Between the Signs
There are many disappointing aspects of the
FBI’s investigation into the murder of President John F. Kennedy. The FBI
simply didn’t try as hard as they should have. Once they had their man, Oswald,
they simply stopped looking elsewhere. When one reads Volume 22 of the 26
volumes of supporting information for the Warren Report, one comes across dozens
of statements taken by the FBI in March 1964. These were statements made by employees working in Texas School Book
Depository Building What is troubling
about these statements is that they all seemed to be designed to answer three
questions—where were you during the shooting, did you know Oswald, and did you
see any strange individuals in the building on November 22nd,
1963? The FBI was clearly not interested
in what happened, only if anyone else was involved. As a result, numerous witnesses to Kennedy’s
death were not even asked what they saw.
Still, enough of them said enough to give us an idea. Still others undermined the FBI’s efforts by
saying that they’d never seen Oswald before or only vaguely remembered Oswald,
and had not seen any strangers in the building. These were, in fact, mutually exclusive statements. By saying they had never seen Oswald, or only
vaguely remembered seeing Oswald, who’d only worked in the same building with
them for six weeks, they were as much as acknowledging they wouldn’t know what
a stranger looked like. A number of
these employees watched the motorcade from the north side of Elm between the
Thornton Freeway and Stemmons Freeway signs. Here then are the witnesses
between the signs, in (approximate) order from west to east. (Note: the research of Don Roberdeau was of great assistance in the placement of these witnesses.)
Louie Steven Witt stood
just in front of the Stemmons Freeway sign. He stupidly opened up an umbrella in silent protest as Kennedy passed,
and has come to be known as “The Umbrella Man.” While some still doubt Witt was the "Umbrella Man," and suspect his admitting as much was a government plot, many of those doubting his identity fail to understand that his identity was only discovered when, some months after the HSCA had called for the person holding the umbrella to come forward, a co-worker to whom Witt had confided revealed his identity to members of the conspiracy research community. (8-12-78 Dallas Morning News article by Earl Golz in which Witt's identity was revealed) "Witt, interviewed by The News at his job in the warehouse of a filing equipment company near the Stemmons Freeway, neither would confirm nor deny he was the Umbrella Man. He said he could not remember exactly where he was in downtown Dallas when the President was shot but thought he probably would have been on his lunch hour." (Handwritten notes by HSCA investigator Jack Moriarty on an 8-12-78 interview with Witt, found on the Baylor University website, in the John Armstrong collection) "I had just about decided to leave and go back to work. Then it arrived and kinda took me by surprised. I first saw it rounding that turn at the top of the hill (Elm St.). I got up--been sitting on the grass all this time. I (picked?) up my umbrella--walking forward toward the curb. I did get it open--I think it blocked my view--and heard this string of firecrackers go off. I (thought?) 'What a damn foolish thing for someone to be playing (games?) at a time like this.' As I moved to the edge of the little retaining wall, the vehicles had passed to my right now. The effect began to get to me; The President's car stopped--a motorcycle man swirved toward me--The second car nearly hit the first and a man ran up and jumped on the President's car. I don't think I saw everything--that damn umbrella got in my way. The next thing I recall was a bright pink movement in the car--JFK's car--I think it was Jackie's pink dress...My military training included 'Hit the dirt!' when you hear shots. It didn't occur to me that these were shots.' (Later, apparently in reference to the shots) 'I had no sense of direction--source--or number. All in one location--I think.'" (9-25-78
testimony before the HSCA, vol. 4 p.329-352) “'As I moved to the street, still
walking on the grass, I heard the shots that I eventually learned were
shots. At the time it didn’t register as
shots because they were so close together, and it was like hearing a string of
firecrackers…As I was moving forward I apparently had this umbrella in front of
me for some few steps. Whereas other
people I understand saw the President shot and his movements, I did not see
this because of this thing in front of me. The next thing I saw after I saw the car coming down the street, down
the hill to my left, the car was just about at a position like this
[indicating] at this angle here. At this time there was the car
stopping, the screeching of tires, the jamming on of brakes, motorcycle
patrolman right there beside one of the cars. One car ran up on the
President's car and a man jumped off and jumped on the back. These were
the scenes that unfolded as I reached the point to where I was seeing things." (Later, when asked if he could tell from where the shots were being fired) "No, sir, really couldn't. Of course, there were a number of shots and
they all seemed to be just rapid--just very close spaced. As to the
direction, I couldn't say." (When asked how many shots he heard) "I really couldn't say. Just remembering--I would have to say three or more." (When asked if they were in rapid succession) "Very. As I recall, very rapid." (When asked to demonstrate the speed on the table) "I don't know if I could really give you a good example, but it was just [witness wraps three times rapidly on table]."
Analysis: while Witt suggests he
was walking forward when the shots rang out, this would imply that all the
shots rang out before frame 202, when Witt can be seen standing with his umbrella in the Willis photo. Since he appears to have lifted his umbrella by frame 225 or so, when the Bronson photos shows it to have been higher above his head, however, we can probably assume he was still adjusting his umbrella at this time, and was not yet fully aware what was going on. His statements on the rapidity of the shots are much more helpful, as they are completely at odds with the LPM scenario, in which a five second pause precedes the last shot. Last two shots bunched together.
Alan Smith is one of the more mysterious witnesses. He claimed he witnessed the shooting from up close while standing on Main Street, which made little sense. As a result, I avoided adding him to this list for a long time. In 2012, however, researcher Chris Scally looked into Smith and was able to confirm he attended the school he claimed to have attended, and was only 14 at the time of the shooting. He also made a tentative ID of Smith as one of the two boys standing under the Stemmons Freeway sign in the Wills and Betzner photos. (Scally's article on Smith can be found in the Winter 2012 Dealey Plaza Echo.) In any event, Scally's article convinced me that Smith's claim of being on Main Street was probably an honest mistake, and that he may very well have been on Elm. I mean, how many 14 year-olds from the suburbs know the names of the downtown streets in your hometown? Not a lot, I would guess. (11-22-63 datelined article found in the 11-23-63 Chicago Tribune) "A wide-eyed 14-year-old boy, who was standing 10 feet away and looking directly at President Kennedy at the time of the assassination, told THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE of his astonishment at watching the historic event unfold. "It made me weak! I felt like sitting down! It was horrible!" Alan Smith, a Boy Scout and a 9th grade pupil at Stockard Junior High School, related. "I was standing on the curb watching the parade along Main street. We were permitted to skip school, if we had a note from our parents, to watch it." "The crowds were cheering, but all at once they changed to screaming. The car was about 10 feet from me when a bullet hit the President in his forehead. The bullets came from a window right over my head in the building in front of which my friends and I were standing." "Mr. Kennedy had a big wide smile. But when he was hit, his face turned blank. There was no smile, no frown - nothing. He fell down over Jackie's knees and didn't say anything. She stood up screaming 'God, oh God, no.' There was blood all over her and everything. She tried to raise him up but he fell back over her." "It sounded like the governor (John B. Connally) moaned when he was hit, I couldn't be sure." "The car went about five feet and stopped. Two policemen on foot rushed up. Then motorcycle policemen who had been leading the parade came back." "In a few minutes there were hundreds of policemen around the Dallas School Depository building, where they said the shots came from. They stuck ladders up to the building. They surrounded the whole place and moved the crowds away, so I had to leave." "Everything seemed terrible all over Dallas. Crowds of people were running all thru the city. I never saw anything like this before." Analysis: never says how many shots he heard. Too vague.
