a look at the witnesses in front of and inside the Texas School Book Depository
Down in Front
Here we finally take a look at the statements of those standing directly in front of the Texas School Book Depository Building, many of them Oswald’s co-workers. While reading these statements, one should keep in mind the words of Harvard Psychophysics Professor David Green, after studying the way shots were heard in Dealey Plaza for the HSCA. He said ““there are certain locations that are best for observing certain shots and in the general region of the book depository, right on the street beneath it, in our opinion it was extremely easy to tell it came from the book. There was a massive sound to the right and rear that sort of crawled down the building, presumably due to scatter on the regular surface of the building and it was quite evident.”
Danny Arce (11-22-63 FBI report, CD205 p7) “The President’s automobile had passed and was a short way down Elm Street towards the underpass when I heard something like a gunshot and then a second and third shot close together.” (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H634) “when president John F. Kennedy was shot, I was standing on the grassy area directly in front of the Depository Building approximately thirty feet from the President’s car. However I could not see the car when the shots rang out. To the best of my knowledge there were three shots and they came from the direction of the railroad tracks.” (4-7-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H365-367) “I seen him when he turned the corner and when he went down that underpass thing and I heard them shots and I couldn’t see anything…I was directly in front, but then I walked a few steps down to the west side…there’s a little sidewalk right across the street and there’s some grass and things up there and that’s where I was at…I guess you could say I was in front of the building but not directly in front of it.” Analysis: Arce’s words indicate that Kennedy had just passed his position, and that the last two shots were close together. First shot hit 190-224. Last two shots bunched together.
Joyce Stansbury (3-24-64 statement to the FBI, 22H674) “On November 22, 1963, I recall I left the Depository building at approximately 12:15 PM and took up a position on the curbside on the north side of Elm Street leading into the triple viaduct about thirty feet west of the corner…I don’t recall having ever observed Lee Harvey Oswald in the Texas School Book Depository.” Analysis: another statement in which the witness said as little as possible. Too vague.
Mrs. Donald Baker (Virgie Rackley)(11-25-63 FBI report, CD5 p.66-67) “She was standing across the street immediately in front of the building…She observed President Kennedy’s car pass…and almost immediately thereafter heard three explosions spaced at intervals which she at first thought were firecrackers. It sounded as though these sounds were coming from the direction of the Triple Underpass and looking in that direction after the first shot she saw something bounce from the roadway in front of the Presidential automobile and now presumes it was a bullet bouncing off the pavement.” (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H635) “I recall that moments after the Presidential car passed I heard three loud reports, which I first thought to be a prankster throwing firecrackers.” (7-22-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 7H507-515) “well, after he passed us, then we heard a noise and I thought it was firecrackers, because I saw a shot or something hit the pavement…I thought there were some boys standing down there where he was—where the President’s car was…close to the underpass.” (When asked if she could see the Stemmons Freeway Sign) “No, I couldn’t see the sign because it was angled—we were stepping out into the street then and it was approximately along in here, I presume, the first sign.” (When asked if it was near the first sign) “As I can remember, it was…I thought it was a firecracker. It looked just like you could see the sparks from it and I just thought it was a firecracker and I was thinking that somebody was fixing to get in a lot of trouble and we thought the kids or whoever threw it were down below or standing near the underpass or back up here by the sign” (When asked if it would have been near the underpass or the sign) “It was near the signs” (When asked how close to the opposite curb it was) “It was approximately in the middle of the lane” (When asked where it hit compared to the car) “I thought it was—well—behind it.” (When asked how many shots she heard) “three” (When asked where she believed they came from) “it sounded like it was coming from—there was a railroad track…so I guess it would be by the underpass.” Analysis: Mrs. Baker is another one of those witnesses that LPM theorists and conspiracy theorists alike love to use to demonstrate that there was a first shot miss. A close look at her statements should lead one to question this, however. In the FBI report she merely mentioned seeing something hit the street in front of the limousine. When re-questioned in March, and given a statement to sign, she doesn’t mention a bullet striking the street, only hearing firecrackers. It isn’t until July—eight months after the shooting, that she begins to state she saw sparks or something hit the street behind the limousine. Since she thought the people throwing the firecrackers were in front of the limo, moreover, it's possible she didn't mean behind the limousine on the street, but behind the limousine from her perspective, i.e., in front of the limousine, as she'd previously told the FBI. In any event, even if she saw a first shot miss, and a bullet strike the street behind the limousine, her statements do not support the LPM scenario. She placed the limo down near the first sign—the Thornton Freeway sign--when the first shot rang out. This is past Kennedy's location at frame 160. She also said the bullet or whatever struck the middle of the lane beside the car, behind the car, and that she thought the shots were coming from the underpass. This would indicate that the sparks or whatever she saw exploded along the asphalt in the opposite direction of a shot coming from the sniper’s nest, right in front of Officers Martin and Hargis. Well, why didn’t they or anyone else nearby see this? Not coincidentally, Mrs. Baker was asked during her testimony to put a mark on a photo of Dealey Plaza to indicate where she saw these "sparks" hit the street. This is exhibit 354. Not surprisingly, her mark is a good 70 feet or so further down the road than Kennedy at frame 160. This undoubtedly suggests she did not see the first shot miss proposed by far too many. First shot hit 190-224.
Carolyn Arnold (11-26-63 FBI report, CD5 p41) "As she was standing in front of the building, she stated she thought she caught a fleeting glimpse of Lee Harvey Oswald standing in the hall way between the front door and the double doors leading to the warehouse, located on the first floor. She could not be sure that this was Oswald, but felt it was and believed the time to be a few minutes before 12:15 P.M. She stated thereafter she viewed the presidential motorcade and heard the shots that were fired at the President; however, she could furnish no information of value as to the individual firing the shots or any other information concerning Oswald, whom she stated she did not know and had merely seen him working in the building." (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H635) “at the time President Kennedy was shot, I was standing in front of the Texas School Book Depository...I left the Texas School Book Depository at about 12:25 P.M. November 22, 1963, and never returned to this building on that date.” (3-31-64 radiogram from FBI HQ to Dallas FBI, FBIHQ file 62-109060, sec 55 p42) "Re Bureau airtel, March sixteen, last and your airtels March twenty-five and twenty-eight, last relating for commission's request for signed statements from individuals known to have been in Texas School Book Depository on November twenty-two, nineteen sixty-three. Before statements can be disseminated to the commission, following corrections necessary: statement of Mrs R.E. "Carolyn" Arnold, paragraph six, line two, time indicated as 12:25 A.M. should be "P.M." If this is typo bureau will handle." (November, 1978 interview with Anthony Summers published in Conspiracy, 1980--part of this quote apparently comes from an 11-26-78 article published in the Dallas Morning News) "About a quarter of an hour before the assassination...about 12:15, it may have been later... I went into the lunchroom on the second floor for a moment...Oswald was sitting in one of the booth seats on the right-hand side of the room as you go in. He was alone as usual and appeared to be having lunch. I did not speak to him but I recognized him clearly." (Late November or early December 1978 article in the Dallas Morning News referencing the 11-26-78 article written the week before) (On what Oswald was doing in the lunchroom) "'I do not recall that he (Oswald) was doing anything,' Mrs. Johnson said. 'I just recall that he was sitting there...in one of the booth seats on the right hand side as you go in. He was alone as usual and appeared to be having lunch. I did not speak to him but recognized him clearly.'" Analysis: As Mrs. Arnold claimed to have seen Oswald on the lower floors of the depository building at a time when he was supposedly upstairs, her words are quite controversial. So why wasn't she called to testify before the Warren Commission? Just as important...since the 1978 interview in which she claimed the FBI misrepresented her 1963 statements was published during the HSCA's lifetime (The 3-31 FBI radiogram confirms that her 3-18 statement was changed by the FBI before it was forwarded to the commission), why didn't they talk to her? Too vague.
Betty Dragoo (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H645) “I walked just across the street in front of the building entrance. I was standing at this point when President John F. Kennedy was shot.” (She names Richey, Arnold, Baker, and Johnson as standing nearby.) Analysis: too vague.
Judy Johnson (3-23-64 statement to the FBI, 22H656) “I was with Miss Jeannie Holt…and Miss Stella Jacob... We walked to the southwest corner of Elm and Houston Streets…I was standing at this point on the sidewalk near the edge of Elm Street at the time President John F Kennedy was shot. I heard three explosions which sounded to me like firecrackers…I do not know Oswald and do not recall ever having seen him.” Analysis: another employee working in the school book depository who didn’t know Oswald from Adam. Too vague.
Bonnie Richey (3-18-64 statement to the FBI) “At the time President Kennedy was shot I was standing in the roadway directly south of the Texas School Book Depository.” Analysis: too vague.
Patricia Lawrence (11-24-63 FBI Report, 22H841): “When the motorcade passed she stated she was looking at Mrs. Kennedy who was looking to the other side of the car. The President was looking in her direction and she had waved. She heard the shot fired as the president was waving. Thereafter she heard two additional shots, shots which seemed to have come from right over her head.” (2-17-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, CD950 p.48) "Subject also stated that she was standing on the front row of persons on Elm Street at the time of the assassination."(2-17-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, CD950 p.57) "Subject heard the three shots that were fired but could not tell where they came from."(3-20-64 statement to FBI, 22H660) “I recall that when the car in which the president was riding passed my position I was looking at Mrs. Kennedy who was looking to the other side of the car. President Kennedy was looking in my direction and I waved. A few seconds following this I heard a shot and following this shot two more shots.” (11-20-11 appearance in JFK: The Lost Bullet under the name Patricia Ann Donaldson) (She is near the Highway 80 sign on the north side of Elm looking out at a limousine some 40-50 feet past her. This appears to be the location of the limo around Z-150 to Z-160.) "This is approximately where - I - the car was in this position when I heard the first shot. And when I heard the first shot fired, I turned to my left and looked up at the building. I knew it came from over my head and from that building. And then I turned back around and there was two shots rapidly and I saw that – that Kennedy was hit." (When asked if the second two shots were closer together than shots one and two) "Oh, yes. The first shot, and there was a a pause, and then there was Bam-Bam.” Analysis: as Lawrence reports that Kennedy had passed her position and was waving at the time of the first shot, she is probably talking about a shot circa Z-190. Her grouping the last two shots together is at the same time indicative of what is now clearly the dominant scenario. Although her appearance in JFK: The Lost Bullet suggests the first shot was fired before Z-190, she said this was an approximate. As this approximate failed to correlate with a moment in which Kennedy was waving, moreover, we can assume it was incorrect. First shot hit 190-224. Last two shots bunched together.
Lupe Whitaker worked on the third floor of the depository building. (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, box 3 folder 19 file 19 of the Dallas JFK Archive) (She) "got back to the steps of the building on the Elm Street side. This was the Texas School Book Depository Building. This was about 12:30 PM. She saw the motorcade pass and then heard two shots...She did not recall ever having seen Oswald...She stated the shots sounded like they came from the west of the building but they did sound as if they came from above." (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H681) (was with Patricia Lawrence) “At the time President Kennedy was shot, I was standing on Elm Street directly south of the main entrance of the Texas School Book Depository.” Analysis: only heard two shots.
Ochus Campbell (11-24-63 FBI report, 22H845) “he and several other associates were together stationed about 30 feet in front of this building facing away from the building observing the passing motorcade containing President Kennedy. At this time, he heard a loud report, which at first he considered to be a firecracker or some such object set off by a crank and believed the noise came away from his building…After hearing two more such reports, he realized that they must have been rifle shots and since President Kennedy’s car had advanced just out of his vision, he went forward a few feet to observe this automobile, inasmuch as he feared that the rifle shots were in connection with an attempt upon President Kennedy’s life. He then observed the car bearing President Kennedy to slow down, a near stop, and a motorcycle policeman rushed up. Immediately, following this, he observed the car rush away from the scene.” (11-26-63 FBI report, CD5 p336) "Mr. Campbell advised he had viewed the Presidential Motorcade and subsequently heard the shots being fired from a point which he thought was near the railroad tracks located over the viaduct on Elm Street." (2-17-64 statement to the Dallas Police Department, box 3 folder 19 file 4 of the Dallas JFK Archive) "We then walked across Elm Street and stood on the curb near the parade as it turned from Houston Street down under the underpass. I heard the shots, it sounded like they came from the knoll near the railroad tracks. I thought it was fire crackers." (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H638) “Mr. Truly and I decided to view the motorcade and took up a position next to the curb on Elm Street adjacent to the street signal light...I recall that shortly after the car in which the President was riding passed the Texas School Book Depository I heard shots being fired from a point which I thought was near the railroad tracks located over the viaduct on Elm Street…I have had occasion to view photographs of Lee Harvey Oswald and to the best of my recollection never saw him while he was employed at the Texas School Book Depository.” Analysis: as Campbell was the VP of the TSBD, his statement that he’d never seen Oswald, despite Oswald’s having worked there for six weeks, is revealing. There were just too many companies in the building, with too many employees, for people to notice whether or not the people in the building actually belonged there. His statement that the car had already passed the Depository when the shots rang out is an argument against a shot at frame 160, where the limousine was directly in front of the building. His initial grouping of the last two shots together is also informative. First shot 190.
