorcade left Dealey Plaza, police officers and spectators ran up the grassy hill and from the triple underpass, to the area behind a five-foot 1.
No sniper was found there. Holland, who had been watching the motorcade on the triple underpass, testified that "immediately" after the shots were fired, he saw a puff of smoke arising from the trees right by the stockade fence and then ran around the corner where the overpass joined the fence, but did not see anyone running from that area. Lee Bowers , a railroad switchman who was sitting in a two-story tower,  had an unobstructed view of the rear of the stockade fence atop the grassy knoll during the shooting. That included a middle-aged man and a younger man, standing 10 to 15 feet 3.
At the time of the shooting, he saw "something out of the ordinary, a sort of milling around", which he could not identify. Bowers testified that one or both of the men were still there when motorcycle officer Clyde Haygood ran up the grassy knoll to the back of the fence.
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Meanwhile, Howard Brennan , a steamfitter who was sitting across the street from the Texas School Book Depository, notified police that he was watching the motorcade go by when he heard a shot that came from above and looked up to see a man with a rifle take another shot from a corner window on the sixth floor. He said he had seen the same man looking out the window minutes earlier. There were at least earwitnesses in Dealey Plaza who were on record with an opinion as to the direction from which the shots came.
Fifty-four Thirty-three Nine 8.
Witnesses to the JFK assassination: Three Dallas stories - Los Angeles Times
Five 4. The Warren Commission additionally concluded that three shots were fired and said that "a substantial majority of the witnesses stated that the shots were not evenly spaced. Most witnesses recalled that the second and third shots were bunched together. Roy Truly, Lee Harvey Oswald's supervisor at the depository, reported him missing to the Dallas police. According to witness Helen Markam, Tippit had spotted Oswald walking along a sidewalk in the residential neighborhood of Oak Cliff ,  three miles from Dealey Plaza.
Officer Tippit had earlier received a radio message that gave a description of the suspect being sought in the assassination, and he called Oswald over to the patrol car. Markam testified that after an exchange of words, Tippit got out of his car and Oswald shot him four times. Oswald was next seen by shoe store manager Johnny Brewer "ducking into" the entrance alcove of his store. Suspicious of this activity, Brewer watched Oswald continue up the street and slip into the nearby Texas Theatre without paying.
According to M. McDonald, who was one of the arresting officers, Oswald resisted arrest and was attempting to draw his pistol when he was struck and forcibly restrained by the police. Oswald's case never came to trial. Two days after the assassination, as he was being escorted to a car in the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters for the transfer from the city jail to the county jail, Oswald was fatally shot by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby.
CST on Sunday, November The stated cause of death in the autopsy report was "hemorrhage secondary to gunshot wound of the chest". Kennedy the discomfiture of coming back to trial. This footage shows the rifle to be a Carcano, and it was later verified by photographic analysis commissioned by the HSCA that the rifle filmed was the same one later identified as the assassination weapon.
The secondhand Carcano rifle had been purchased by Oswald in previous March, under the alias "A. Hidell" and delivered to a post office in Dallas where Oswald had rented a post-office box. A bullet found on Governor Connally's hospital gurney and two bullet fragments found in the Presidential limousine were ballistically matched to this rifle. The staff at Parkland Hospital's Trauma Room 1 who treated President Kennedy observed that his condition was moribund, meaning that he had no chance of survival upon arriving at the hospital. George Burkley,  the President's personal physician, stated that a gunshot wound to the skull was the cause of death.
Burkley signed President Kennedy's death certificate. Father Huber  told The New York Times that the President was already dead by the time he arrived at the hospital, and he had to draw back a sheet covering the President's face to administer the sacrament of Extreme Unction. Members of the President's security detail were attempting to remove Kennedy's body from the hospital when they briefly scuffled with Dallas officials, including Dallas County Coroner Earl Rose , who believed that he was legally obligated to perform an autopsy before the President's body was removed.