John Chism (11-22-63 statement to Dallas Sheriff’s Department, 19H471) “we were directly in front of the Stemmons Freeway sign…When I saw the motorcade round the corner, the President was standing and waving to the crowd. And just as he got just about in front of me, he turned and waved to the crowd on this side of the street, the right side; at this point I heard what sounded like one shot, and I saw him “The President,” sit back in his seat and lean his head to his left side. At this point, I saw Mrs. Kennedy stand up and pull his head over her lap, and then lay down over him as if to shield him. And the two men in the front seat, I don’t know who they were, looked back, and just about the time they looked back, the second shot was fired. At this point, I looked behind me, to see whether it was a fireworks display or something. And then I saw a lot of people running for cover, behind the embankment there back up on the grass.” (12-18-63 FBI report, 24H525) “According to Chism, he was standing on the curb in front of the concrete memorial on Elm Street…when the Presidential motorcade passed this point. As it passed in front of him he heard at least two shots and possibly three but no more. The first shot he thought was a firecracker until the second shot sounded and at the same instant he saw the President slump over in the seat of the limousine. On hearing the second shot he definitely knew the first was not a fire cracker and was of the opinion the shots came from behind him.” Analysis: as Kennedy was waving at the time of the first shot, and then leaned to his left, Chism failed to hear a shot at frame 160. As he failed to hear another shot until after Greer and Kellerman looked back, the next shot he heard was almost certainly the head shot, when the President “slumped.” As he thought he might have heard three shots, he may have heard a shot after the head shot. Only heard two clear shots. First shot hit 190-224.
Marvin Faye Chism was John Chism’s wife and stood beside him in front of the Stemmons Freeway sign. (11-22-63 statement to the Dallas Sheriff’s Department, 19H472) “As the President was coming through, I heard this first shot, and the President fell to his left. The President’s wife immediately stood over him, and she pulled him up, and lay him down in the seat, and she stood up over him in the car. The President was standing and waving and smiling at the people when the shot happened. And then there was the second shot that I heard…It came from what I thought was behind us and I looked but I couldn’t see anything. The two men in the front of the car stood up, and then when the second shot was fired, they all fell down and the car took off just like that.” (11-20-13 appearance by Ricky Chism at the Sixth Floor Museum, in which he presented his mom's recollections) "Well, we were standing right on the side of the car when the gunshots happened. And me and my father actually stepped down into the street. And the first shot hit the ground and ricocheted off the ground. And she remembered that. And then a police officer falling off a motorcycle. And then two other shots came right after those two shots." (On why his mom believed there had been a ricochet) "She seen the spark hit the ground." (On his father's response to the shots) "When the first shot came and it hit the ground, well, the next two shots he thought came from over by the grassy knoll where the train tracks were. So he started running towards the train tracks. And that's when I guess secret Service agents tackled him. And then they ended up taking us to the police station." (11-22-13 article in the Plano Star Courier on an appearance by Mrs. Chism's son Ricky at The Sixth Floor Museum) "Chism remembers eating bologna in a Dallas police station, playing on the bench while his parents were questioned for nearly 12 hours. Neither talked about that day – his mother silenced by fear of the unknown – until Chism was 13 and saw himself in a history book. “She’d seen the spark hit the ground,” Chism said of the first shot. “She was scared of something happening to her, to her family – just not knowing.” Analysis: while Mr. Chism noted that Kennedy leaned his head to the left after the first shot—a reference to his actions after frame 190 of the Zapruder film-- Mrs. Chism said he fell to his left. Still, her recollection of Jackie “standing over” Kennedy can only be a reference to the frames leading up to the head shot. Her statement that the men on the front of the car fell down was merely her way of expressing that Greer and Kellerman ducked down after the head shot. Only heard two shots. First shot hit 190-224.
Gloria Jean Holt (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H652) “I left the Depository building and walked down toward the Stemmons expressway underpass west of the building approximately fifty yards and took up a position on the curb on the south side of Elm Street to await the presidential procession…I was still standing on the curb at the time the president was shot.” Analysis: Holt is one of a number of witnesses who described the north side of Elm Street as the south side. It’s possible they thought that by crossing the dead end of Elm Street in front of the building to get to where they stood, that they had crossed onto the south side of the street. Too vague.
Sharon Simmons (Sharon Nelson) (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H665) “I was with Jeanie Holt…at the time the President was shot.” Analysis: too vague.
Stella Jacob (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H655) "I left the Depository building and walked down toward the Stemmons expressway underpass west of the building approximately fifty yards and took up a position on the curb on the south side of Elm Street to await the presidential procession… (names Sharon Simmons and Gloria Jean Holt as companions) I was still standing on the curb at the time President John F. Kennedy was shot….” Analysis: too vague.
Carol Reed (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H668) “At the time President Kennedy was shot I was standing on the curb of Elm Street about mid-way between the Texas School Book Depository Building and the Elm Street railroad overpass. I was with Mrs. Karen Hicks…Miss Karen Westbrook…and Mrs. Gloria Calvery…at the time the President was shot.” Analysis: too vague.
Karen Hicks (3-20-64 statement to the FBI, 22H650) “we walked to Elm Street and stopped at a point on the north side of Elm Street about halfway between Houston Street and the Triple Underpass. We were standing at this point when President John F. Kennedy was shot. The car he was in was almost directly in front of where I was standing when I heard the first explosion” (She names Calvery, Reed, and Westbrook as companions). Analysis: as Hicks was far down the street from Kennedy’s position at Z-160, she did not hear a first shot that missed. Number of shots??? First shot 190-224.
Gloria Calvery (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H638) “we walked to Elm Street and stopped at a point on the north side of Elm Street about halfway between Houston Street and the Triple Underpass. We were standing at this point when President John F. Kennedy was shot. The car he was in was almost directly in front of where I was standing when I heard the first shot.” Analysis: as Calvery was far down the street from Kennedy’s position at Z-160, the first shot she heard was not at Z-160. Number of shots??? First shot 190-224.