Roy Truly (11-22-63 memo from FBI agent Nat Pinkston to Dallas SAIC Gordon Shanklin found in the Dallas FBI files and available online on the Weisberg Archives website) "Roy S. Truly...says that he was outside on the street at the time the shots were fired. He saw an officer start toward the entrance of the building and he came in with the officer just a few seconds after the shots were fired. They started up the stairs in the building and on the second floor, they looked into a snack bar for the employees and Oswald was in there. They then went on up, searching throughout the building." (11-23-63 FBI report based upon the 11-22-63 interview with Pinkston, CD5 p322) “Shortly after 12:30 PM, as the President’s procession did pass in front of the building, he heard what he believes to be three shots. He was unable to place exactly the source of these shots but believed they came from the area of the railroad yards adjoining the depository building. He then noticed a Dallas police officer wearing a motorcycle helmet and boots running toward the entrance of the depository building, and he accompanied the officer into the front of the building. They saw no one there and he accompanied the officer immediately up the stairs to the second floor of the building where the officer noticed a door and stepped through the door, gun in hand, and observed Oswald in the snack bar there, apparently alone...The officer pointed to Oswald and asked if Oswald was an employee of the company and he, Truly, assured the officer that Oswald was an employee." (11-23-63 statement to the Dallas Sheriff’s Department, 24H227) “After the President passed, we heard what sounded like an explosion. I heard three such explosions. Then I realized they must have been shots.” (11-23-63 FBI report based upon an 11-23-63 interview with Kenneth Jackson, CD5 p324) "He saw the President go by and at about that time heard three explosions." (12-2-63 FBI report on an investigation performed 11-25-63, CD385, p.7) "Mr. ROY S. TRULY, Warehouse Manager, TSBD, was exhibited an Associated Press photograph described as "DN 5, 11/22/63, Dallas, Texas," depicting an individual standing in the entrance of the TSBD who resembled Lee Harvey Oswald. Mr. Truly, after viewing this photograph, stated, "That picture resembles Oswald, but it's not Lee Oswald, it's Billy Lovelady." (12-4-63 sworn statement to the U.S. Secret Service, CD87 p793) "I heard three shots fired and moments later a man who I believed to be a motor cycle policeman came running up to the entrance of the building, and I accompanied him inside." (12-7-63 Secret Service report based on interviews conducted between 12-2 and 12-5, CD87 p778) "Mr. Roy S. Truly...has been interviewed on several occasion between November 26 and December 4, 1963...the President's automobile passed his location at about 12:30 P.M., and a moment later three shots rang out." (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H677) “At the time President John F. Kennedy was shot I was standing with Mr. Campbell in the street just in front of the building entrance. I heard three shots fired...” (3-24-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 3H212-241) (When asked where he was standing when the shots were fired) "I would judge out in Elm Street, 10 to 15 or 20 feet from the front steps. We first stood on the steps, the bottom steps a few minutes, and then we walked out in the line of spectators on the side of Elm Street." (He was told to mark an "I" on Exhibit 361 showing his location. But the only identifiable mark on this exhibit as published by the Warren Commission appears to be on the north side of the Elm Street extension directly in front of the building, 20-30 feet west of the steps, not where Campbell claimed they'd been standing.) (When describing the turn of the limo onto Elm Street) “the driver of the presidential car swung out too far to the right, and he came almost within an inch of running into this little abutment here, between Elm and the Parkway. And he slowed down perceptibly and pulled back to the left to get over into the middle lane of the parkway. Not being familiar with the street, he came too far out this way when he made his turn." (When asked the speed of the limousine) "he picked up speed along here, and then seemed to have fallen back into line, and I would say 10 or 12 miles an hour in this area." (When asked what happened next) "I heard an explosion, which I thought was a toy cannon or a loud firecracker from west of the building. Nothing happened after the first explosion. Everything was frozen. And immediately after two more explosions, which I realized that I thought was a gun, a rifle of some kind. The President’s—I saw the President’s car swerve to the left and stop somewheres down in this area. It is misleading here. And that is the last I saw of his car, because this crowd, when the third shot rang out--there was a large crowd all along this abutment here, this little wall, and there was some around us in front--they began screaming and falling to the ground. And the people in front of myself and Mr. Campbell surged back, either in terror or panic. They must have seen this thing. I became separated from Mr. Campbell. They just practically bore me back to the first step on the entrance of our building." (When asked how long the limo stopped) "It would be hard to say over a second or two or something like that. I didn't see, I just saw it stop. I don't know. I didn't see it start up." (9-26-64 interview with William Manchester, as represented in The Death of a President, 1967) (On the uncomfortable fact so many Secret Service agents failed to recognize the first shot as a shot) "It was comprehensible that Roy Truly should dismiss the first shot as a cherry bomb..." (3-21-68 interview with Barry Ernest recounted in The Girl on the Stairs, published 2011) "He had been standing outside when the motorcade passed. Truly 'distinctly heard three shots,' he said, and then accompanied a 'running' police officer, Marrion Baker, into the depository." (11-09-83 AP article found in the Indiana Gazette) "Twenty years later, he refuses to talk about what he saw on Nov. 22,1963. "That's something that was in the past and you don't talk about," Truly said politely. "Everybody who was there has lived through it and that's all I want to say." Analysis: as Truly groups the last two shots as two more explosions, he probably heard them bunched together. While he said that people fell to the ground after the third shot, there was almost certainly a slight delay before the panic reached his location. Probable first shot 190. Last two shots probably bunched together.
Mrs. Robert A. Reid (11-22-63 Affidavit to Dallas County, 24H223) “I was standing on the front steps of the building, as the parade drew near I walked closer to the street…Just after the President passed by I heard three shots. The first thing I thought of was someone was shooting at the President.” (11-26-63 FBI report, CD5 p.27) “She had observed the Presidential motorcade proceed down Elm Street from a position in front of the Texas School Book Depository, and had heard three shots which she later determined came from the above building…The only thing she noted was that the three shots had come from above somewhere.” (12-4-63 sworn statement to the U.S. Secret Service, CD87 p798) "As the motorcade drove by I heard what sounded like three shots. I thought at the time that the shots had come from the School Book Depository Building." (12-7-63 Secret Service Report based on interviews conducted between 12-2 and 12-5, CD87 p785) "Mrs. Reid was standing on the street in front of the building and she heard three shots fired. She thought the shots had come from within the building." (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, CD706, p. 78) "When President John F. Kennedy was shot, I was standing in front of the Texas School Book Depository Building with Mr. O.V. Campbell and Mr. Roy Truly." (3-25-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 3H270-281) (When asked if she was standing directly in front of the main entrance to the depository building at th etime of the shots) "That is correct." (When describing the shots) "I was naturally watching for the car as the President came by. I looked at him and I was very anxious to see Mrs. Kennedy. I looked at her and I was going to see how she was dressed and she was dressed very attractive and she put up her hand to her hat and was holding it on, the wind was blowing a little bit and then went on right on by me and that is the last as far as the parade, I mean as far as they were concerned. I did see Johnson, and that was it. I can't even tell you any more about the parade because after the shots I didn't know any part about that...I heard three shots...And I turned to Mr. Campbell and I said, "Oh, my goodness, I am afraid those came from our building," because it seemed like they came just so directly over my head, and then I looked up in the windows, and saw three colored boys up there, I only recognized one because I didn't know the rest of them so well...James Jarman." Analysis: Mrs. Reid’s statements are consistent with the LPM scenario as well as many others. If one is to interpret her original Affidavit's “just after” as implying "within a second or two," her statements are more consistent with a shot at frame 160 than at 190. Still, her testimony, in which she acknowledges seeing Vice-President Johnson when the shots were fired, suggests the opposite. At frame 160, we should recall, Johnson was still in the intersection. On the other hand, she could have been looking forward into the motorcade when looking at Johnson, only to turn away at the first shot. As she walked back into the school book depository building just after the shots and went back to work, moreover, and told Lee Harvey Oswald that "someone has shot the president," it seems highly unlikely she'd thought the shots had come from the building all along, as purported in her statements to the Secret Service and Warren Commission. Possible LPM scenario. Possible first shot 190.
James Worrell (11-23-63
affidavit to Dallas County, 16H959)
“I was standing on the sidewalk against a building on the corner of Elm and
Houston Streets watching the motorcade of the President. I heard a loud noise like a fire cracker or gun
shots. I looked around to see where the
noise came from. I looked up and saw the
barrel of a rifle sticking out of a window…While I was looking at the gun it
was fired again. I looked back at Mr.
Kennedy and he was slumping over. I got
scared and ran from that location. While I was running I heard the gun fire two
more times. I ran from Elm Street
to Pacific Street on Houston. When I was about 100 yards from the building
I stopped to get my breath and looked back at the building. I saw a w/m, 5’8” to 5’10”, dark hair, average
weight for height, dark shirt or jacket open down front, no hat, didn’t have
anything in his hands, come out of the building and run in the opposite
UPI article on Worrell in the Dallas Times-Herald) "He said he was standing
directly below the sixth floor of the depository when he heard a shot.
'I looked up real quick and saw the barrel fire again. I looked to see
where it hit and saw President Kennedy hit in the back of the
head. Then I looked up again and saw it fire a third time. I was
'moving out' by then and didn't see where it hit,' he said. The youth,
currently unemployed and no longer enrolled at Thomas Jefferson High
School, also claims he heard a fourth shot as he ran around the
corner. 'I heard four shots, I don't care what they say,' he said." (3-10-64
testimony before the Warren Commission,
2H190-201) “as they went by me, they got, oh at least another 50, 75
past me, and then I heard the shots…I looked up and saw the rifle…I
looked to see where he was aiming and after the second shot and I have
seen the President
slumping down in the seat…I looked up again and turned around and
running and saw it fire a third time…I did it all in one motion, I
turned around, and ran, pivoted…everybody was screaming and saying
as I got to the corner I heard the fourth shot…they were right in
turned the corner, went right down beside the building on the sidewalk
I got to the corner…Of this building (The Texas School Book Depository)
”Cut directly across, kind of at an angle…I rested there… approximately
minutes before I saw this man come out the back door.” (When asked to
the time span of the shots) “best estimate 5, 6 seconds” (When asked
knew the rifle fired the second shot) “I saw what you might call a
and smoke.” (When asked about the third
shot) “Same thing, a little flash of
fire, and then smoke.” Analysis: while the Warren Commission used Worrell to
establish that the shots were fired from the sniper’s nest, they ignored that
he said there were four shots. His
statement that the last two shots occurred while he was running a short
distance is indicative they were fired close together in time. His statement that the shots were fired in
succession is perhaps indicative of the extreme stress he was under as he ran
from the building—people routinely over-estimate the duration of stressful
activity by 50% or more. If this was a
factor, then the last two shots might have seemed in cadence with the first
two. Or perhaps Worrell simply encountered a previously un-noticed echo as he
ran out into the street. Still, as he heard screaming after the third shot, and
there was little, if any, screaming reported prior to the head shot, his
recollection of another shot after the screaming began is consistent with the
words of many of the closest witnesses. The extra shot heard by Worrell would then be an extra shot heard in the
beginning or the middle of the shooting scenario. As he says Kennedy slumped after the second
shot, and Kennedy slumped forward after frame 224 of the Zapruder film, this
part of his story is consistent with both the LPM scenario and a scenario
whereby Kennedy was hit at Z-190 and again at Z- 224. While he says he saw the second shot fired,
perhaps he, as Euins, saw the rifle and heard the sound and incorrectly
connected the two. Perhaps, by the time he testified, had come to remember
seeing the smoke he saw with the third shot, with the second shot as well. Or
perhaps he really did see smoke both times. Heard four shots. Two early shots.
Last two shots probably bunched together (with the last shot after the head
Clotile Williams (7-24 64 FBI report, CD1395, p.6) “she took up a position on the northwest corner of Houston and Elm Streets…shortly after President Kennedy’s car passed this position she heard some shots. She said she does not recall the number of shots fired…she did not see anything that aroused her suspicion and did not know where the shots came from.” Analysis: too vague.
Carl Jones (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H657) “When President John F. Kennedy was shot I was sitting on the front steps of the Texas School Book Depository. With me were Mr. Roy Truly, Mr. O.V. Campbell, Mrs. R.A. Reid, and Billy Lovelady...I heard three shots just after President Kennedy passed by in his car and I saw him slump in his seat.” Analysis: too vague.
Madie Reese (11-24-63 FBI report, CD5 p.59) “Mrs. Reese…heard three shots or what seemed…to be shots. At first she thought the shots came from the alcove near the benches.” (2-17-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, CD950 p.47) "The subject stated that on the day of the assassination she was on the steps in front of the Texas School Book Depository Building, waving at the motorcade as it passed the building. She stated that she heard three reports, distinct and separate and knew that they were reports of gunfire." (3-20-64 statement to the FBI, 22H669) “I…took up a position on the second step from the bottom (in front) of the main entrance of the Depository Building…Mrs. Dean was standing directly to my left at the time of the assassination…and we both heard the three shots…I do not recall having ever consciously seen Lee Harvey Oswald in the Texas School Book Depository Building.” Analysis: once again, someone who’d worked in the same building with Oswald for six weeks but who’d never noticed him. Too vague.
Mrs. Joseph Eddie Dean aka Ruth Dean (11-25-63 FBI report 22H839) “President Kennedy had just looked in their direction and waved when she heard a rifle shot. Shortly thereafter she heard another rifle shot and then a third. During these moments, she observed President Kennedy slump down into the car. After the first or second shot, she observed President Kennedy reach to the back of his neck just before he slumped down.” (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, CD950 p.53) "Subject stated she was standing on the front steps of the building when President J. F. Kennedy was assassinated." (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, CD950 p.55) "Subject further stated that she heard the three shots fired by the assassin. Subject stated that she thought the first shot was a firecracker exploding. After the second shot, subject stated that she knew it was gun shots. Subject further stated that after the third shot, she knew they came from above, but she did not see anyone." (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H643) “I was standing on the front steps of the Texas School Book Depository…As the motorcade passed by I heard three shots and observed the President slump over in the automobile in which he was riding.” (No More Silence, p.70-72, published 1998) “The view where we were was very good. But the motorcade went a little bit beyond us before the shooting started. I heard three shots with two being close together and one a little further apart…I remember seeing Jacqueline Kennedy climb over the back and on to the turtle back of the car, and the Secret service man jumped up and made her get back in the car.” Analysis: her statement that two shots were closer together is a little vague. Which two? Similarly, as Kennedy looks in her direction and waves in the middle of the Towner film, 5 seconds or so before frame 160 or 190, her statements that he had just looked in their direction can’t be taken literally. Too vague.