His casket was then loaded onto Air Force One through the rear door, where it remained at the rear of the passenger compartment in place of a removed row of seats. The new President refused to leave for Washington without Kennedy's remains and his widow. The choice of autopsy hospital in the Washington, D. Kennedy, on the basis that John F. Kennedy had been a naval officer during World War II. The state funeral took place in Washington, D. The body of President Kennedy was flown back to Washington, D.
Matthew's Cathedral , the President was laid to rest 2. No radio or television stations broadcast the assassination live. Most media crews did not ride with the motorcade, but were instead waiting at the Dallas Trade Mart in anticipation of President Kennedy's arrival there. Members of the media who were with the motorcade were riding at the rear of the procession.
The Dallas police were recording their radio transmissions over two individual channels. A frequency designated as Channel One was used for routine police communications, while Channel Two was an auxiliary channel dedicated to the President's motorcade. Up until the time of the assassination, most of the broadcasts on the second channel consisted of Police Chief Jesse Curry's announcements of the location of the motorcade as it traveled through the city.
President Kennedy's last seconds of traveling through Dealey Plaza were recorded on silent 8 mm film for the This famous film footage was taken by garment manufacturer and amateur cameraman Abraham Zapruder , and became known as the Zapruder film. Frame enlargements from the Zapruder film were published by Life magazine shortly after the assassination. The footage was first shown publicly as a film at the trial of Clay Shaw in , and on television in Zapruder was not the only person who photographed at least part of the assassination; a total of 32 photographers were in Dealey Plaza that day.
Amateur movies taken by Orville Nix , Marie Muchmore shown on television in New York on November 26, ,    and photographer Charles Bronson captured the fatal shot, although at a greater distance than Zapruder did. Other motion picture films were taken in Dealey Plaza at or around the time of the shooting by Robert Hughes, F. Betzner Jr. Ike Altgens was the lone professional photographer in Dealey Plaza who was not in the press cars; he was a photo editor for the Associated Press in Dallas.
An unidentified woman, nicknamed by researchers as the Babushka Lady , might have been filming the Presidential motorcade during the assassination. She was seen apparently doing so on film and in photographs taken by the others. Previously unknown color footage filmed on the assassination day by George Jefferies was released on February 19, , by the Sixth Floor Museum. The only detail relevant to the investigation of the assassination is a clear view of President Kennedy's bunched suit jacket, just below the collar, which has led to different calculations about how low in the back President Kennedy was first shot see discussion above.
After the Dallas Police arrested Oswald and collected physical evidence at the crime scenes, they held Oswald at their headquarters for interrogation. All afternoon, they asked Oswald about the Tippit shooting and the assassination of the President. Representatives of other law enforcement agencies were also present, including the FBI and the Secret Service, and occasionally participated in the questioning.
On the evening of the assassination, Dallas Police performed paraffin tests on Oswald's hands and right cheek in an apparent effort to determine, by means of a scientific test, whether or not he had recently fired a weapon.
Oswald provided little information during his questioning by police. When confronted with evidence that he could not explain, he resorted to statements that were found to be false. The FBI was the first authority to complete an investigation. The FBI report claimed that the first shot hit President Kennedy, the second shot hit Governor Connally, and the third shot hit President Kennedy in the head, killing him.
In contrast, the Warren Commission concluded that one of the three shots missed, one of the shots hit President Kennedy and then struck Governor Connally, and a third shot struck President Kennedy in the head, killing him. The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, known unofficially as the Warren Commission, was established on November 29, , by President Johnson to investigate the assassination.
According to published transcripts of Johnson's presidential phone conversations, some major officials were opposed to forming such a commission, and several commission members took part only with extreme reluctance. All of the Warren Commission's records were submitted to the National Archives in The Clark Panel determined that President Kennedy was struck by two bullets fired from above and behind him, one of which traversed the base of the neck on the right side without striking bone and the other of which entered the skull from behind and destroyed its upper right side.