Karen Westbrook (11-23-63 article in the Dallas Morning News) "'I saw the president's hair fly up...I knew he was hit,' sobbed Miss Karen Westbrook, 19, a stenographer for a publishing firm with offices in the School Book Depository Building." (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H679) “On November 22, 1963, I left my office…I was with (Calvery, Reed, and Hicks)…about halfway between Houston Street and the Triple Underpass. We were standing at this point when President John F. Kennedy was shot. The car he was in was almost directly in front of where I was standing when I heard the first explosion. I did not immediately recognize this sound as a gun shot.” Analysis: as Westbrook was far down the street from Kennedy’s position at Z-160, she did not hear a first shot that missed. Number of shots??? First shot 190-224.
June Dishong (Letter written on 11-22-63, as read by her daughter on CNN, 11-21-2003, and featured on the Sixth Floor Museum website) “here come the president and his wife…His arm in the air waving…He drops his arm as they go by, possibly 20 feet. Suddenly--a sound. Gun shots? So hard to tell above the clamor of the crowd. The president bent forward into his wife’s lap as his arm slipped off the side of the car. Jackie circled him with her arm. Another shot. Panic among the people. Woman with children. Parents pushing them to the ground. No one knows where the shots are coming from. A cry. The President has been shot. A third shot, people scatter. I can't believe what I have seen. The picture of the man falling forward.” Analysis: this letter, which was only discovered after Dishong’s death, sums up what would seem to be the majority view quite nicely: a first shot hit at 190 (when Kennedy stopped waving, and Jackie moved closer to him), followed by the head shot (when people started screaming and dropping to the ground), followed by a third shot. First shot hit 190. Last shot after the head shot.
Jean Newman (11-22-63 statement to the Dallas Sheriff’s Department, 19H489, 24H218) “I was standing right on the side of the Stemmons Freeway sign, about halfway between the sign and the edge of the building on the corner… The motorcade had just passed me when I heard something that I thought was a firecracker at first, and the President had just passed me, because after he had just passed, there was a loud report, it just scared me, and I noticed that the President jumped, he sort of ducked his head down, and I thought at the time that it probably scared him too, just like it did me, because he flinched like he jumped. I saw him put his elbows like this, with his hands on his chest...the motorcade never did stop, and the President fell to his left, and his wife jumped up on her knees…I just heard two shots” (11-28-63 FBI report, 22H843) “She then walked in front of the building and turned right on Elm Street and stood on the curb on the North. A car carrying the President and other persons had just passed her when she heard a report and saw the President jump, raising his hands to his chest area. She stated she assumed the report to be a firecracker and thought how “human” the president was that he too would react by jumping at a sudden noise. She stated the car had proceeded to approximately 12 feet to her right when she heard a second report and saw the President slump to the front of the car…Mrs. Newman said she only heard the two shots but cannot definitely state that additional shot or shots were not fired as people around her realizing what had happened began milling around and screaming.” Analysis: Mrs. Newman’s contention that screams may have prevented her from hearing additional shots indicates that she believed no shots were fired before the first one she heard. Only heard two shots. First shot hit 190-224.
Ernest Brandt claims to have been standing along the north side of Elm at the time of the assassination. For many years, on the anniversary of the assassination, he returned to his place on the street wearing what he claimed was the same hat he'd been wearing on the day of the assassination, and spoke freely to tourists, researchers, and newsman. A man wearing such a hat is readily observed in the Zapruder film. (12-07-93 article in the St. Petersburg Times) "Ernie Brandt, 67, wore the same small, brown hat he had worn that day. He heard two shots." (Oral History interview performed for the Sixth Floor Museum, 5-12-94) "Nothing had happened by the time the limo was exactly opposite us, from the curb straight out to the street. Nothing had happened, But I was still watching Kennedy from the back... I think the limousine was probably about 60 or 70 feet past us, three or four seconds I guess from the time. He wasn't moving real slow but yet not real fast either, y'know. And--60 or 70 feet past us, then BAM! the first shot was fired and boy it just reverberated around Dealey Plaza something terrible. It sounded like an elephant rifle to me." (11-22-95 article in the Dallas Morning News) "Ernest Brandt, a salesman, watched from the curb as President John F Kennedy's motorcade turned down the Elm Street slope toward Stemmons Freeway... "Kennedy's limo was about 15 to 20 feet past us when the first shot was fired. I was still looking at him and I saw his arms come up. My first thought at that instant was that it was a motorcycle backfire. But in a couple or three seconds there was a second shot and instantaneously everybody realized it wasn't a motorcycle backfire, including me and my customer...There was a big tree up the hill and I ran for that tree. My customer stayed right on the curb, and he saw the last shot hit Kennedy, but I didn't see it. I was running for that tree..." (11-23-98 article in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram) "Dallas resident Ernest Brandt, 72, was wearing a hat yesterday, the same hat he wore on the day he stood under a tree and saw Kennedy shot, he said. Although many conspiracy theorists asked Brandt questions, he said that he only heard three shots and that all of them came from Oswald." (July 2000 hand-written,
3-page letter from Brandt to researcher Don Roberdeau published in part on Roberdeau's Men of Courage website and posted in total on the alt.assassination.JFK newsgroup in 2009) "President Kennedy was about 15 feet from me when the FIRST SHOT WAS
FIRED!!! He was SLIGHTLY PAST ME at a "ONE O'CLOCK POSITION" in relation
to my location on the NORTH SIDE of the Elm street curb. My observation
of JFK's re-action to the FIRST SHOT (I WAS STILL LOOKING AT HIM) was
that he INSTANTLY RAISED HIS ARMS (ACTUALLY I COULD ONLY SEE HIS RIGHT
ARM) - (HIS BODY + HEAD OBSCURRED MY VIEW OF HIS LEFT ARM) - TO A
POSITION PARALLEL WITH THE GROUND, BUT BENT AT THE ELBOW. MY CLOSE
SCRUTINY of the "Z" film tells me that JFK is apparently UNHIT prior
to passing behind the highway sign, but, of course, his arms are moving
UPWARD as he emerges from behind the sign. I SEEM TO RECALL JFK WAS
CASUALLY WAVING to the very sparse crowd in Dealey Plaza as he
approached my location. My feeling is that he was hit in the neck at
about frame #208 to #210 in the "Z" film + that is only a FRACTION of a
second AFTER HE DISAPPEARED BEHIND the sign - or possibly at the VERY