Mrs. Avery Davis (11-23-63 interview with FBI agent Nat Pinkston recounted in an 11-29-63 memo found in the Dallas FBI files at the Weisberg Archives) "On 11/22/63 she was standing on the front steps of the building when the president passed and she then heard three explosions. She did not realize they were shots and did not see anyone with a gun and immediately returned to the building and to the elevator to her fourth floor offices. She does not recall ever having seen Oswald before." (11-23-63 interview recounted in 12-10-63 FBI report, CD7 p.23) “she was standing on the front steps of the building when the president passed and she then heard three explosions. She did not realize they were shots.” (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, box 3, folder 19, file 6 of Dallas JFK Archive) "She saw the motorcade pass her location. From her location she heard the three shots but thought they came from the railroad to the west." (3-20-64 statement to the FBI, 22H642) “A moment after the car in which President John F. Kennedy was riding passed, I heard three explosions. At first I did not realize these explosions were gun shots…I did not know…but thought they were from the direction of the viaduct which crosses Elm Street.” Analysis: too vague.
Judy McCully (11-24-63 FBI report, CD5 p. 432) "On November 22, 1963, McCully was watching the Presidential Procession from the fourth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building and just after the Presidential Car had passed the building, she heard a noise, which she thought to be a shooting. She did not know from which direction the shot was fired. At that time, she did not observe any suspicious activity on the part of anyone in the Texas School Book Depository Building, or among the persons in front of this building. McCully stated she is not acquainted with Lee Harvey Oswald and does not recall ever having seen him in the Texas School Book Depository Building." (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, box 3 folder 19 file 13 of the Dallas JFK Archive) "Miss McCully stated that on November 22, 1963, she and Mrs. Avery Davis were standing on the front steps of the Texas School Book Depository at 12:30 PM, and were watching the Presidential parade. She saw the President's car go by, and as the car proceeded down toward the triple underpass, she heard three shots. The shots sounded like they came from the right side of the building in the arcade." (3-20-64 statement to the FBI, 22H663) “I was standing on the front steps of the Texas School Book Depository Building with Mrs. Charles Davis, also an employee of Scott-Foresman, to watch the motorcade bearing President John F. Kennedy pass by the building. As the motorcade passed, I heard some shots fired, but did not know the direction from which they came." Analysis: while there's a discrepancy in the statements of Ms. McCully regarding her location at the time of the shooting, it seems possible this mistake was the fault of her FBI interviewer, and that he'd mistakenly assumed she'd watched the motorcade from her office--on the fourth floor. That she had a screw loose or was afraid of telling the truth to the FBI, however, also seems possible, seeing as she was twice quoted by them as saying she couldn't tell where the shots had come from, but told the DPD she thought the shots had come from west of the building. Too vague.William Lovelady stood on the front steps of the depository building and is easily identified in James Altgens' photo of the assassination, with the President's limo in the foreground and the front steps of the depository in the background. Due to Lovelady's resemblance to Oswald, however, some have tried to claim it is not Lovelady on the steps but Oswald--a claim refuted by everyone standing in the area. (11-22-63 sworn affidavit, 24H214) “When the President came by, Bill Shelley and I was standing on the steps in front of the building where I work. After he had passed and was about 50 yards past us I heard three shots. There was a slight pause after the first shot then the next two was right close together. I could not tell where the shots came from but sounded like they were across the street from us. However, that could have been caused by the echo.” (11-22-63 FBI report, CD5 p332-333) "On November 22, 1963, Lovelady and his foreman, Bill Shelley, were standing on the front doorstep at 411 Elm Street at about 12:30 P.M. watching the Presidential motorcade pass. At about this time he heard three shots. At first he thought it was a firecracker or the backfire of a motorcycle." (12-2-63 FBI report on an investigation performed 11-25-63, CD385, p.8) "Mr. Billy Nolan Lovelady, 7722 Hume, Dallas, Texas, was exhibited an Associated Press photograph described as "DN 5, 11/22/63, Dallas, Texas," depicting an individual standing in the entrance of the TSBD who resembled Lee Harvey Oswald. Mr. Lovelady advised that he is an employee at the TSBD and is acquainted with Oswald. Lovelady immediately identified himself in the above-described photograph as being the individual who resembled OSWALD and stated he had observed himself previously in this photograph in the newspaper and was saving it. Lovelady stated there who was no question whatsoever but that this was a photograph of him." (3-2-64 FBI report on an investigation performed 2-29-64) "Billy Nolan Lovelady appeared at the Dallas FBI office at which time he consented to be photographed. Lovelady advised that on the day of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, November 22, 1963, at the time of the assassination and shortly before, he was standing in the doorway of the front entrance of the Texas School Book Depository...He stated he was wearing a red and white vertical striped shirt and blue jeans...Lovelady stated his picture has appeared in several publications which picture depict him on the far left side of the front doorway to the TSBD. Lovelady was exhibited a picture appearing on pages 4-5 of the magazine entitled Four Dark Days in History...He immediately identified the picture of the individual on the far left side of the doorway of the TSBD as being his photograph...Mr. Lovelady stated his close resemblance to Lee Harvey Oswald has become somewhat embarrassing." (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H662) “At the time the presidential motorcade passed the Depository building heading west on Elm Street I was standing on the top step to the far right of the wall to the entrance way to the Texas School Book Depository Building. At this time I recall that William H. Shelley...and Mrs. Sarah Stanton...both of whom are likewise employed at the Texas School Book Depository, were standing next to me. I recall that following the passing of the Presidential motorcade, as the car in which the President was riding traveled down the Elm Street extension, I heard several loud reports which I first thought to be firecrackers, and which appeared to me to be in the direction of the Elm Street viaduct just ahead of the motorcade. I did not at any time believe the shots had come from the Texas School Book Depository Building. I am acquainted with Lee Harvey Oswald as a fellow employee only and I recall that on the morning of November 22, 1963, I was on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository putting down a new wooden floor when Oswald came over to me and asked where a certain book was stored. I don't recall name of the book but told him that book was out of stock. That is the last time I saw Oswald prior to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy...I recall that following the shooting, I ran toward the spot where President Kennedy's car had stopped. William Shelley and myself stayed in that area for approximately five minutes when we then re-entered the Depository building by the side door located on the west side of the building.” (4-7-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H336-341) (When asked who was with him on the front steps when the shots were fired) "Bill Shelley and Sarah Stanton and right behind me..." (When asked what he heard) “I thought it was firecrackers or somebody celebrating the arrival of the President. It didn’t occur to me at first what had happened until this Gloria came running up to us and told us the President had been shot." (When asked from where he thought the shots had been fired) "Right there around that concrete little deal on that knoll...to my right. I was standing as you are going down the steps, I was standing on the right, sounded like it was in that area...Between the underpass and the building right on that knoll." (When shown Exhibit 369--a photo by James Altgens of the shooting with President Kennedy's limo in the foreground, and Lovelady on the front steps of the book depository in the background, and asked to mark the picture and identify himself.) "Right there at the entrance of the building standing on the top of the step, would be here (indicating)...It would be your top level." (When asked what Gloria Calvery told him) "She had been right close to it to see and she had saw the blood and knew he had been hit." (When asked what he and Shelley did after talking to Calvery) "We went as far as the first tracks and everybody was hollering and crying…and we said we better get back into the building, so we went back into the west entrance on the back dock that had that low ramp and went into the back dock back inside the building.”
(5-23-64 UPI article found in the 5-24-64 New York Times) "Billy Lovelady, an employee of the Texas Schoolbook Depository, identified himself today as the man seen in a doorway in a photo taken moments after President Kennedy was shot. 'I recall standing in the doorway and I have about 20 witnesses who were there near me,' he said. 'They will verify it was me.' Many newspapers in Europe published in weekend editions an American photograph taken a split second after Mr. Kennedy was shot last Nov. 22. The picture purported to show a man who looked like Lee H. Oswald, the accused assassin, standing in the doorway of the depository building. Newspaper descriptions said the man 'bears an extraordinary resemblance' to Oswald, who was shot two days later by Jack L. Ruby. Authorities said that minutes after the shooting Oswald was seen in a second-floor lunch-room of the building. The shots were fired from the sixth floor. The newspapers asked, 'If the man in the doorway was Oswald, who, then, fired the bullets which killed the President?' Mr. Lovelady, a stock clerk, said he had given testimony about the photo to agents of the Warren Commission investigating the assassination. He said he had also cooperated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He said that investigators for both the F.B.I. and the Warren Commission were satisfied it was he and not Oswald in the doorway. Mr. Lovelady said the F.B.I. had taken pictures of him from various angles and that he had been shown a three-by-four foot blowup of the doorway picture and asked if he was in it. 'I immediately pointed to myself in the doorway,' Mr. Lovelady said. He said he was about 15 to 20 pounds heavier than Oswald and about three inches shorter. Asked whether there was any resemblance to Oswald, he replied, 'I’m fatter in the face.' ''It was me in the doorway,' he said. 'If anyone doesn’t believe it, they will just have to take my word.' Dallas authorities said the photograph had been examined carefully after the assassination." (5-24-64 article by Dom Bonafede in the New York Herald-Tribune) (While discussing the person in the Altgens photo some claim is Oswald) "Lovelady maintains it is he standing in the doorway at the moment of the assassination. 'I was standing on the first step,' he told me when I interviewed him in Dallas two weeks ago. 'Several people saw me. That lady shielding her eyes works here on the second floor.' (While discussing the shots) "He said that while watching the motorcade from the doorway of the Book Depository he distinctly heard three shots--'there was one, then a pause, then two fast ones.'" (11-21-71 article in the Dallas-Times Herald built upon an interview with Lovelady) "Some of us were on the sixth floor and at first we were going to watch from the windows there. At the last minute we decided to go down to the front of the building. As the freight elevator passed the fifth floor we saw Oswald still at work. The elevator was slow and we yelled at him through the iron gate and asked him if he wanted to watch the parade. He said he would be down later. That was about 12 o'clock, I guess...Just as the motorcade turned on Elm off Houston and traveled about 25 feet on Elm, I heard the first shot and thought somebody was celebrating with a firecracker. Then I saw the president slump, and there were two more shots. For a second or two I couldn't think. I thought the shots came from my right, which would be near the railroad tracks, and everybody began running that way. All of a sudden I wondered what in the world we were doing running toward a gunman. We turned around and ran back and entered the depository through a rear door. There was confusion everywhere. It was only minutes before the police were all around and everyone was accounted for except Oswald. We were taken to the police station for depositions and were still there when the police brought him in handcuffed" (Later, when discussing an 11-22 visit from the FBI) "on Sunday, Nov. 24, they came again with the Altgens photograph and I identified myself in it." (5-9-78 interview with an HSCA investigator, as found on the youtube channel of Denis Morrissette) (When asked what kind of shirt he wore to work on 11-22-1963) "an ordinary work shirt... a red plaid shirt...an ordinary cotton plaid shirt" (When asked if Oswald was dressed the same in pictures taken after work as he had been at work) "Sure" (When asked the last time he saw Oswald before the shooting) "Ten minutes to twelve, on the fifth floor." (When asked how many shots) "Three. (When asked how they sounded) There was one shot, a pause, and then two fast ones." (When asked where he thought they came from) "To my right....to my right, toward the railroad tracks." (When asked the distance) "150, 200 yards." (When asked if he heard anything from above, from the sixth floor window) "No." (When asked if he smelled gunpowder) "No, I sure didn't." (When asked if he saw smoke from the tracks) "No." (When asked what he thought) "I thought it was somebody celebrating on the parade and the president. It sounded like a loud firecrackers or something..." (When asked what he saw when he ran over to the tracks) "People shouting." (When asked what he and Bill Shelley did after reaching the railroad tracks) "We came in through the back entrance to the building." Analysis: Lovelady’s testimony that he returned to the building through a western entrance, an entrance unknown to Warren Commission counsel Joseph Ball, is one of the more surprising moments of the testimony. As there was no mention of this entrance being sealed off by the Dallas Police Department in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, it’s possible someone could have escaped through this door for some time after the shooting. Otherwise, Lovelady’s description of the shots, and of where the limousine was at the time of the shots, supports the scenario described by the bulk of the witnesses. First shot hit 190-224. Last two shots bunched together.