The report also indicates that the skull shot entered well above the external occipital protuberance, which was at odds with the Warren Commission's findings.
The commission was led by Vice President Nelson Rockefeller , and is sometimes referred to as the Rockefeller Commission. Part of the commission's work dealt with the Kennedy assassination, specifically the head snap as seen in the Zapruder film first shown to the general public in , and the possible presence of E.
Howard Hunt and Frank Sturgis in Dallas. Their report concluded that the investigation on the assassination by FBI and CIA were fundamentally deficient and the facts that have greatly affected the investigation had not been forwarded to the Warren Commission by the agencies. The report hinted that there was a possibility that senior officials in both agencies made conscious decisions not to disclose potentially important information. The Committee investigated until , and in March issued its final report, concluding that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.
The Committee concluded that previous investigations into Oswald's responsibility were "thorough and reliable" but they did not adequately investigate the possibility of a conspiracy, and that Federal agencies performed with "varying degrees of competency". Instead of furnishing all information relevant to the investigation, the FBI and CIA only responded to specific requests and were still occasionally inadequate. Concerning the conclusions of "probable conspiracy", four of the twelve committee members wrote dissenting opinions.
In light of investigative reports from the FBI's Technical Services Division and a specially appointed National Academy of Sciences Committee determining that "reliable acoustic data do not support a conclusion that there was a second gunman,"  the Justice Department concluded "that no persuasive evidence can be identified to support the theory of a conspiracy in Although the final report and supporting volumes of the HSCA was publicly released, the working papers and primary documents were sealed until under Congressional rules and only partially released as part of the JFK Act.
In , the popular but controversial movie JFK had renewed public interest in the assassination and particularly in the still-classified documents referenced in the film's postscript. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of ". The goal of the legislation was to collect at the National Archives and make publicly available all of the assassination-related records held by federal and state government agencies, private citizens and various other organizations.
The JFK Act also mandated the creation of an independent office, the Assassination Records Review Board , to review the submitted records for completeness and continued secrecy. The Review Board was not commissioned to make any findings or conclusions regarding the assassination, just to collect and release all related documents. There were 29, such records and all of them were fully or partially released, with stringent requirements for redaction.
The day before JFK was assassinated
A staff report for the Assassinations Records Review Board contended that brain photographs in the Kennedy records are not of Kennedy's brain and show much less damage than Kennedy sustained. Boswell refuted these allegations. All remaining assassination-related records approximately 5, pages were scheduled to be released by October 26, , with the exception of documents certified for continued postponement by the President under the following conditions: 1 "continued postponement is made necessary by an identifiable harm to the military, defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations" and 2 "the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.
Many conspiracy theories posit that the assassination involved people or organizations in addition to Lee Harvey Oswald. Public opinion polls have consistently shown that a majority of Americans believe there was a conspiracy to kill Kennedy. These polls also show that there is no agreement on who else may have been involved. The assassination evoked stunned reactions worldwide. The first hour after the shooting was a time of great confusion before the President's death was announced. The incident took place during the Cold War , and it was at first unclear whether the shooting might be part of a larger attack upon the United States.
There was also concern whether Vice President Johnson, who had been riding two cars behind in the motorcade, was safe. The news shocked the nation. People wept openly and gathered in department stores to watch the television coverage, while others prayed. Traffic in some areas came to a halt as the news spread from car to car. Various Cleveland Browns fans, for example, carried signs at the next Sunday's home game against the Dallas Cowboys decrying the city of Dallas as having "killed the President". However, there were also instances of Kennedy's opponents cheering the assassination.
The event left a lasting impression on many worldwide. As with the December 7, attack on Pearl Harbor before it and the September 11 attacks after it, asking "Where were you when you heard about President Kennedy's assassination" would become a common topic of discussion.