INSTANT of moving behind the "LEADING EDGE" of the SIGN!!! Gerald Posner thinks (his book, "Case Closed") that the FIRST SHOT hit a tree limb and missed JFK, but, I disagree EMPHATICALLY. I am TOTALLY CONVINCED the FIRST SHOT HIT JFK in the back of the lower neck!!! Hence his reason for raising his hands up to his face -HE WAS HIT in the NECK + his IMMEDIATE RESPONSE WAS TO GO TO THAT GENERAL AREA WITH HIS HANDS!!! The FIRST SHOT WAS, I THOUGHT, A POLICE MOTORCYCLE BACKFIRE -
(MY CUSTOMER** WITH ME THOUGHT THE SAME) AND AS JFK RAISED HIS ARMS I
THOUGHT HE HAD ALSO HEARD the BACKFIRE + WAS PLAYFULLY RE-ACTING to
it!!! STRANGE THOUGHTS BUT, AN ASSASSINATION of the PRESIDENT of the
U.S. WAS CERTAINLY THE LEAST LIKELY THING IN THE WORLD TO OCCUR!!! WHEN
the 2nd shot occurred, it was the time I realized that SHOTS were being
fired!!! and FEAR GRABBED ME QUICKLY!!! MY HEART BEGAN TO "POND" [sp]
!!! I KNEW SHOTS WERE BEING FIRED BUT HAD NO IDEA AT ALL FROM
WHERE!!! (MY CUSTOMER** DIDN'T KNOW EITHER) So I LOOKED BEHIND ME FOR A
PLACE TO RUN - ABOUT A DOZEN FEET DIRECTLY BEHIND ME WAS A "LONE" TREE
- + I RAN QUICKLY TO THAT TREE!!! ONCE THERE I FELT A LITTLE MEASURE OF
SECURITY!!! I REALLY CANNOT TELL YOU THE DISTANCE BETWEEN ME + JFK WHEN
THE 2ND SHOT WAS FIRED FOR THE ABOVE REASON. WHEN AT THE TREE I
IMMEDIATELY GLANCED DOWN ELM STREET TOWARD THE TRIPLE UNDERPASS! THE
JFK "LIMO" WAS CLOSE TO THE UNDERPASS + IT WAS OVER - THE SHOOTING HAD
STOPPED - (THE THIRD SHOT WAS FIRED AS I RAN FOR THE TREE) - THE
"LIMO'S" TAIL LITES WERE "ON" WHICH TOLD ME THE DRIVER (GREER) HAD HIS
FOOT ON THE BRAKES + THEN BLACK SMOKE SPEWED FROM THE EXHAUST PIPE +
THE "LIMO" SPED OFF IN A SUDDEN BURST OF SPEED + IT WAS ALL OVER!!!" (A 7-15-01 e-mail response from
Brandt posted on alt.assassination.JFK by Dave Reitzes, 10-31-01) (When asked if he heard two or three shots) ”I did indeed think I heard
only TWO shots at the time of the assassination…I KNOW, REPEAT, KNOW, THAT I
HEARD THE FIRST SHOT. IT WAS EXTREMELY
LOUD…When the second shot occurred I realized that the FIRST “noise” I had
heard was NOT a police motorcycle back-fire…I quickly glanced behind me and saw
a rather large tree… While consumed with FEAR & concentrating FULLY on
arriving safely at that tree, the THIRD SHOT, OBVIOUSLY, was fired. I feel sure
now that my ear-drums HEARD THAT THIRD SHOT.” (11-20-01 article in the Dallas Morning News) "Ernest Carl Brandt sent me a businesslike letter last week, offering his expertise on the shooting of President... He recalls standing at the curb, barely 15 feet from the presidential limousine, when the first shot was fired." (2-10-02 article in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram) "Ernest C. Brandt, who stood a few feet from the president's motorcade that day, says he believes he heard three shots. The first, which struck Kennedy's neck, sounded like a motorcycle backfiring, but the second, although a stray, was so loud, he knew it had to be from a rifle. 'Pandemonium broke loose,' Brandt recalled. 'My heart started pounding. I saw a big tree behind me. When I was running for it, the third shot was fired. I didn't see that shot; I was scared and running for that tree. But a customer of mine stayed on the curb, and he saw Kennedy's head explode." (4-12-02 article in the Dallas Morning News) "Mr. Brandt, 75, was 15 feet from the president's motorcade when the first shot was fired. He didn't immediately realize what was happening, even as he watched it... 'In about three seconds there was a second shot. Then I realized it was not a backfire.' Mr. Brandt said he ran for cover behind a nearby tree, but the man standing with him was too frightened to move. He said the man witnessed a third shot as it hit Kennedy's head, but by the time Mr. Brandt reached the tree and glanced back, the car was approaching the triple underpass." (From a 2-06-03 article
in Park Cities People) "'I stood only about 15 feet from President
Kennedy when the first shot was fired,' Brandt said. He heard three
shots at the time. 'I thought it was a motorcycle backfire at first,'
he said." (From a 2-7-03 article printed in The Shorthorn Online, a
college publication) "As he got closer, the crowd began to stir, and the
ladies began to squeal. Then we heard the
first shot—he was not 15 feet from me." (From an 11-22-03 WBAP
radio program posted on Youtube) "Just as he got a little passed us
(slaps hands together) BANG, a loud report. My first thought was it was
a motorcycle backfire. My second thought immediately was that Kennedy
heard that motorcycle backfire and he was just playfully reacting to
it, see. Boy, and then in about three seconds or so there was a second
loud report (slaps hands together) like that. And then I realized it
was not a motorcycle backfire and somebody was shooting from somewhere
and I got scared and looked for a tree." (From a 6-03-09
online article by Megan Blank for North Penn Life) "Ernest Brandt was
only 15 feet from President John F. Kennedy when the first shot was
fired at 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 22, 1963. Previously,
as that first motorcycle rounded the corner in Dealey Plaza in Dallas,
a woman in a blue dress standing next to him commented on how all the
police were probably along the parade route, adding, “It sure would be
a great day to rob a bank in the suburbs, eh?” Then the shot, as loud
as a Howitzer,” Brandt said...“The crowd was happy, yelling, some of
the ladies were yelling, ‘Hi,
Jackie,'" he said. “When Kennedy was directly in front of me, there
were no shots, all was fine. Then, “I thought it was a
motorcycle backfire,” he said. “I saw him throw his arms up. I thought
Kennedy was playfully reacting. Then two or three seconds later,
another [shot]. Then I knew it wasn’t.” Brandt added that the press
called that bullet the “pristine,” or magic, bullet, which he thought
was ridiculous. “I have a picture of it at my house,” he said. “It’s
got the usual markings of a bullet shot through a gun.” Another
of the three shots missed, but “the third shot literally blew his
brains out, and I mean literally,” Brandt said...Terrified
the shooter was facing him, Brandt ran behind a nearby tree. When he
ran back, his customer was still standing there, out of shock." Analysis: it's interesting how Brandt told the Sixth Floor Museum he was 60-70 feet from Kennedy at the time of the first shot, but then began telling the press he was but 15 feet from Kennedy. While
Brandt, a committed single-assassin theorist, has taught classes on the
assassination, for that matter, he needs to go back to school and re-evaluate his position. If
first shot was fired and hit Kennedy around Z-207, then who shot
Connally at Z-224? His discussion of the head shot is also intriguing. He believes the third shot was fired after he started running, but the photographic evidence proves no one started running or ducking until after the head shot. This suggests that Brandt started running upon hearing the muzzle blast of the head shot, without even realizing it had struck anyone. Only heard two shots. First shot
hit 190-224. Second shot head shot. Last shot (which he did not hear) is by implication after the head shot.