William Shelley (11-22-63 statement to the Dallas Sheriff’s Department, 24H226) “The President’s car was about halfway from Houston Street to the Triple Underpass when I heard what sounded like three shots. I couldn’t tell where they came from. I ran across the street to the corner of the park and ran into a girl crying and she said the President had been shot. The girl’s name is Gloria Calvery… I went back to the building and went inside and called my wife and told her what had happened. I was on the first floor then and I stayed at the elevator and was told not to let anyone out of the elevator. (2-1-64 FBI Report, CD 385, p.9) "a photograph...of the presidential motorcade passing the Texas School Book Depository...was exhibited to William H. Shelley, Assistant Manager, TSBD, who readily identified the individual standing just inside the entrance of the TSBD on the left as TSBD employee Billy N. Lovelady. Shelley advised that he was actually standing next to Lovelady when this photograph was taken, but he was not in view of the camera." (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H673) “as the Presidential motorcade passed I was standing just outside the glass doors of the entrance. At the time President Kennedy was shot, I was standing at this same place. Billy N. Lovelady who works under my supervision at the Texas School Book Depository was seated on the entrance steps just in front of me. I recall that Wesley Frazier, Mrs. Sarah Stanton, and Mrs, Carolyn Arnold, all employees of the Texas School Book Depository, were also standing in this entrance way near me at the time Pres. Kennedy was shot. I did not see Lee Harvey Oswald at the time Pres.Kennedy was shot. I did not observe any strangers in the building at any time during the morning of November 22, 1963. Immediately following the shooting, Billy N. Lovelady and I accompanied some uniformed police officers to the railroad yards just west of the building and returned through the west side door of the building about ten minutes later. I remained in the building until about 1:30 PM when I was asked to go to the Dallas Police Dept. to furnish an affidavit. I returned to the Texas School Book Depository about 5 PM. I did not leave the building until about 7 PM that day." (4-7-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H327-334) (When asked with whom he had lunch out on the front steps) "Well, there was Lloyd Viles of McGraw-Hill, Sarah Stanton, she's with Texas School Book, and Wesley Frazier and Billy Lovelady joined us shortly afterwards." (When asked where they were standing) "Just outside the glass doors there." (When asked what he heard) “I heard something sounded like it was a firecracker and a slight pause and then two more a little bit closer together…Sounded like a miniature cannon or baby giant firecracker, wasn’t real loud…Sounded like it came from the west…officers started running down to the lumber yards and Billy and I walked down that way. We walked on down to the first railroad track there on the dead-end street and stood there and watched them searching cars down there in the parking lots for a little while and then we came in through our parking lot at the west end…in the side door into the shipping room… I saw Eddie Piper… He was coming back from where he was watching the motorcade in the southwest corner of the shipping room.” Analysis: Shelley places the limousine too far down Elm at the time of the first shots to be a reference to frame 160. He also heard the second two shots closer together. First shot hit 190-224. Last two shots bunched together.
Sarah Stanton (11-23-63 interview with FBI agent Nat Pinkston recounted in an 11-29-63 memo found in the Dallas FBI files at the Weisberg Archives) "she was standing on the front steps of the building as the President passed and shortly thereafter, she heard three explosions, however, she did not know where they came from and immediately went into the building, caught the elevator and went to the second floor offices and into the office of the Southwestern Publishing Company, located there, to try to look out the window and see what was happening. She then went to the restroom and later returned to her desk." (11-23-63 interview recounted in 12-10-63 FBI report, CD7 p.20) “Sarah Stanton...advised that she is employed in the second floor office of the Texas School Book Depository...and at about 12:30 on November 22, 1963, she was standing on the front steps as the President passed and shortly thereafter, she heard three explosions; however, she did not know where they came from and immediately went into the building, caught the elevator, and went to the second floor offices, and into the office of the Southwestern Publishing Company, located there, to try to look out the window and see what was happening. She then went to the restroom and later returned to her desk.” (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H675) “when President John F. Kennedy was shot, I was standing on the front steps of the Texas School Book Depository with Mr. William Shelley…Mr. Otis Williams…Mrs. T.B. Saunders…and Billy Lovelady. I heard three shots after the President’s car passed the front of the building but I could not see the President’s car at that time. I cannot say positively where the shots came from. I did not see Lee Harvey Oswald at that time or at any time during that day.” Analysis: while Stanton's statements help debunk the surprisingly resilient claim it was Oswald, and not Lovelady, in the Altgens photo, her description of the shooting itself is of little help. It is intriguing, nonetheless, that the purportedly well-spaced shots purportedly coming from directly above Ms. Stanton...were not recognized as such. Too vague.
Pauline Saunders (11-24-63 FBI report, 22H844) “advised she arrived at work at 8:45 A.M. on November 22, 1963 and immediately reported to main office where she was employed...she went outside to watch the presidential parade about 11:25 A.M...she stood in the last line of spectators nearest the door to the School Book Depository building…she could not recall the exact time but immediately after the Presidential parade passed she heard three loud blasts and she immediately realized that the shots or whatever it was came from the building above her…Mr. Campbell, Office Manager, arrived shortly after the police officer entered the building and she told him the blasts came from the upper part of the building however he insisted the shots came from the embankment.” (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H672) “At approximately 12:20 PM on November 22, 1963, I left the lunchroom on the second floor of the building and went out the front entrance to await the arrival of the presidential motorcade which I knew was due to pass the Depository about 12:30 PM. I took up a position at the top of the front steps of the Depository building facing Elm Street. To the best of my recollection, I was standing on the top step at the east end of the entrance. I recall that while standing there I noticed Mrs. Sarah Stanton standing next to me, but I am unsure as to the others. Mrs. Stanton is likewise an employee of the Texas School Book Depository. To the best of my recollection I did not see Lee Harvey Oswald at any time on November 22, 1963, and although I knew him by sight as an employee of the building I did not know him by name and had never spoken to him at any time. I do not recall seeing any strangers in the Texas School Book Depository Building at any time on the morning of November 22, 1963. After the motorcade car carrying President John F. Kennedy passed, I remained a moment on the steps, then walked out to the concrete island in front of the Depository Building to see what had happened. I remained there a moment and then returned to the Depository Building through the main entrance. I then walked to the second floor where I usually worked.” Analysis: Although Mrs. Saunders tells us almost nothing on how the shots were fired, her brief statements are at least of some assistance in clearing up some other mysteries. For one, she says she left the lunch room at 12:20, but has no recollection of seeing Oswald on the day of the shooting. This works against Oswald's being in the second floor lunch room at that time. For two, she says she stood on the east side of the top step, and worked on the second floor. This, along with Billy Lovelady's claim the woman shielding her eyes in the Altgens photo worked on the second floor, suggests the possibility Saunders was this woman. If not her, then Stanton. Too vague.
Buell Wesley Frazier (11-22-63
affidavit for Dallas County,
24H209) “I was standing on the front steps of the building when the parade came
by, and I watched the parade go by.
After President Kennedy had got out of my sight, I heard three shots. I
stood there, then people started running by, and I turned, and went back in the
building.” (12-5-63 sworn statement to the U.S. Secret Service,
CD87 p796) "I was standing on the front steps when the parade passed in
front of the building. When the shooting occurred, I did not realize
the shots were really shots until the second one. At first I thought it
was backfire. I did not realize the shots had come from this building
but thought they had come from somewhere around the triple underpass or
railroad tracks." (3-11-64 testimony before the Warren Commission,
2H210-245) (On his location during the shooting) "I
was standing on the steps there and watched for the parade to come by
and so I did and I stood there until he come by." (On who was with him
at this time) "I stayed around there pretty close to Mr. Shelley and this boy Billy
Lovelady and just standing there, people talking and just talking about
how pretty a day it turned out to be, because I told you earlier it was
an old cloudy and misty day and then it didn't look like it was going to
be a pretty day at all." (Anybody else?) "There was a lady there, a heavy-set lady who worked upstairs there whose name is Sarah something, I don't know her last name."
(On the shooting) “just right after he went by
he hadn’t hardly got by, I heard a sound and if you have ever been around
motorcycles you know how they backfire, and so I thought one of them motorcycles
backfired…but it wasn’t just a few seconds that, you know, I heard two more of
the same type of, you know, sounds, and
by that time people was running everywhere, and falling down and screaming, and
naturally then I knew something was wrong…to be frank with you I thought it
come from down there, where that underpass is.”
(3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H647) “At the time
President Kennedy was shot I was standing on the front steps of the Texas
School Book Depository. I was with
William H. Shelley…and Billy Lovelady.” (2-13-69
testimony in the trial of Clay Shaw) (On where he was standing when the shots were fired) "I watched the parade from the top of the steps there, the main entrance into Texas School Books." (When asked to point out this location on an exhibit) "Right here. It is the main entrance right here. There in the
shadows you have several steps and a rail, and I was standing right
there at the top of the rail." (When asked who he was standing with) "When I was standing there at the top of the stairs I was standing there
by a heavyset lady who worked up in our office, her name is Sara, I
forget her last name, but she was standing right there beside me when we
watched the motorcade." (Anyone else?) "Right down in front of me at the bottom of the steps my foreman Bill Shelley and Billy Lovelady were standing there." (On the shooting)
right after they made the turn there was several motorcycle policeman
the motorcade and right after they turned, after the car made the turn,
sounded like the motorcycles were backfiring… Shortly after there were
in rapid succession.” (When asked if he knew they were rifle shots)
"Well, the two that come in fast succession by that time, like I said,
people were hollering, and then I recognized them, they were rifle
shots." (When asked the time lapse between the first and second shots) "It was just a few seconds." (When asked the time lapse between the
second and third) "When I heard the second noise, the third was followed
nearly just right back to back. It was fired in rapid succession." (He
was then asked to demonstrate the spacing of the shots by clapping his
hands, but the spacing of his hand claps was not noted on the
transcripts of the trial)
(11-21-77 interview with HSCA investigators Moriarty and
Day, edited down from a transcript provided by Richard Gilbride)
"everybody was following the presidential motorcade...then I heard a
loud sound--motorcycle backfire...from where I was standing, there was
some trees and some people--so I actually couldn't see. But what had
actually happened was the first shot...and then I heard the same sound.
It wasn't anywheres even close to me...It was then that I realized--as
people were beginning to run--and it became quite still. Before I had
the chance to be heard, a sound--like a motorcycle backfire--what
sounded like a backfire erupt." (When asked if the shots sounded the
same) "the noises that I heard was all similar...they matched or they
were from the 6th story...they seemed to be all pretty the same...Like I
say, the first one that was fired, and then it seemed like it was only
another few seconds and then they's coming up with another...they was in
tandem. They was in the same area, the same direction. You know, like
the same sound." (7-23-86 testimony in televised mock trial, On
Trial: Lee Harvey Oswald) (When asked how many shots he heard) "Three."
(When asked if he thought the shots came from the railroad) "Yes, sir,
from the knoll there." (When asked again about the direction of the
shots) "I thought they came from the knoll here." (He is then asked to
write the words "grassy knoll" on a map of Dealey Plaza and put an X
where he thought the shots had come from. He writes the words on the map
to the west of the arcade, and then puts an X by these words at the
northernmost point of the picket fence, in the railroad yards to the
west of the arcade.)
(6-21-02 oral history with the Sixth Floor Museum) "I was standing at the top of the steps, the entrance, to the Texas School Book Depository. I was standing in the shadows...When they turned from Houston Street onto Elm there, and started down to the underpasses there, I remember I remarked to myself, I said, 'well, they look just like they do in the pictures'... (When asked how long it was after the limo had completed its turn onto Elm Street and started heading away that he heard the first shot) "It wasn't very long before there was a shot. And, as I said earlier, from listening to the motorcycles that was leading the President's car that had been backfiring, at first I thought it was a backfire from a motorcycle..." (When asked if the shot sounded like backfires) "Yes. But then shortly after, there was two more. By that time there was really chaos. There was people running and everything and you knew something wasn't right...I couldn't actually see what was going on in the President's car...After they had passed and dropped out of sight, I couldn't see what was going on." (When asked when he first realized Kennedy had been shot) "By the time the second and third shot was fired, I realized it wasn't a motorcycle backfire, because it had a different sound to it. And I realized someone was firing, and people was, as I said in that whole area there was running and falling down..." (When asked from where he thought the shots were fired) "The sound to me at that time sounded like it was coming from up above...the only thing I can say is that I realized it was gunfire, but to be specific as to what building it was coming from other than saying it was coming from up above where we were standing, I can't be more specific than that..." (When asked how many shots) "I heard three shots. There was one, and then there was, the other two was much closer in succession." (When asked the length of the shooting) "I don't know exact, but probably, I would probably say all, and this is probably, I don't know for a fact, I would probably say all three shots was taken within 15 seconds...There was the first one, and then the second and third one was just almost just back to back. It was very fast." (When asked the time between the last two shots) "I would probably say, maybe five seconds, if it was that long." (When asked if there could have been more or fewer than three shots) "Not fewer than three...I heard three." (When asked where the car was when the first shot was fired) "It wasn't very far after it dropped out of my sight...I couldn't see the car...The car was out of my view when the first shot was fired...(When attempting to clarify his approximation of 15 seconds for the shooting) "If you take and fire a shot say like for instance on the first second, and then the second shot might not have been somewhere until like the 8th to 10th seconds, and then the third one I would say somewhere between the 10th and 15th." (3-27-13 appearance at the Irving Central Library, video found online) "I heard the shots...I was standing back in the shadows there--when you walk into the Texas School Book Building today, if you walk up in there, there's a space there, and I was standing there watching the parade back in the shadows. You can't see me, but I was there. After the third shot, it was really mayhem there...Sarah, the lady I was standing by up on the top step back in the shadows, we looked at one another. We really didn't have a lot to say." (7-13-13 appearance at the Sixth Floor Museum, as shown on C-Span) (When asked how many shots he heard) "Shots. I heard three. In that presidential parade--it was being led by--and there was motorcycle policemen, and these motorcycle policemen were cutting their motorcycles on and off. If you know anything or you ride motorcycles you know that you can do that and make 'em backfire...So when the first shot occurred, I thought it was just a motorcycle backfiring. Then it wasn't long after that that there was two and the two were closer in succession than between the first and second. And then I realized that that wasn't a motorcycle backfire, it was somebody shooting a weapon. And down here in Dealey Plaza, it was total chaos. People was running and screaming and falling down and hollering." (When asked if he had a sense where the shots were coming from) "The first one, when I was standing back on the top of the steps, sounded like it come to my right down where the motorcade was, But then the second and third sounded much closer..." (When describing what happened after the shots, after a crying woman came up to him and the woman standing next to him and told them the President had been shot.) "We looked bewildered. I turned to Sarah and she said 'she said somebody has shot the President.' And I said 'I thought that's what she said.' She said 'she did say that.''' (Frazier had thereby confirmed that Sarah Stanton was standing with him on the top of the steps both before the shots, and for several minutes after.) (11-18-13 article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch) (On the shooting) "'The car turned, and boom — that first sound, that you never forget,' Allman said. 'It wasn’t the crack sound of a rifle. It was a loud boom sound.' Frazier also heard the sound, thinking one of the motorcycles escorting the limousine had backfired. 'And then shortly after that, I heard two more, and I realized then what I heard was someone firing a firearm,' Frazier said." (Interview conducted for 11-22-13 NBC program Where Were You?, found online 11-7-13) "I was standing on the top step on the first floor when you go out of the Texas school book building...And I was in the shadow..." (As to who was in the Altgens photo) "It was Billy Lovelady." (On the shots) "The first shot, when they were turning the corner there, they were being led by a group of motorcycle policemen, and they were cutting their motorcycles on and off and making them backfire. The first shot I thought it was someone (Tom Brokaw finishes his sentence "backfire") But then with the second and third I realized that it was no longer a backfire." (Frazier's account in Where Were You?, a book released to accompany the NBC program Where Were You?, 2013) "At the first shot, I thought it was someone still doing the backfiring. But when the second and third shots came, I realized it was no longer backfire..." (On the immediate aftermath of the shooting) "I stayed right there in the step area...I stayed there outside, the steps there for a while with some people." (9-27-14 appearance at the AARC Conference in Bethesda, Maryland, video found on vimeo) (On seeing Jacqueline Kennedy) "I mentioned to a lady by the name of Sarah, when I was standing on the top steps of the school book depository, as the presidential parade come by. And I said to her 'Isn't she beautiful? She looks just like she does in the pictures.'" (When asked by Robert Groden the name of the person standing next to him at the time of the shooting) "The person standing next to me there during the parade and before the parade was a lady that worked upstairs and her name is Sarah...and her last name I don't remember right off. And then down in front of me was Mr. Shelley, a little bit over to my left. And real in the very bottom down there was my good friend Billy Lovelady. (Later) Billy was standing down there at the bottom of the steps in that famous picture...That was Billy Lovelady. And that pops up more than you want to know, and people try to say that that was Lee Oswald. But it was not." (11-21-15 appearance at the JFK Lancer Conference) "Shortly after they went past our view, that's when the first shot rang out, then there was a second and third, and the second and third was closer." Analysis: while Frazier, Oswald’s car-pool buddy, placed the limousine close enough to the corner to suggest the LPM scenario in his testimony at the Shaw trial, he originally specified that the car was much further down the street and out of his sight. His grouping of the last two shots together supports this earlier statement. First shot hit 190-224. Last two shots bunched together.