The museum offers tours of the aircraft that include the rear of the aircraft where President Kennedy's casket was placed and the location where Mrs. Kennedy stood in her blood-stained pink dress while Vice President Johnson was sworn in as president. Equipment including a gurney from the trauma room at Parkland Memorial Hospital , where President Kennedy was pronounced dead, was purchased from the hospital by the federal government in and is now stored by the National Archives at an underground facility in Lenexa, Kansas.
The First Lady's pink suit, the autopsy report, X-rays and President Kennedy's blood-stained jacket, shirt and tie worn during the assassination are stored in the National Archives facility in College Park, Maryland, with access controlled by a representative of the Kennedy family. The rifle used by Oswald, his diary, revolver, bullet fragments, and the windshield of Kennedy's limousine are also stored by the Archives. On October 12, , the three-acre park within Dealey Plaza , the buildings facing it, the overpass, and a portion of the adjacent railyard — including the railroad switching tower — were designated part of the Dealey Plaza Historic District by the National Park Service.
Much of the area is accessible to visitors, including the park and grassy knoll.
Campaigning in Texas
Elm Street is still an active city thoroughfare, and a large X in the middle of the road marks the approximate spot of the presidential limousine when the shots rang out. The museum is operated by the Dallas County Historical Foundation. The sixth floor of the building contains a re-creation of the sniper's nest that was used by Oswald. The Historic Auto Attractions museum in Roscoe, Illinois has permanently displayed items related to the assassination, including the catalog that Oswald used to order the rifle, a hat and jacket that belonged to Jack Ruby and the shoes he wore when he shot Oswald, as well as a window from the Texas School Book Depository.
Kennedy , some items were intentionally destroyed by the United States government. The casket that was used to transport President Kennedy's body aboard Air Force One from Dallas to Washington was dropped into the sea by the Air Force, because "its public display would be extremely offensive and contrary to public policy". Looking southeast, with the pergola and knoll behind the photographer: the X on the street marks the approximate position of President Kennedy in the limousine at the moment he and Governor Connally were shot photo taken in July From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
President Kennedy with his wife, Jacqueline, and Texas Governor John Connally with his wife, Nellie, in the presidential limousine , minutes before the assassination. This article is part of a series about. Cabinet Judges. See also: Timeline of the John F.
Kennedy assassination. An aerial view of Dealey Plaza showing the route of President Kennedy's motorcade. Ike Altgens 's photo of the Presidential limousine taken between the first and second shots that hit President Kennedy. Kennedy's left hand is in front of his throat and Mrs. Kennedy's left hand is holding his arm. Polaroid photo by Mary Moorman taken a fraction of a second after the fatal shot detail. Secret Service Special Agent Clint Hill shields the occupants of the Presidential limousine moments after the fatal shots. Note the effect of panning in the photograph. Witness Howard Brennan sitting in the identical spot across from the Texas School Book Depository four months after the assassination.
Circle "A" indicates where he saw Oswald fire a rifle at the motorcade. In this , photo, arrows indicate the sixth-floor window of the Texas School Book Depository and the spot on Elm Street at which Kennedy was struck in the head. Right of the depository is the Dal-Tex Building. Main article: Lee Harvey Oswald. Main article: John F. Kennedy assassination rifle. Kennedy autopsy. Main article: State funeral of John F. Main article: Warren Commission. Main article: President John F.
Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories. Main article: Reactions to the assassination of John F. Plaque on the building that was the former Texas School Book Depository. National Research Council. Retrieved November 11, Weld to Peter W. Rodino Jr. Retrieved October 19, ABC News.
Archived PDF from the original on January 26, Retrieved May 16, Archived from the original on May 12, Retrieved March 28, Warren Commission Hearings. Assassination Archives and Research Center. Retrieved November 26, The Kennedy Assassination. Marquette University. The Kennedy Detail.
New York: Gallery Books. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. When was Lee Harvey Oswald arrested? Kennedy by Tanya Savory chapter 12, second page.