John Templin was the man standing to Brandt's left. (12-07-93 article in the St. Petersburg Times) "John Templin, 55, had voted for the first time, for Kennedy. He heard three shots invade the plaza..."You can't believe what goes through your head after seeing something like that," Templin said." (From Don Roberdeau's 6-08-09 post on the alt.assassination.JFK Forum, in which he recounts Templin's 6-28-95 Oral History interview with the Sixth Floor Museum) "TEMPLIN remembered hearing 3 audible muzzle blasts and/or mechanically suppress fired bullet bow shockwaves with the first two bunched distinctly closer together than last two he remembered... TEMPLIN said the first blast/shockwave originated from his left, "his" 2nd remembered blast/shockwave came from his right towards the railroad yard and hit JFK in head and it sounded different, and TEMPLIN's 3rd remembered blast/shockwave came from his left, with the total shots sequence lasting about 6 seconds...TEMPLIN thought "his" 1st remembered blast/shockwave was a motorcycle backfire... TEMPLIN saw limo brake lights illuminated during the shots...afterwards TEMPLIN - like BRANDT - did not go public with his claims until the early 1990's...afterwards TEMPLIN provided a 6-28-95 "Sixth Floor Museum" oral-histories interview and detailed that "his" 1st blast/shockwave occurred when limo was 30' PAST himself ---- again, negating the posner/myers shots scenario theory, adding further support for the many witnesses who timestamped a "1st remembered shot = 1st JFK impact" AFTER the President had already started his Z-170 starting right hand wave (and large tree hid JFK from *anyone* in the warrenatti, supposed, "lone nut" "sniper lair" from seeing-targeting him from Z-162 to 208)" (11-23-98 article in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram) "Fairview resident John Templin, 60, who was with Brandt the day Kennedy was shot, said that remembering had been so painful he hadn't returned to the scene in almost 30 years. 'After it happened, I had a hard time sleeping for about two or three weeks,' he said." (11-22-00 article by David Flick in the Dallas Morning News) "John Templin...was on Dealey Plaza 37 years ago...'The first shot, I thought it was a motorcycle backfiring,' he said. 'I thought Kennedy was just playing, throwing his hands up in the air pretending to protect himself. But the second one came, and I knew it was the real thing." (from Brandt’s 7-15-01 e-mail to Dave Reitzes, posted online) “So when John (Templin) my customer & I joined again at the curb only a few seconds after the THIRD shot, I told him I only heard TWO shots…but he had heard THREE SHOTS…I then came to the realization that I really did HEAR the THIRD shot.” Analysis: Although Templin apparently believes the first two shots were closer together than the second and third, this is at odds with his recollection that second shot hit Kennedy in the head. One can only assume then that he has misremembered which pair was closer together. His appraisal of the last shot also needs some clarification. While Roberdeau reports that Templin said the last shot was fired after the head shot, and the 11-22-00 article by Flick seems to support this, Brandt insists Templin saw the impact of the final shot on Kennedy's head. Both of them can't be right. First Shot Hit 190-224. Last shot after the head shot?
Peggy Burney (11-23-63 first person account published in the Dallas Times-Herald) "I saw the President die. I was standing at the curb on Elm about a third the way from Houston Street near the overpass. When the President's car made the curve around the corner, he was smiling and waving. He was not standing, as I heard some reports say later. He was sitting, but he was happy and Jackie was happy and smiling as they passed. The car had passed about 15 feet beyond me when I heard the first shot. I did not realize it was a shot; I thought it was a backfire. The President ducked; instinctively I told myself 'something is happening,' but nobody knew what. Then I heard a second shot. I noticed that Jackie didn't duck - I could no longer see the President. The car momentarily stopped, then veered slightly to the right and speeded off. People around me were screaming; some were falling to the ground. I could not tell whether they were hit, or not - or just dodging. There was pandemonium. Everybody realized that the shots were coming from up high. People were running around cars and jumping over things. Soon, all the buildings around here were locked - including ours. Squad cars converged. There must have been a hundred of them right away. My employer, Mr. (Abe) Zapruder was making a movie at the time it happened. He is still with the Secret Service men. As soon as we were inside the building before any reports on the condition of the President, Mr. Zapruder had already told us 'The President of the United States is dead.' 'We saw him die...'" (11-23-63 UPI article found in the Fresno Bee) "'We all saw him die,' Mrs. Peggy Burney said. But neither she nor the others who witnessed the assassination of the President could believe what they saw. They thought the first of the three shots from the assassin's rifle was the backfire of a car." Analysis: Mrs. Burney's placement of the car at the time of the first shot--and assertion that Kennedy ducked in response to this shot--suggests a shot fired after frame 160. Only heard two shots. First shot hit 190-224.Betty Jean Thornton (11-24-63 FBI report, CD5 p.63) (On Oswald) “she had never seen him before as far as she knows…she was standing on the street when the President’s car passed by and she heard what she thought was a number of firecrackers.” (3-23-64 statement to the FBI, 22H677) “On November 22, 1963, at approximately 12:35 PM, I was standing with Jane Berry…on Elm Street in front of the Texas School Book Depository Building to watch a motorcade bearing President John F. Kennedy pass by. As the car in which the President was riding passed by, I heard what I thought were firecrackers being discharged, but I did not actually see the President hit with any shots.” Analysis: as she didn’t hear any shots until Kennedy was passing by, and as she was far west of where Kennedy was at Z-160, she failed to hear a shot as early as Z-160. Had no recollection of Oswald Number of shots??? First shot 190-224.