Otis Williams (11-24-63 FBI report, CD5 p.64) “at the time the Presidential procession passed the Texas School Book Depository Building, Williams was on the front steps of the building. The Presidential car had just passed the building a few seconds and was out of sight over the embankment when Williams heard three loud blasts. He thought these blasts came from the location of the court house.” (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, box folder 19 file 20 of the Dallas JFK Archive) "He heard three shots that sounded like they were coming from the west side of the Texas School Book Depository. The president's car had gotten out of Mr. Williams' view when he heard the shots." (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H683) “On November 22, 1963, at the time the Presidential motorcade passed the Texas School Book Depository, I was standing on the top step against the railing on the east side of the steps in front of the building. I do not recall who was standing at either side of me, but I do know that Mrs. Robert E. Saunders, also an employee of the Texas School Book Depository, viewed the motorcade. Just after the presidential car passed the building and went out of sight over the Elm Street embankment I heard three loud blasts. I thought these blasts or shots came from the direction of the viaduct which crosses Elm Street. I did not then know that President Kennedy had been shot. I remained momentarily on the steps and then returned inside the building.” (No More Silence p.116-120, published 1998) “when the motorcade came around the corner and then made that bend to get to the underpass, I had a clear view as it passed by of the President and all in the car, and then it went behind a little wall going toward the underpass. Probably five or ten seconds later is when I first thought I heard the shots. The first one I assumed someone threw a firecracker… It was about five or ten seconds before he was hit when he went out of my sight. I definitely heard three shots. Fact is, as soon as the third shot happened, and everybody commenced milling around, I thought it came from the underpass.” Analysis: even though Williams’ location for the shots appears to have changed (perhaps the FBI simply screwed up in their 11-24 report) he was consistent all along that the limousine had been out of his view for a number of seconds before the first shot was fired. This indicates the first shot rang out after frame 160. First shot 190-224.
Joe Molina (11-23-63 report of the Dallas Police Department, box 3 folder 19 file 15 of the Dallas JFK Archive) "He states that he heard three shots; he did not know where they came from." (3-25-64 statement to the FBI, 22H664) “the car in which President Kennedy was riding passed the building…Just after his car disappeared from my view I heard three shots.” (4-7-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H368-373) "I was standing on the front steps...Right next left of me was Mr. Williams and close to there was Mrs. Sanders." (When asked what happened after the car passed) "I heard the shots…Sort of like it reverberated… kind of came from the west side…Of course, the first shot was fired then there was an interval between the first and second longer than the second and third.” Analysis: the familiar scenario. First shot hit 190-224. Last two shots bunched together.
Roy Lewis (12-9-63
FBI report, CD205, p23) “viewed the Presidential motorcade and heard the shots…but
could offer no information as to where the shots had come from.” (2-18-64
report of the Dallas Police Department, CD950, p.54) "Subject stated
that he was in the entrance of the building when the president was
statement to the FBI, 22H661) “On November 22, 1963, at approximately 12:25 PM, I stood by myself on the inside of the entrance
to the Texas School Book Depository to watch President John F. Kennedy come by
the building in a motorcade. I heard three shots fired from somewhere above me,
but was unable to see the person who fired them. I was acquainted with Lee Harvey Oswald, but he was not with me at the time I heard the shots. “ (No More Silence, p.84-89,
published 1998) “I was standing with
some ladies from up in the offices right in the middle of the steps in front of
the building that led to the sidewalk beyond the glass door. As the motorcade
came by, I remember seeing Kennedy brushing back his hair. That’s when all hell broke loose! I heard BOOM!... BOOM!... BOOM! with the second
and third shots being closer together. The people down in front of me hit the ground then everybody started
running toward the grassy knoll… I didn’t see any smoke or smell any gunpowder,
nor could I tell the direction of the shots because it was like an echo
there. But no way did I suspect anything
coming from the Texas School Book Depository.” Analysis: Lewis’ recent
recollection differs quite a bit from what he told the FBI. Perhaps he was
trying to keep the names of the women on the front steps out of his
statement. As Kennedy brushed back his
hair around Z-140, it’s possible Lewis is describing the LPM scenario. Still, since he says the last two shots were
grouped together, it seems likely a few seconds passed before the first shot. Probable first shot hit 190-224. Last two shots probably bunched
In the Building
If the LPM scenario is to be accepted then certainly the majority of those closest to the shooting, some only a few feet from the sniper’s nest, would have heard the shots as laid out by Lattimer, Posner, and Myers, with a five second gap between the second and third shots…
Troy West (12-7-63 Secret Service Report based on interviews conducted between 12-2 and 12-5, CD87 p785) "at the time of the president's assassination, he was just starting to eat his lunch on the first floor of the building near where he normally works. He heard the shots fired and stated that before he could leave the building, many people came in, including many police officers." (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H679) "When President John F. Kennedy was shot I was on the first floor making coffee for the employees. I was alone at the time and did not know at the time that President Kennedy had been shot. I was walking toward the front of the building when people rushed in the building and told me that someone had shot President Kennedy." (4-8-64 testimony before the Warren Commission 6H356) "I had started to eat my lunch. But before I got through, well all of this was, I mean the police and things was coming in, and I was just spellbound. I just didn't know what was the matter...(When asked if he heard the shots) "I didn't hear a one. Didn't hear a one." Analysis: first he hears 'em then he don't. What's that about? Too vague.
Eddie Piper (11-23-63 statement to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, 19H499) “I went to a front window on the first floor…I saw the President pass and heard some shots…The shots seemed to me like they came from up inside the building.” (12-20-63 FBI report, CD206 p13) "While looking out the window, he heard what he believed to be three shots and saw people running, and later determined the President had been shot. He did not view the Presidential motorcade itself inasmuch as the crowd was in his line of sight, and did not see Lee Harvey Oswald after the shots were fired." (2-17-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, CD950, p45) "Subject gave the following information..."During the presidential parade, I was standing by a window on the lower floor at the front of the building watching the cars pass when I heard this shot. It shook the window and I moved away from the window and looked at the clock. It was exactly 12:25 P.M. Some more shots were fired. I distinctly heard three shots in all. Some one said they were coming from the railroad tracks, I said no they are coming from the top of the building." (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H668) “When President John F. Kennedy was shot, I was sitting on a box on the first floor of the Texas School Book Depository watching the parade from the window. I could not see the president’s car from where I was sitting but I heard three shots ring out and saw people looking up at the building. It seemed to me the shots came from inside the Texas School Book Depository.” (4-8-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H380) (When asked which window he was looking out) “it’s the second window from the corner…I couldn’t see anything--too many people…I heard one shot, and then the next shot went off, and I got up and went on back, back where they make coffee at the end of the counter where I could see what happened and before I could get there, the third shot went off, and I seen the people all running.” (When asked if he could tell where the shots came from) “No, sir, not for sure.” Analysis: Piper's telling the DPD that he looked at the clock after the first shot suggests there was a larger gap between this shot and the second than between the second and the third, but is a little too vague.
Geneva Hine was manning the phones in the second floor offices of the Texas School Book Depository, on the east side of the building, facing Houston Street. (11-23-63 FBI report, CD5 p369-370) "Mrs. Hine advised that sometime between 12:25 PM and 12:35 PM she was alone in her office on the second floor of the company building...At approximately that time she heard what she described as three shots. She heard these very distinctly and believes they came from somewhere inside the building, inasmuch as it sounded to her that the shots originated above and to the west of her." (11-23-63 report of the Dallas Police Department, box 1 folder 8 file 52 of the Dallas JFK Archives) "Was in the office alone the day of the shooting heard three shots and did not know what happened until the Police came in the office and told the president had been shot." (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H651) "At the time President Kennedy was shot I was on the second floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building. I was alone at the time. I did not see Lee Harvey Oswald at the time President Kennedy was shot." (4-7-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H393-397) “I could see it from the east window of our office…I saw the President's car coming and I saw the President and saw him waving his hand in greeting up in the air and I saw his wife and I saw him turn the corner and after he turned the corner I looked and I saw the next car coming. Just at the instant I saw the next car coming up was when I heard the shots…Three…they came from inside the building…the building vibrated from the result of the explosion coming in...they sounded almost like cannon shots they were so terrific." (When asked if she was standing at the window at the time of the shots) "Yes, sir; that is when I was at the window, because the next car, you see, was coming up and turning and I looked. Of course I looked when I heard the shots. I just stood there and saw people running to the east up Elm Street. I saw people running; I saw people falling down, you know, lying down on the sidewalk.” Analysis: Ms. Hine’s testimony, if taken literally, would indicate the first shot missed somewhere back before the beginning of the Zapruder film sequence of the motorcade on Elm, at a time when Tina Towner was still filming the Presidential limo's turn onto Elm. Perhaps, by the “next car”, then, she simply meant that the next car holding a politician was coming up to the corner when the first shot was fired. This would be the Lincoln holding Vice-President Johnson. If so, then her words are more compatible with the LPM scenario than with a first shot 190 scenario. Her statement that "Of course, I looked when I heard the shots" and her description of people falling down at this point--when this did not happen until after the head shot--suggests, moreover, that she was not paying much attention at the time of the first shot. The reliability of her statements is weakened, furthermore, by the fact she never mentioned looking out the window until 4 1/2 months after the shooting. Possible LPM scenario.
Mrs. Carol Hughes (3-20-64 statement to the FBI, 22H654) “I am employed by the South-Western Publishing Company, Room 203, Texas School Book Depository...On November 22, 1963, I went to south window near my desk which overlooks Elm Street to watch the Presidential motorcade pass along Houston and Elm Streets. I was standing looking out this window when President John F. Kennedy was shot. I was alone in the office as all the other people had gone to the street to watch the motorcade pass. I did not see Lee Harvey Oswald at that time. I do not know Oswald but I had seen him in the building several times prior to this day.” Analysis: too vague.
Steven Wilson was in Allyn & Bacon's main office on the third floor at the time of the shooting. (1-9-64 FBI report, based upon a 12-30-63 interview, CD329 p.27) “Due to a large tree being in the way he could not view the entire procession, but as his view became obstructed, he heard three distinct shots which he thought came from a rifle.” (3-25-64 statement to the FBI, 22H684) “the fatal shots at the President were fired from a storage area which is three floors directly above my private office…I left my private office and went in my company’s main office…From my position, I watched the motorcade as it approached, moving north on Houston Street, and turned west on Elm street…As the motorcade proceeded, my view of President Kennedy and his car and the other occupants, became obscured by some trees which are on Elm Street. In a matter of ten seconds or less after the President’s car and occupants were obscured from view by the trees, I heard three shots…It is my opinion there was a greater space of time between the second and third shots than between the first and second. The three shots were fired within a matter of less than five seconds…At that time it seemed the shots came from the west end of the building or from the colonnade located on Elm Street across from the west end of our building…at the time the President’s car and its occupants went out of my view, being obscured by the trees, as mentioned above, the car was not as far as 100 yards from me.” Analysis: since the shots occurred “In a matter of ten seconds or less” after the limousine disappeared and the shots themselves were fired within a five second span,Wilson implies the shots began several seconds after the limo disappeared behind the tree. It did so around 160. Possible LPM scenario. Probable first shot 190.