Jane Berry (11-25-63 FBI report, CD5 p.42) “Just as the car was passing by her, she heard a rifle shot. A few seconds later, she heard a second and third shot. She observed President Kennedy slump over and everyone began falling to the ground or running…It sounded as if it had been fired from a position west of where she had been standing.” (3-19-64 statement, 22H637) “On November 22, 1963, at approximately 12:35 PM, I was standing in front of the Texas School Book Depository with Betty Thornton…As the motorcade passed by the building I heard three shots and observed the President slump over in the automobile in which he was riding. (On Oswald) “I don’t recall having seen him around the Texas School Book Depository Building.” Analysis: as she heard a second and third shot “a few seconds later,” without mention of a gap between them, she probably heard them close together. As she heard the first of the three shots as the limo was passing by her, and she was far west of Z-160, she heard no first shot miss. First shot 190-224. Probable first shot hit. Last two shots probably bunched together.
The Last Wave
The testimony of those standing near the Thornton Freeway sign are particularly important in establishing the time of the first shot. As we’ve seen most have said Kennedy had already passed them when the first shot rang out, and none of them said he had yet to reach them. A number of others have said they saw Kennedy waving just before the first shot. This wave suddenly stopped around Z-190, a likely moment of impact according to the Zapruder film jiggle analysis. Convincingly, not one witness near the Thornton Freeway sign said that Kennedy had yet to reach them when the first shot rang out, and no eyewitnesses who mentioned Kennedy waving said he resumed waving after the first shot rang out.
Mary Woodward (11-23-63 newspaper article Witness From the News Describes
Assassination written by Woodward for the Dallas Morning News) "We
decided to cross Elm Street and wait there on the grassy slope just east of the
Triple Underpass…We had been waiting about half an hour when the first
motorcycle escorts came by, followed shortly by the President’s car. The
President was looking straight ahead and we were afraid we would not get to see
his face. But we started clapping and cheering and both he and Mrs. Kennedy
turned, and smiled and waved, directly at us… After acknowledging our cheers, he
[JFK] faced forward again and suddenly there was a horrible, ear-splitting
noise coming from behind us and a
little to the right. My first reaction, and also my friends', was that
as a joke someone had backfired their car. Apparently, the driver and occupants
of the President's car had the same impression, because instead of speeding up,
the car came almost to a halt...I don't believe anyone was hit with the
first bullet. The President and Mrs. Kennedy turned and looked around, as if
they, too, didn't believe the noise was really coming from a gun...Then after a
moment's pause, there was another shot and I saw the President start slumping in
the car. This was followed rapidly by another shot. Mrs. Kennedy stood up in the car, turned
halfway around, then fell on top of her husband’s body… The cars behind stopped and several men--Secret Service
men,--I suppose-- got out and started
rushing forward, obstructing our view of the car... About ten feet
from where we were standing, a man and a woman had thrown their small child to
the ground and covered his body with theirs. Apparently the bullets had whizzed directly over their heads.” (12-7-63 FBI report,
stated she was watching President and Mrs. Kennedy closely, and all of her
group cheered loudly as they went by. Just as President and Mrs. Kennedy went by, they turned and waved at
them. Just a second or two later, she
heard a loud noise. At this point, it
appeared to her that President and Mrs.
Kennedy probably were about one hundred feet from her. There seemed to be a pause of a few seconds,
and then there were two more loud noises which she suddenly realized were
shots, and she saw President Kennedy fall over and Mrs. Kennedy jumped up and
started crawling over the back of the car. She stated that her first reaction
was that the shots had been fired from above her head and from possibly behind
her.” (12-23-63 FBI report, recounting a 12-5-63 discussion between U.S. Attorney Barefoot Sanders and an FBi agent, CD205, p39) "a reporter for the Dallas Morning News, name unrecalled, has advised him
that four of the women working in the Society Section of the Dallas
Morning News were reportedly standing next to Mr. Zapruda when the
assassination shots were fired. According to this reporter, these
women, names unknown, stated that the shots, according to their opinion, came from a direction other than from the Texas School Book Depository Building." (March-May 1964 memo written for the Dallas Morning News, published in JFK Assassination: The Reporters' Notes, 2013) "The car proceeded down Elm and when it was about 40 yards from us, we heard the first noise. My immediate reaction was that someone had backfired a car deliberately--a pretty poor excuse for a joke. Ann said no--it was firecrackers. Before we could say anything more, the sound repeated itself twice in rapid succession. I saw the bystanders fall to the ground, saw the President slump, heard Mrs. Kennedy's anguished cry and saw her crawl out of the car and drag the Secret Service man in before the car sped away from view." (3-24-64 testimony of Mark Lane
before the Warren Commission, 2H32-61) “on
November 23, 1963, the Dallas Morning News ran a story by Miss Woodward, and I have
since that time spoken with Miss Woodward by telephone, and she has confirmed
portions--the entire portion which I will quote from now--in her conversation
with me. That is, that as she and her three coworkers waited for the President
to pass, on the grassy slope just east of the triple overpass, she explained
that the President approached and acknowledged their cheers and the cheers of
others, 'he faced forward again, and suddenly there was an ear-shattering
noise coming from behind us and a little to the right.' Here we have a
statement, then, by an employee of the Dallas Morning News, evidently
speaking--she indicated to me that she was speaking on behalf of all four
employees, all of whom stated that the shots came from the direction of the
overpass, which was to their fight, and not at all from the Book Depository Building, which was to their left." (Mark Lane's comments regarding Woodward at the Associated Press Managing Editors Convention in San Diego, California, 11-17-66, as published in an AP story found in the 11-27-66 Eugene Register-Guard.) "The press found Mary Woodward over there. In fact, she works for the press--the Dallas Morning News--and she wrote her own article, published in the Dallas Morning News on Nov. 23, and she said: 'I heard the shots. It was a horrible ear-shattering sound coming from directly behind me, from behind the wooden fence on the top of the grassy hill.'" (Lane had, apparently, presented his interpretation of Woodward's words as if it was a direct quote.)