Doris Burns worked for the MacMillan Co. on the west side of the third floor of the Depository Building. (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, box 3 folder 19, file 2 of Dallas JFK Archive) "Miss Burns had the radio on and heard the motorcade was close to her location. She walked to Mr. Wilson's office on the third floor facing Elm Street. The window was open and she heard the last shot before she got to the window." (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H637) “at the time President John F. Kennedy was assassinated I was walking from my office…While walking I heard one loud noise which sounded like a shot.” (4-7-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H397-399) “I went around to American Book Co., which is the office closest to us that had a window looking out on Elm. There was nobody in there, so then I started down the hail to Allyn and Bacon. As I went down this hall towards the windows that looked out on Houston Street, I heard a shot, but I didn't think much about it. I didn't, of course, know it was a shot because when you hear tires backfire and all, they all sound alike to me, so I didn't think a thing about that… It must have been the last one because I didn't hear any more…it just sounded as though it was back of me. You see, I was going towards Houston Street. I was facing east and it sounded to me as it came toward my back.” Analysis: Miss Burns’ statements support that the final loud noise came from west of the building. Too vague.
Sandra Sue Elerson (11-25-63 FBI report, CD5, p. 433) "On November 22, 1963, she was assigned for work by the Kelly Girl service at the MacMillan Company in the Texas School Book Depository Building...When the President's motorcade passed the Texas School Book Depository building, Mrs. Elerson stated that she was looking out the third floor window on the south side of the building. She saw the President turn the corner at Elm. She failed to hear any shots fired." (2-18-64 report by the Dallas Police Criminal Intelligence Section on Sandra Sue Kramer AKA Sandra Sue Ellison) "Subject stated that she was on the third floor of the Texas School Book Depository standing at the north window at the time President Kennedy was shot. She stated that she heard the noise but did not realize it was shooting until she was told." (3-23-64 statement to the FBI, CD706, p. 29) "When President Kennedy's motorcade passed the Texas School Book Depository building, I was looking out the third floor window trying to get a view of the President's car. I am nearsighted and I am not sure if I saw the President's car. However, I did see a car turn down Elm Street from Houston Street that may have been the President's car. I was standing at the window with an elderly woman from the MacMillan Company office. I cannot recall her name. I did not hear any shots or any loud sounds that sounded like rifle fire...I learned that President Kennedy had been shot after I returned to my desk." Analysis: too vague.
Mrs. Edna Case (11-24-63 FBI report, CD5, p. 431) "At the time the President's motorcade passed, she advised she was on the third floor of the building at her desk. She stated that she was looking out the west side of the building and not the front. She said she had not heard the shots." (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, CD950, p.51) "The subject stated that on November 22, 1963 she was in the offices of the MacMillan Publishing Company on the third floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building at the time the Presidential motorcade was passing the building. She stated that she had only heard of the shooting after it had occurred. She stated that she did not know Lee Harvey Oswald and that, as far as he knew, she had never seen him around the building." (3-20-64 statement to the FBI, CD706, p.111) "On November 22, 1963, at the time the motorcade was passing the Texas School Book Depository Building and President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, I was at my desk on the third floor looking out the window located on the west side of the building. I did not hear any shots and the only person in the same area with me was Mrs. Sandra Elerson, who was a temporary employee with the Kelly Girls organization." Analysis: nothing to go on. Too vague.
The next 8 witnesses were employees of Scott, Foresman, and Company, and viewed the motorcade from its fourth floor offices on the south side of the depository building, facing Elm.
Ruth Smith Nelson (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, box folder 19 file 16 of the Dallas JFK Archive) "she went to the fourth window from the east side of the building facing Elm Street. She stood up and watched the motorcade. She heard the three loud reports and thought they were part of the celebration." (3-23-64 statement to the FBI, 22H665) “at the time President John F. Kennedy was assassinated I was viewing the motorcade from the fourth window on the east side on the fourth floor along with Mrs. Yola Hopson…I did not see Lee Harvey Oswald at this time and have not to my knowledge ever seen Lee Harvey Oswald.” Analysis: too vague.
Mrs. Yola Hopson (12-4-63 FBI report, 24H521) “she was looking out a window on the south side of the fourth floor of the TSBD Building when the motorcade of President John F. Kennedy passed in front of the building…Immediately after he passed, she heard two or more loud shots which she thought were firecrackers. She stated that she thought they had been set off on the street below…at the time she heard these shots she could not see the presidential car since there were some trees along the edge of the street which blocked her view…She stated that it did not sound to her like the shots were coming from her building…she does not know Lee Harvey Oswald and does not recall ever having seen him.” (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H653) “I heard an unrecalled number of loud noises which I thought sounded like firecrackers. I could not view the position of President John F. Kennedy due to the trees in front of the building.” Analysis: too vague.Dorothy Ann Garner (3-20-64 statement to the FBI, 22H648) (I) "was watching the Presidential motorcade through a window…the fifth window from the east end of the (Texas School Book Depository) building. I recall that Mrs. Elsie Dorman was sitting next to me at that time looking out the sixth window and that Victoria Adams and Sandra Styles were both standing next to Mrs. Dorman… I recall that moments following the passing of the Presidential car I heard three loud reports which I first thought to be fireworks but only seconds later realized something had happened on the street below although at the time of the shots, the Presidential car was out of view behind a tree. I thought at the time the shots or reports came from a point to the west of the building…I do not recall ever having seen Lee Harvey Oswald at any time prior to the assassination.” (6-2-64 letter from U.S. Attorney Barefoot Sanders to Warren Commission General Counsel J. Lee Rankin, as first discussed in The Girl on the Stairs, 2011) "Mr. Bellin was questioning Miss Adams about whether or not she saw anyone as she was running down the stairs. Miss Garner, Miss Adams' supervisor, stated this morning that after Miss Adams went downstairs she (Miss Garner) saw Mr. Truly and the policeman come up." Analysis: yet another employee of the school book depository who had no recollection of Oswald whatsoever and who would therefore have had no idea what a stranger in the building would look like. Garner's importance comes mainly from her statement to Sanders, where she said she saw Truly come up the stairs after Adams and Styles went down. This shot a hole in the commission's conclusion Oswald raced down the stairs just after the shots, for how could Oswald be on the second floor as Truly came up, if he hadn't raced down beforehand, and how, if he'd raced down beforehand, could Adams and Styles have failed to hear him? Too vague.
Elsie Dorman (11-24-63 FBI report, CD5 p.34) “She stated that she had never seen Lee Harvey Oswald in the building and failed to recognize his photographs when shown on television. When the President’s motorcade passed, Mrs. Dorman advised she was looking out the window on the fourth floor…It was at this time she heard sounds which sounded like shots. She felt that these shots were coming from the area of the Records Building.” (3-20-64 statement to the FBI, 22H644) “I was using my husband’s camera and was not too familiar with its operation. As the motorcade turned onto Houston Street from Main Street, I started taking photographs…as the motorcade turned from Houston Street on to Elm Street I became excited and did not get any more photographs. I was at this window attempting to photograph the motorcade when I heard a noise like gunshots…I do not know Lee Harvey Oswald and have no recollection of having seen him.” Analysis: Dorman’s film is one of the least understood or analyzed pieces of evidence surrounding the assassination. While there is a blur on the film a second or so after Rosemary Willis runs by the fountain, which could have come as a result of a shot at frame 160, Mrs. Dorman stopped filming at this time, raising the possibility the blur was caused by her stopping the film. Even so, as her film shows camera car #3 and H.B. McLain approaching Elm Street 10 seconds after we last see Miss Willis, Mrs. Dorman’s film is invaluable in debunking the dictabelt evidence. Too vague.
Victoria Adams (11-24-63 FBI report, CD5 p.39) “as the car…was passing, she heard three loud reports which she first thought to be fire crackers…and she believed the sound came from toward the right of the building…After the third shot she observed the car containing President Kennedy to speed up and rush away. She had not been able to fully observe the President at the exact moment he was shot, inasmuch as her view was partially obstructed. She and her friend then ran immediately to the back of the building to where the stairs are located and ran down the stairs. No one else was observed on the stairs at this time.” (2-17-64 statement to the Dallas Police Department, box 3 folder 19 file 3 of the Dallas JFK Archive) "When the President got in front of us I heard someone call him and he turned. That is when I heard the first shot. I thought it was a firecracker. Then the second shot I saw the Secret Service man run to the back of the President's car. After the third shot I went out the back door." (3-23-64 statement to the FBI, 22H632) “I recall that at about 12:30 PM, just after the car carrying President Kennedy had passed on the street below, I heard three loud reports which I first thought were firecrackers…After the third shot I observed the car carrying President Kennedy speed away.” (4-9-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H386-393) “I watched the motorcade... proceed around the corner on Elm, and apparently somebody in the crowd called to the late President, because he and his wife both turned abruptly and faced the building… from our vantage point we were able to see what the President’s wife was wearing, the roses in the car…Then we heard—then we were obstructed from the view…A tree. And we heard a shot, and it was a pause, and then a second shot, and then a third shot. It sounded like a firecracker or a cannon at a football game, it seemed as if it came from the right below rather than from the left above. Possibly because of the report. And after the third shot, following that, the third shot, I went to the back of the building down the back stairs, and encountered Bill Shelley and Bill Lovelady on the first floor on the way out to the Houston Street dock.” (When asked if she'd walked or ran to the back stairs) "I was running. We were running." (When asked if she saw anyone from when the shots were fired until she reached the ground floor) "Outside of our office employees; no." (2-2-02 interview with Barry Ernest recounted in The Girl On The Stairs, published 2011) "As they rounded the corner, they turned toward our building, waving and smiling. The car continued moving slowly and a tree obstructed my view. That is when I heard what I thought was a firecracker go off. As the car came back into view I saw that something was wrong and watched as Mrs. Kennedy appeared to be trying to climb out of the car." Analysis: Adams’ testimony that she saw Kennedy suddenly turn to his right before the first shot confirms Mary Woodward’s account and that the first shot rung out around frame 190. Her mentioning a pause after the first shot, but not between the second and third suggests the last two were bunched together. She is, of course, most famous for her claim she raced down the stairs after the shots, but failed to see, or hear, Oswald. First shot 190. Last two shots bunched together.
Sandra K. Styles (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H676) “On November 22, 1963, I was in my office at a window facing Elm Street watching the Presidential motorcade at the time President Kennedy was shot. Also present at this window with me were Dorothy Garner, Elsie Dorman, and Victoria Adams...I never knew Lee Harvey Oswald, not even by sight as an employee at the building…I heard shots but thought at the time that they were fireworks. I was unaware of the place the shots came from. I saw people running and others lie down on the ground and realized something was happening but did not know exactly what was happening. Victoria Adams and I left the office at this time, went down the back stairs, and left the building at the back door.” (Appearance in the Travel Channel program America Declassified: JFK Exclusive Access, 11-3-13) "The motorcade turned left onto Elm Street, and as it got just past the turn we heard the three shots. The presidential car stopped. We could see Mrs. Kennedy's hot pink suit moving around and that was about all that we could see. My co-worker Vickie Adams said let's go down and see what's happening. While I was in the stairwell we did not see Lee Harvey Oswald at all." (Alternate edit of interview available on the website of the Travel Channel to accompany program first broadcast on 11-3-13) "The motorcade turned right off of Main onto Houston, and then left onto Elm Street from Houston. Houston at that time dead-ended into Elm Street. And then they turned left onto Elm Street. And as it got just past the turn we heard the three shots coming from we didn't know where. So we went down the stairs to the second floor, out the back door, and around the west side of the building around to the front where we encountered a motorcycle policeman who asked us where we came from and we told him the fourth floor. And he said go back the way you came. So we immediately went back up the stairs, and back to our office. Except for my co-workers I did not see or hear anyone else on the stairwell that day. I did not see Lee Harvey Oswald at all or hear any sound to indicate that there was anyone on the stairwell. He could have been behind us. He could have been ahead of us. I have no idea." Analysis: no recollection of Oswald. The Warren Commission's failure to pursue Styles to see if she supported Adams' story represents one of its greatest failures. Heard three shots. Too vague.Mary Ann Hollies, was on the fourth floor at the time of the shooting, apparently looking out a west end window--its not clear which window--with Betty Foster. (11-23-63 interview of Mrs. Avery Davis by FBI agent Nat Pinkston recounted in an 11-29-63 memo found in the Dallas FBI files at the Weisberg Archives) "She stated that Mary Hollis with whom she is employed, told her that she was watching the president go by from the fourth floor office windows and immediately after the shots were fired, she thought she heard footsteps running across the floor directly above her; however, she did not see anyone fire any shots or anyone with a gun in his possession." (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, box 3, folder 19, file 11 of the Dallas JFK Archive) "At about 12:35 PM, Miss Hollies heard three shots, just as the President's car was headed down toward the triple underpass. She stated the shots sounded as if they were coming from inside the building." (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H652) "On November 22, 1963…I was standing at the window of the Scott-Foresman offices overlooking Elm Street…As the motorcade passed by I heard three shots and observed the President slump over in the automobile in which he was riding." Analysis: she doesn’t tell us anything about when this slump occurred in relation to the shots. Too vague.