(Interview in The Men Who Killed Kennedy, broadcast 1988) “One thing I am totally positive about in my own mind is how many shots there were. And there were three shots. The second two shots were immediate. It was almost as if one were an echo of the other. They came so quickly the sound of one did not cease until the second shot. With the second and third shot I did see the president being hit. I literally saw his head explode. So, I felt that the shots had come, as I wrote in my article, from behind me and to my right, which would have been the direction of the grassy knoll, and the railroad overpass." (11-21-93 Reporters Remember conference, as quoted in Reporting the Kennedy Assassination). "(We) stationed ourselves just down from the School Book Depository building and waited for the parade to come by.) And we were chatting, and as we were talking, I looked up at the grassy knoll. And I said to my friends, 'That's a very dangerous-looking spot to me, it must be, there must be a lot of security up there, because it looks like a perfect spot, if somebody wanted to do something.' And then the motorcade came along and I couldn't believe it: finally, I'm gonna see Jacqueline Kennedy, and she's looking in the other direction. So I yelled and I said 'Please look this way!' And they looked right at us, waved, and at that moment, I heard a very loud noise. And I wasn't sure what it was at that point, and I turned to my friends and asked 'what was that; is some jerk shooting off firecrackers?' And, uh, then I heard the second one, and this time I knew what had happened, because I saw the president's motion, and then the third shot came very, very quickly, on top of the second one. And that time, I saw his head blow open, and I very well knew what had happened by that point. But what I couldn't really believe, that someone else mentioned, was (that) the car had, after that first shot, had come practically to a stop...I knew the first shot missed--I have never wavered on that. And I see now that this is getting a lot of support. But I have said that from day one--that the first shot missed. I've never changed my mind on that. I felt that the second shot was not a mortal blow. So I felt that if there had been proper reaction time the man might still be alive today...We waited for just a few minutes…and walked back to the Dallas Morning News…I started writing my story, and I wrote it exactly as I knew it…And to this day, I think I wrote it correctly…The only thing that I guess I got myself in a little bit of controversy about, I said that the shots appeared to have come from behind me and to my right…I didn’t say they did come from that direction…I had spoken to my friends just prior to the event, suggesting that the grassy knoll would be the perfect spot for an assassin… when it happened, I naturally expected it to have come from where I had predicted it would come from. So in reality, I do believe they did come from the School Book Depository Building. So I get a little bit upset when I get put into the other column... I never spoke to Mark Lane in my life, except to say I couldn’t speak to him.” (11-16-13 article in the Dallas Morning News) "That particular Friday was Nov. 22, 1963, and on my 'extended' lunch break, while standing with three friends in front of the Texas School Book Depository, I witnessed (as the fifth-closest witness, according to an official source) the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy... Arriving back at The News, the four of us were the first to report to editors in the building what had happened in Dealey Plaza. Still lacking official confirmation — and without input from any other source — I began to compose, at age 24 years and two months, the story of my lifetime. Fifty years later, I am proud of that piece of reporting. Intensive investigations have shown that I was a pretty accurate witness. I reported then and still believe without the slightest equivocation that: The first shot missed completely. There was a noticeable time lapse between the first and second shot. The car slowed almost to a stop after the first shot. The second shot hit the target but was possibly not fatal. The third shot pierced the brain and was almost certainly fatal. I wasn’t perfect, however, and I did make one misstatement that haunts me to this day. I wrote that the shots sounded as if they had “come from behind me and to my right,” the direction of the grassy knoll. What I failed to take into account was a hearing disability that makes it impossible for me to accurately determine the direction of sound. (Just ask anyone who has been a passenger in my car when a siren goes off.) I have also been told by experts, including hearing specialists and marksmen, that the lay of the land in that area might have distorted the sound. I tried to correct the mis-impression, but it was too late. Conspiracy theorists used my words as 'evidence.' I was labeled 'the first dissenting witness.' Others claimed that my clarification was made under pressure by everyone from my bosses at the newspaper to Dallas city fathers to the FBI. I was sickened to read that my words had been used as evidence in a book claiming that Kennedy had been killed by the Secret Service agent who was driving his car. I have been called a liar who sold out (to whom or for how much was never revealed) and a disgrace to my profession. The twisting of my words, the questioning of my motives and the assault on my integrity were unexpected, bewildering and hurtful. I learned that the best defense was a low profile. Since then, I have given three presentations: to my child’s junior high history class, to my local historical society and at a seminar that was hosted by Southern Methodist University on the 30th anniversary. I have written three or four articles on the subject for newspapers at which I later worked, and I appeared briefly in two documentaries. I have never received compensation."
(11-22-13 article on Mary Woodward Pillsworth in The Herkimer NY Evening Telegram) (On the shooting itself) “At first we didn’t know what it was, if it was a car backfiring,” she said. “…Then there was the second shot and then the third. Then I saw [Kennedy’s] head just break open.” According to Pillsworth, she’s officially considered the fifth closest witness to the assassination. “We stood around for a few minutes, kind of dazed,” she said of the moments that followed." (On conspiracy theories) "In a Nov. 16, 2013 article written by Pillsworth for the Dallas Morning News, she said she wrote in her original article “the shots sounded as if they had ‘come from behind me and to my right,’ the direction of the grassy knoll.” Pillsworth said being “young and inexperienced,” she included this information without taking into account a hearing disability she has, which makes it difficult for her to locate where sounds come from. Despite efforts to correct this information over the years, she said conspiracy theorists still use this bit as evidence that there was another shooter on the grassy knoll that day. “Someone is just making a lot of money selling books,” she said. “Some quote [that part of] my article on the shooting. It just makes me sick.” (11-7-15 WFAA news report on Pilswprth's appearance at the Sixth Floor Museum, as presented on its website... Note: the section in parentheses was broadcast but not quoted in the article on the website) "Pillsworth was one of the closest eyewitnesses to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. "I yelled out, 'Please look this way!' because I wanted to see Jackie Kennedy…'please look this way.' (And they did look at us and wave), and I think we were the last people they waved to," she said. She says three gunshots followed; and so did a lot of criticism. "So many things were written that were not true," Pillsworth said. Pillsworth became known as the 'dissenting witness' because she reported that she thought the sounds of the shots had come from the grassy knoll rather than from the School Book Depository. That went against the official explanation and gave fuel for conspiracy theorists. But Pillsworth explains it may have just been how the sound echoed. She also acknowledges she has always had hearing problems. She didn't have any issues with her vision, though. While some who witnessed the chaotic scene weren't quite sure what had happened, she was. "Well I saw the president sort of fall forward and down," she said." (11-7-15 conversation with researcher Matt Douthit at the Sixth Floor Museum, as per a message from Douthit on Facebook) "Douthit: Where was the head wound exactly on his head? Woodward: It was from the back [puts hand on the very back of her head]. Douthit: The back of his head was blown off? Woodward: Yes." Analysis: while the recollections of many if not most witnesses get wilder and wilder as they get older, Ms. Woodward has in recent years been trying to bring hers in line with the official story. In the 1993 conference quoted above, she bent over backwards to let the good old boys in the journalism profession know she was not a “conspiracist.” She goes even further in this regard in more recent articles. To no avail. Her words are completely at odds with the LPM scenario--she says the President was past her when the first shot rang out, she says the limousine slowed down after the first shot, she said the President slumped down in his seat after the first of two closely grouped together shots. It was only in recent years that she started adding on that the last shot was the head shot. While some LPM defenders might choose to focus on Woodward’s repeated assertion that the first shot missed, they will have to overlook that she says the President looked around after this shot—and that it came after the wave of his hand (which can be seen at frame 188 of the Zapruder film). First shot hit 190. Last two shots bunched together (with the last shot after the head shot).