Betty Foster (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, CD706, p. 31) "When President John F. Kennedy was shot I was standing in the stockroom on the fourth floor watching the motorcade. I was with Mary Hollies...I heard something that sounded like fireworks after the President's car turned down Elm Street but I wasn't sure what it was. I did not know what had happened." Analysis: too vague.
Jack Dougherty is a bit of a puzzle. He claimed to have been on the sixth floor just before the shooting, and the fifth floor at the time of the shooting, and yet saw no one on the sixth floor, and heard no one running across the fifth floor or down the stairs after hearing a shot. The three men known to have been on the fifth floor, even more curious, failed to note Dougherty's presence on the fifth floor when they ran to the west side of the building after the shooting. It seems possible, then, that the purportedly simple-minded--and easily confused--Dougherty was not really where he said he was. (11-22-63 Affidavit to Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, 24H206) “I am employed at the Texas School Book Depository at 411 Elm and have been since 1952. I was working on the sixth floor today. There was six of us working on the floor. The others were Bill Lovelady, William Shelby, Danny Arce, Bonnie Williams, and Charles Givens. I went back to work at 12:45 p.m. I had already gone back to work and I gone down on the fifth to get some stock when I heard a shot. It sounded like it was coming from inside the building, but I couldn't tell from where. I went down on the first floor, and asked a man named Eddie Piper if he had heard anything and he said yes, that he had heard three shots. I then went back on the sixth floor. I didn't see anyone on the floor except the people I named. There was another employee that is named Lee Oswald that I saw on the sixth floor. He works all over the building, but I saw him on the sixth floor shortly before noon. I didn't see Oswald in the building after lunch.” (11-22-63 statement to the FBI, 19H621) “I was working on the fifth floor of the building at 411 Elm Street at about 12:45 PM or 1:00 PM when I heard a loud explosion which sounded like a rifle shot coming from the next floor above me. I did not see anyone running from the building and did not see anyone fire the shot which I heard.” (12-19-63 FBI report, CD 206, p.11) “Dougherty stated that he saw Lee Harvey Oswald, who had been working there just a few weeks, at approximately 8:00 AM, when he, Oswald, arrived. He stated that he saw Oswald again at approximately 11:00 AM on the 6th floor but did not see him again after that. Dougherty stated that just prior to 12:00 PM he and five other men were working on the 6th floor...Dougherty stated that he worked on the 6th floor until 12:00 PM at which time he went to the 1st floor to eat his lunch. He said he went back to work at approximately 12:45 PM, at which time he returned to the 6th floor. He stated that as soon as he arrived on the 6th floor, he went down to the 5th floor to get some stock…it was while he was on the 5th floor that he heard a loud noise. He said that it appeared to have come from within the building but could not tell where. He said that he went down to the 1st floor and saw a man, Eddie Piper, and asked if he had heard a loud noise.” (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H645) "At the time President Kennedy was shot I was at a point about 10 feet from the elevator on the fifth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building. I was alone at the time." (4-8-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H373-382) “Well, when I got through getting stock off of the sixth floor, I came back down to the fifth floor…Well, then immediately I heard a loud noise---it sounded like a car backfiring, and I came back down to the first floor, and I asked Eddie Piper, I said, "Piper, what was that?" I says, "Has the President been shot?'. He said, "Yes…"(When asked if he’d previously told the FBI the sound was of a rifle shot) “Well, I believe I told them it sounded like a car backfiring.” (When asked if he’d said it was from the floor above him) “No.” (When asked if it did sound like it came from the floor above him) “Well, at the time it did---yes.” (When asked where he was when he heard this sound) “Well, I was about 10 feet from the west elevator---the west side of the elevator…I was getting some stock.” Analysis: heard but one shot? Too vague.
Since there has been virtually no support for the LPM scenario so far, one might assume that the closest witnesses, those in the windows just below the sniper’s nest, would offer some support that the first shot missed, or that there was a five second gap between the second and third shots. Wrong.
Bonnie Ray Williams (11-22-63 affidavit to Dallas County, 24H229) “Just after we got on the fifth floor we saw the President coming around the corner on Houston from Main Street. I heard 2 shots it sounded like they come from just above us. We ran to the west side of the building.” (11-23-63 FBI report, CD5 p330-333) “Then he joined two other men known to him as Hank and Junior. They were looking out windows on the south side of the building approximately at the middle of the building and saw the car of President John Kennedy come north on Houston Street and then make a turn going west on Elm Street down into the triple underpass directly in front of the Texas School Book Depository. While they were watching this car pass, Williams heard two shots which sounded like they came from right over his head…He stated he and the other two men ran to the west end of the building where they looked out and they did not realize the President had been shot.” (12-7-63 Secret Service Report based on interviews conducted between 12-2 and 12-5, CD87 p784) " he can recall having heard only two shots. He felt that the shots came from the sixth floor but he did not hear the shells fall to the floor nor did he hear the bolt action of the rifle." (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H681) "As the presidential motorcade passed by the building on Elm Street below I heard three shots which sounded like they came from directly above me. At first I thought the noises I heard were firecrackers. I looked up when little pieces of cement hit me on the head, but saw no one. I did not know that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. When I saw all of the confusion on the street below I ran to the west end of the building to get a better view. Hank and Junior who were on the floor with me also ran to the west end of the building."
(3-24-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 3H161-184) “After the President’s car the last thing I remember seeing him do, you know—it seemed to me he had a habit of pushing his hair back. The last thing I saw him do was he pushed his hand up like this. I assumed he was brushing his hair back. And then the thing that happened then was a a loud shot—first I thought they were saluting the President, somebody even maybe a motorcycle backfire. The first shot—there was two shots rather close together. The second and the third shot was closer together than the first shot and the second shot, as I remember…the first shot—I really did not pay much attention to it, because I did not know what was happening. The second shot it sounded like it was right in the building, the second and third shot. And it sounded—it even shook the building…Harold was sitting next to me...He said it came directly over our heads...I can even hear the shell being ejected from the gun hitting the floor...I heard three shots, but at first I told the FBI I only heard two--they took me down--because I was excited, and I couldn't remember too well. But later on, as everything began to die down, I got my memory even a little better than on the 22nd. I remembered three shots, because there was a pause between the first two shots. There was two real quick. There was three shots.” (Interview with CBS, broadcast 9-27-64) "The last thing I saw the President do was push his hair back, and the only comments made about the President were that his tan was beautiful, and also that his health was looking good that day." (On what happened after people started falling on the ground) "So we said, “Well, somebody’s shooting at the President.” And then—at first we didn’t believe it, because it just seemed so untrue, you know—and then the other fellow, Harold Norman, said, “Yes, I believe he’s been shot at.” (Interview with CBS broadcast on 6-25-67, additional portions broadcast in 1992) “When the President came around, we remember seeing him standing up and waving. And then when he turned to go down Elm Street we heard a shot and we saw the President slump. And then after we saw him slump, we said--I think one guy, I don't remember which one it was-- said "I believe they're shooting at the President and I believe it came from right up over us."...Prior to that we’d decided they were firecrackers and everything, y'now.” (When asked how many shots) “I heard three. The first and the second were further apart than the second and the third. In other words there was a bang and a bang-bang.” Analysis: as Williams initially mentioned but two shots, it seems obvious he only recalled hearing two clear shots. After being told by everyone there were three shots, and given time to analyze how the shots sounded, however, he switched to saying the last two shots were very close together (so close together that he referred to them as an "it" in his Warren Commission testimony). He said they were "bangbang". Whether he only heard two shots or whether the last shots were simply bunched together, however, doesn’t matter, as far as our analysis of the LPM scenario goes, as both suggest there was more than one shooter in Dealey Plaza. Williams was only ten feet from the sniper’s nest and yet he heard only two bursts of gunfire! His statement that the last thing he saw Kennedy do was push his hand up is probably a reference to Kennedy’s wave circa Z-190. He would have to have seen Kennedy for several seconds past Z-140, when Kennedy last brushed back his hair. Williams' original affidavit is also intriguing, as it suggests he was trying to hide that he'd been on the sixth floor. First shot hit 190-224. Last two shots bunched together.
Harold Norman (11-26-63 FBI report, CD5 p26) (On seeing Oswald earlier in the day) “He further stated he cannot recall whether he saw Oswald at the Texas School Book Depository during Friday, November 22, 1963." (On the shooting) "He stated that about the time the car in which the president was riding turned on to Elm Street, he heard a shot. He said he thought the shot had been fired from the floor directly above him. He further stated at that time he stuck his head from the window and looked upward toward the roof but could see nothing because small particles of dirt were falling from above him. He stated two additional shots were fired after he had pulled his head back in from the window.” (12-4-63 affidavit to the Secret Service, 17H208) (On seeing Oswald earlier that day) "On November 22, 1963, to the best of my memory, the last time I saw him was about 10:00AM when we were both working on the first floor of the building. I did not speak to him at that time." (On the shooting) “Just after the President passed by I heard a shot and several seconds later, I heard two more shots. I knew that the shots had come from directly above me, and I could hear the expended cartridges fall to the floor. I could also hear the bolt action of the rifle. I also saw some dust fall from the ceiling of the fifth floor and I felt sure that whoever fired the shots was directly above me. I saw all of the people down on the street run toward the west side of the building, so I went to that side with Williams and Jarman.” (12-7-63 Secret Service Report based on interviews conducted between 12-2 and 12-5, CD87 p783) "Just after the President passed their position, Norman heard a shot fired and several seconds later, he heard two more shots spaced closely together. Norman claims that he knew immediately that the shots had come from directly above his position, since he heard the bolt action of the rifle and he also heard the expended shells fall to the floor. Norman also claims that some dust fell from the ceiling of the fifth floor which convinced him that there was some type of activity taking place directly above him." (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H666) “I was with James Jarman and Bonnie Ray Williams watching the motorcade bearing President John F. Kennedy pass the Texas School Book Depository Building when I heard three shots fired from, I believe, the floor directly above me.” (3-24-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 3H186-198) (On seeing Oswald earlier that day) (I saw him) "around about 10 or 10:15, somewhere in the neighborhood of that...Over in the bins by the windows, I mean looking out, you know, at Elm Street, towards Elm Street...(On) The first (floor)...I was looking out the window. He happened to come by to fill orders." (When asked if he said anything to Oswald and if Oswald had said anything to him) "No, he didn't...No" (On who else was out front when he and Jarman went outside) "Well, I believe Billy Lovelady, I think. He was sitting on the steps there." (On the shooting) “About the time that he got past the window where I was, well, it seems as though he was, I mean you know, brushing his hair. Maybe he was looking at the public…I can’t remember what the exact time was but I know I heard a shot, and then after I heard a shot, well, it seems as though the President, you know, slumped or something, and then another shot and I believe Jarman or someone told me, he said “I believe someone is shooting at the President,” and I think I made a statement “it is someone shooting at the President, and I believe it came from up above us. Well, I couldn’t see at all during the time but I know I heard a third shot fired, and I could also hear something sounded like the shell hulls hitting the floor and the ejecting of the rifle.” (When asked if he saw any dirt or dust falling) "I didn't see any falling but I saw some in Bonnie Ray Williams hair...I believe Jarman told him that it was in his hair first. Then I, you know, told him it was and I believe Jarman told him not to brush it out his hair but I think he did anyway." (When asked what happened after that) "Well, we ran to the farthest window facing the expressway."
(Interview with CBS aired 9-27-64) “Then the motorcade got to Elm and it turned and it started towards the triple underpass. The President, he was waving at people as he went by and occasionally he would brush his hair back." (Later in the same broadcast) “When I heard the second shot that’s when I saw the people start falling on the ground." (Later in the same broadcast) "But before the third shot was fired I told the guys that, you know, I believed the shot came from the building above us. And eventually, I guess, they agreed with me, because one of the guys said “I believe you’re right.” And I said “I know I’m right” because I could hear something sound as though the shells were hitting the floor and I could hear the ejection of the rifle, clicks like that, you know.” (Later in the same broadcast) “Well, I was looking out the window and the first shot was fired. Well, y'know, I didn't think much of it, because it, shook the building a little bit. Really, it was just that powerful. Then after the second shot was fired, well, I saw the people. They were all falling on the ground. And I told one of the fellows. I say, “That shot came from this building.” And then by that time I heard the third shot. And one of the guys told me, he said, “I believe you’re right.” And I say “I know it did." And then I could, you know, also hear the hulls, empty hulls, the cartridges, hitting the floor, and I could hear the ejection of the rifle, whatever it was. And the first thing we thought is we better get down from here because I know I didn’t want to be involved in anything like that because I didn't have anything like that on my mind…” (Late 1966 interview with Lawrence Schiller recounted in The Scavengers and the Critics of the Warren Report, published 1967) "When the President came around, he was waving, seemed to be happy. About that time I heard a shot, and one of the guys said "Somebody's shooting at the President." And I said : "Well, he sure is, because I know that's a shot." And another shot was fired. Then another shot. I saw the President slump over and the Secret Service men and the policemen, they seemed to not recognize where the shots came from. There was a passenger train over by the railroad track and everybody was running that way. That's where they thought the shots came from at first. But I knew it was someone, the shots came from above us. I didn't know who it was or where but I know they were above us because I could even hear the cartridges hitting the floor and I knew the shots came from above...They were right over me. I was sitting almost directly under the window that the shots came from and I could hear them very plainly...One of the guys, some of the debris had dropped one one of the fellows' head, in his hair, and he mentioned it to the other fellow and we looked and there it was, in his hair." (Interview with CBS broadcast 6-25-67, additional portions broadcast in 1992) (On seeing Oswald earlier that day) "On that particular morning there were three or four of us standing by the window, and Oswald came over and said, "what's everybody looking at, what's everybody excited about?" And so I - we told him we was waiting on the President. So he just snudged up and walked away." (On the shooting) "And then I think about that time, Jarman says "Somebody's shooting at the President." And I told Jarman, I said "I know it is" because I could hear it being above me and I could hear the shots and everything. And I could even now hear the empty cartridge hit the floor I mean after the shots had been fired. And so, after the shots were fired, well all the officers and everyone else seemed to think it came from down the track down by the underpass cause that's where everyone ran over thatta way. But just like I've said, I've been hunting enough to know the sound of a rifle from a backfire or a firecracker, especially this close to me." (When asked how many shots he heard) “Three. I’d say just about like this BOOM…click click…BOOM…click clickBOOM. Something similar to that.”
(10-20-77 HSCA interview) (On seeing Oswald earlier in the day) "Well a few more friends of mine, we were over by the window, main entrance coming into the building, and we were looking out and he came over and made the statement to us and asked what was everybody excited about because the president was coming to town." (On Oswald's behavior after making out that the president's visit was nothing to get excited about) "he left, and I never did pay him much, no attention." (When asked a bit later if he saw Oswald come in to work) "No...There's one thing I do recall now was when he ask us what was everybody so excited about the president coming to town. Then when he turn around to leave, you know how a kid would do when he's playing cowboys and Indians?...He did like this: 'pow.'" (When asked if he meant that Oswald behaved as if he were a "cowboy firing two guns') "Yes." (On the shooting) "just as the motorcade came around...3 shots was fired...Boom, clack-clack, boom, clack-clack, boom. One at a time. I see the President fall back and do high hand." (When asked if that was in response to the first shot) "No, I didn't think it was the first shot. I can't recall. (When asked if he saw the president react to the first shot) "No, I didn't because I really didn't know who was shooting--who somebody was shooting at. I mean, I heard the shots, but not thinking that, you know, that that was what was happening--that the president had been hit." (When asked from where he thought the shots were being fired) "From right up above me, up on the fifth floor. And I knew the shots had to be on the 6th floor, you know, on top of the roof." (When asked if heard any cartridges fall) "I heard three." (When asked if Jarman had pointed out any debris in his hair) "Yes...I didn't feel it. It was just something that must have been lightly--debris. It wasn't nothing, you know, that I really could feel...I feel like it was coming from either somebody moving around or something that had to cause the debris to fall down in my hair like that." (When asked again from where he thought the shots were being fired) "Well, I myself, I knew all the time that they came from above, why you could just hear it, I mean, you know, you know somebody's up there..." (On the comments of Jarman and Williams, after they ran to the west side) "Well, at one time somebody made a statement that someone was shooting at the president or they thought someone was shooting at the president. And I think I made the statement 'Yes, I know somebody is shooting at him.'" (When asked if he saw the president hit) "Well, I feel like that he had been hit. I mean I feel like this because I only--he went back in some type of way, he did his hand or something, I don't know if he was falling or reaching for it or what, but I felt like that he had been hit there." (11-09-83 AP article found in the Indiana Gazette) "'I didn't see the gun barrel but I did see the debris that fell in one of my friend's hair. I could hear a gun going off above us, and the debris fell each time there was a shot," said Norman. The debris was dust and tiny pieces of concrete broken loose by the concussion of the rifle, he said. "I sure do see that scene — sometimes pretty regularly. Sometimes I'll be driving down the street and thinking about it," he said. "I can close my eyes and see President Kennedy again. One minute he's smiling and waving and then he's slumped back and wounded.'' Norman said he never believed a conspiracy was involved in the assassination, but he also never fully believed his coworker —Oswald—was the trigger man. 'I won't say he did it,' Norman said. 'I just won't.'" (7-23-86 testimony in a televised mock trial, On Trial: Lee Harvey Oswald) "Well, I heard a shot when the motorcade came by. The first shot, it made the President slump. Then I heard two more shots." (When asked if he heard a total of three shots) "Yes, sir." (When
asked how he could tell the shots came from above) "Yes, sir...Because I could hear the empty hulls--that's what I call them--hit the floor and I could hear the bolt action of the rifle being pushed back and forward." (When asked how many hulls he heard hit the floor) "Three." (When asked by the defense to describe the rhythm of the sounds) "As I recall, the rhythm of the sounds of the shots was Boom! Click, click. Boom! Click, click. Boom! Click, click." (When asked by the defense if he thought there was an armed man directly above him) "I can't say that I thought that." (When asked if he thought there was somebody up there) "I thought there was somebody up there, sir."
(Oral history interview performed for the Sixth Floor Museum, 7-31-91) (When asked if he ever talked to Oswald) "No, no more than that particular morning. James Jarman and myself we were down here on the first floor and we were filling orders and we kept going back and forth to the window ya know waiting for the motorcade to come through, cause we had planned we was gonna go up on the fifth floor and watch it, and he asked us what was everybody waiting on, looking at you know and we just told him you know we just trying to wait 'til the president come through. Prior to that that's all he said and didn't say anything else. Matter of fact I didn't see him no more that day you know until the thing went by." (When asked about the shooting) "Well as I recall as the limousine came down Houston Street and exited on Elm, I was looking down. And about (that) time anyone at the building could see the president waving to the crowds of people, and all the sudden you know you hear this noise, and then you know I kind of move right in and ya know and then heard another shot. The next time I think I might have told Jarman that I believed that somebody was shooting at the president you know, and by the time the third shot was fired well I guess they recognized, secret service man he recognized it because that‟s when they... someone jumped on the motorcade on the president‟s car and they accelerated and they speeded away going up to Stemmons, taking him to Parkland, but I guess they didn‟t recognize really where the shots came from at that particular time because they all, majority of them all ran over here on the railroad tracks over here by the trains, and then when they couldn't find anybody there then I guess they recognized this is where the shots come and then they all form in the building here." (When asked where he thought the shots had come from) "Well I initially thought they were coming from above at the beginning." (When asked why) "I could hear somebody moving around, and that‟s what made me think, and then you could hear the bolt action of the rifle when he was ejecting the shells and you could hear the empty shells in the floor. So this is what made me you know think that they came direct up above us." (When asked if, after he ran down to the other end of the floor, he had any concerns about the shooter above him) "Well no...I didn't think... I just thought perhaps it was somebody that was up there, I didn't you know didn't think about how they was gonna try, I mean they was gonna escape or anything. I just had the feeling that somebody was up there." (When asked if he'd had any thoughts about stopping the shooter) "No I didn't, I don't know if they, I didn't. It definitely..." (When asked if he heard three shots) "Yes, that‟s correct three and only three." (When asked how they were spaced) "Snap boom, snap boom, snap boom." (When asked if they were pretty well measured) "Right." (When asked if he'd heard the cartridge hit the floor each time) "Right." (1-19-92 interview with Gerald Posner, reported in Case Closed, 1993) "When the first shot came, I heard boom, then click-click, boom, click-click, boom. I could hear the sound of the click. I could hear the sound of the shells hitting the floor. I could hear everything. Three shots. No doubt in my mind." (6-13-93 Interview with PBS Frontline)
(On seeing Oswald earlier in the day) "We were looking out towards Elm Street, so he walked up and asked us,
said, "What is everybody looking for? What's everybody waiting on?" So
we told him we was waiting on the President to come by. He put his
hands in his pocket and laughed and walked away, so I don't know where
he went, or if he went upstairs or downstairs or where." (On the sound of the shots) “We was sitting on the fifth floor, directly under the sixth floor windows. The
shots came from above and there was a gun and the shots were sounding,
"Boom! Click, click. Boom! Click, click. Boom! Click, click." So
there was three shots fired right up over us when we were sitting on the fifth
floor.” (Intriguingly, the transcription of the first part of this Frontline interview, when published in Gus Russo's 1998 book Live by the Sword, had a few extra lines.) In Russo's transcription, between Norman's saying Oswald "laughed and walked away" and his saying "I don't know where he went" he says "I thought maybe he's just being happy that morning or something. He was glad the President was coming through. He acted as though he didn't know, but I kind of think he did know." (Russo's transcription of the second part of the interview, in which Norman describes the shots, was also considerably different than the interview shown on TV, and far more expansive.) "At the time of the shooting, James Jarman and myself were on the fifth floor. Somehow he (Bonnie Ray Williams) lost us. But he did come down to find us just before the motorcade came through. So he joined us and we pulled up some cartons, standing in the window waiting on the motorcade. And as the motorcade came by, we started looking and we had a good view. And all of a sudden, we hear something. 'Boom, ack, ack, boom, ack, ack, boom.' I told Jarman, 'I believe somebody's shooting at the President.' And he said, 'Yeah, that certainly sounds like it.' And then by this time we looked over and there was some debris or dirt or something fell on top of Jarman's head. And that was three of the shells I heard on the floor. And when the police officer asked about it, we told them about it and they went up there and that is what they found up there on the sixth floor. Three empty cartridge shells up there." (Article by Bill Hendricks in the San Antonio Express News, as found in the 11-20-93 Moscow-Pullman Daily News) "Norman was a 25-year old employee at the Texas School Book Depository when Kennedy was shot to death Nov 22 1963. One of his co-workers was Lee Harvey Oswald, whom police later arrested as a suspect in the killing. Now, 30 years later, Norman is unemployed, although he sells copies of JFK Today, a tabloid-sized newspaper for $3 a copy to tourists at Dealey Plaza...'I knew him,' Norman said of Oswald--but not well. The two never talked, except to exchange a brief greeting. Norman recalled seeing Oswald shortly before the president's motorcade reached Dealey Plaza. That was on the fifth floor of the depository, Norman noted, adding that he and another worker, James Jarman, were leaning out of a window with a view of Dealey Plaza. 'He walked over to us and asked what we were doing,' Norman said of Oswald. 'We said we were waiting for the president's motorcade. He laughed and walked away.' A few minutes later, Norman said, he heard three shots fired from the sixth floor window directly above the one he was using to view the parade."
Analysis: as Norman’s earliest statements indicate he heard three booms but only one or two shells ejected (Williams quoted him as saying “shell”), his words leave open the possibility that only two shots were fired from directly above him. As he testified to two shots—a first one that hit—and a second one that was apparently the last shot, and then back-tracked and said “I couldn’t see at all at the time but I know I heard a third shot fired” it certainly seems his memory of this third shot is unclear. As Bonnie Ray Williams initially left out a shot altogether, there’s reason to believe Norman barely remembered this same shot. As Norman’s earliest statements mention “two additional shots” and “two more shots,” without mention of a five second gap between them, and as the Secret Service noted that he'd said they were "spaced closely together", it certainly seems reasonable to assume he initially thought these last two shots were close together. There was so much talking going on amongst the three men on the fifth floor, however, that it’s hard to say for sure. What one can say for sure, thanks to Norman’s second CBS interview of 9-27-64, is that he agreed with Jarman that people hit the dirt after the second shot. As the Zapruder film and the statements of the eyewitnesses indicate that no one hit the dirt till after the head shot, this indicates he heard a shot after the head shot. Finally, while some use Norman's latter day statements as proof that all three shots came from above, they fail to mention that Norman said he could only tell that the shots came from above by the sound of the hulls hitting the floor, and that he didn't quantify the number of clicks of the rifle or hulls falling to the floor as three until many years after the shooting. They also fail to reveal that Norman has repeatedly changed his story. Between March and September 1964 Norman changed his story about whether it was he or Jarman who first said the shots came from above. In 1967 he changed it back, only to change it back again in the Frontline interview cited by Russo. Far stranger, Norman testified to a discussion regarding debris on Bonnie Ray Williams' head; he then told the HSCA the debris discussed was on his own head, he then told Frontline it was on James Jarman's head. Far worse, on 11-26-63 Norman denied even seeing Oswald on the 22nd, only to change his story by March 64 and testify that he saw him around 10 o'clock but did not speak to him, only to modify his story yet again and tell CBS, the HSCA, and Frontline that he not only saw him but was with a group of people that spoke to him. Even worse, he told the HSCA that Oswald had simulated a gunfight as he walked off from this group. This is something one would be unlikely to forget. So then why did he tell Frontline that Oswald had put his hands in his pockets at this time? And why did he, in his 1993 interview with Hendricks, indicate he'd spoken to Oswald on the fifth floor shortly before the shots were fired? The constant changes in Norman's story, whether simple misunderstandings or deliberate deceptions, reveal Norman to be unreliable, and thus no witness upon which to build a case.
Which could explain Frontline's editing of his interview... Unless Russo made up the transcript in his book, Norman, with this interview, not only changed his story yet again as to who first said the shots had come from above, but on whose head debris had fallen. More significantly, he changed his description of the shots between takes from "boom ack ack boom ack ack boom" to "boom click click boom click click boom click click." Having the sound end with a "click click," of course, suggests that the sniper ejected a third bullet, and re-chambered a fourth, which fits the single-assassin scenario. (If only two click-clicks were heard, it would be hard to explain how three shots could have been fired, and three bullets found on the floor). One can only wonder, then, if someone "coached" Norman to add this extra click-click back into his story between takes.
Norman's statements to Frontline are intriguing for yet another reason. As there are no edits in between Norman's lines in the first part of the televised interview, and Russo's transcription of the first part of the interview has three sentences between "walked away" and "I don't know," we can assume that either 1) Russo, who'd worked on the program, had access to an alternate take of the interview (as suggested by his widely divergent transcription of the second part of the interview), or 2) Russo invented these lines to help sell his theory that Oswald was eagerly anticipating Kennedy's arrival, so he could kill him. As the second part of the interview as published by Russo is so damaging to Norman's credibility, I believe we should suspect the former. First shot hit 190-224. Last two shots probably bunched together, with the last shot after the head shot.