Aurelia Alonzo, Margaret Brown, and Ann Donaldson were Woodward’s companions on November 22, 1963. (12-7-63 FBI report, CD7 p.19) “Ann Donaldson…Margaret Brown…and Miss Aurelio Alonzo…were interviewed December 6, 1963…All furnished the same information as that previously furnished by Mary Elizabeth Woodward.” Analysis: While it appears that all three of these women remembered the shooting much the same as Woodward, we can’t be absolutely sure. Probable first shot hit 190 (X 3). Last two shots probably bunched together (with the last shot after the head shot). (X3).
Ann Donaldson (11-22-63 first person account published in the Washington Evening Star, Second Extra Edition. Note: this article was apparently picked up from a Jackson, Mississippi paper.) "I was standing 70 feet from President Kennedy when he was assassinated today and saw him fall under the bullet that killed him. Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy threw herself over his body as the President's car speeded up as soon as the driver realized what had happened. The crowd began to scream and wail and people standing nearby began to throw their children on the ground for safety. I heard two shots. The first shot sounded like a firecracker and the President heard it. He turned to look, as did everyone else, and then the second shot sounded. This time the President fell. Then there was only chaos. It had been raining earlier today but when the President and his party drove near the corner of Elm and Houston streets, the sun had come out and it was a beautiful, blue-skied day. Mr. Kennedy was smiling and waved at us. He seemed glad that the parade was nearly over as he drew near the triple underpass. The shot seemed to come from above and behind the President. The car did not stop. I could not see who else was seated in the car and as it went out of sight I could only see Mrs. Kennedy leaning protectively over her husband. I saw the President reach up to wipe his head as though he were perspiring. I thought to myself as soon as I realized he was shot: "Why here?" (2-17-09 post by Honorfligh...@Aol.com, found on the alt.assassination.JFK newsgroup, in which he/she discusses an encounter with Donaldson circa 1988) (As to whether he/she had ever had personal contact with an eyewitness) "I have spoken with one, Ann Atterberry, about 21 years ago. Ann described for us in still mournful detail that approximately one second or so before she heard the first very loud shot JFK then Jackie were both looking towards her and she was absolutely thrilled by that. JFK had also started waving towards her (which thrilled Ann even more) and then JFK made direct eye contact with Ann, THEN the first of 3 shots happened, and JFK immediately quickly reacted to being hit. As anyone can clearly see JFK started his wave only a second or two BEFORE he first "disappeared" behind the sign in the Zapruder film. She also described that one of the shots most definitely came from her right. (she was standing on the sidewalk street curb between the depository and the GK picket fence)." (1-5-92 article in the Dallas Morning News) "Another journalist friend, Ann Atterberry, was on the curb in Dealey Plaza that afternoon with a couple of friends. Like Tom, she heard three shots, no more, no fewer. Unlike some of the professional theorists, she has not shifted her memories later to fit the latest line--she wrote an eyewitness account for her hometown paper that afternoon and thus is on the record for what she saw and heard." (9-5-93 article in the Dallas Morning News) "Ann Atterberry, who works on The Dallas Morning News' library staff, was probably closest to the president when he was shot...'The youngest member of our group, Mary Elizabeth Ann Woodward, saw Kennedy hit, but he was already slumped down when I saw him. We halfway had to carry Mary Elizabeth back to the newspaper, she was so upset. I phoned in an eyewitness account to my hometown newspaper in Jackson, Miss., and reported that I heard three gunshots. I guess that's why no conspiracy theorists have bothered me over the years. Mary Elizabeth was so troubled by what she'd seen that she went off and joined the Peace Corps.'" (11-16-03 article in the San Francisco Chronicle travel section) "Jack and Jackie both looked pleased, and relieved," Atterberry said. "As they passed by us they waved, and they both made eye contact with us." Tears moistened her eyes, and her voice cracked. "I've often wondered if the four of us were the last thing he ever saw." At almost the same instant, she heard the first crack of gunfire. "My first reaction was that it was a firecracker," she said. "I thought that was awfully rude. I was just turning to see where the sound came from when I heard the second shot. Just as I realized what it was, I heard the third shot, and then there was no doubt in my mind. We all burst into tears. It was absolute chaos. People on the knoll threw themselves on the ground. A motorcycle fell over and was left in the middle of the street. People were running everywhere." (5-29-05 article for The Independent on Sunday, found on the BNET Business Network website) "We saw them round the corner and I heard what I thought were firecrackers and looked around to see where the noise came from. I then heard two more shots and saw the motorcade speed away and people fall to the ground. It seemed unreal and then I felt horror. We headed back to the paper crying. Later we were interviewed by the FBI and the CIA. It was only recently that I've been comfortable talking about it because of the negative impact it had on the city of Dallas and on the Dallas Morning News, where I worked until I retired in 1999. In the wake of the assassination the paper was reviled. It had run an ad that morning taken out by a group criticizing Kennedy's politics. It affected me deeply, just the mental anguish of it. Most people don't know I was a witness. But I don't wish that I hadn't been there. It was a moment in history and it was one of the most momentous things in my life." (10-27-09 Dallas Morning News article on Atterberry's death) "'In the first two frames of Zapruder's film, the four of us show,' she said recently. Ms. Atterberry said she looked up at the crack of the first rifle shot. 'I thought it was fireworks,' she said. 'I thought that was really rude and socially unacceptable. I was looking to see where the noise came from. I heard two more shots and looked around, and the motorcade was speeding away.' The friends cried all the way back to the newspaper, several blocks away." Analysis: It's intriguing that Donaldson wrote a first person account saying she heard two shots and then proceeded to claimed she'd heard three shots and had always said she'd hear three shots. But it appears that this was par for the course. She also appears to have experienced some confusion regarding the source of the shots. She initially said the first shot came from behind Kennedy, but apparently later let on that she thought at least one of them had come from her right. Interesting, very interesting.
Maurice Orr is a little-known witness. The only record of his recollections is in the notes of famed researcher Mary Ferrell. According to her notes, Orr was an employee of Wamix Ready-Mix Concrete who spoke to Ferrell's long-time research partner Arch Kimbrough at 1:00 PM on the day of the shooting. There is an obituary, found online, for a Maurice Stephenson Orr, who lived near Dallas, worked in the concrete business for 30 years, was born on November 11, 1913, and died on October 28, 2007. We have every reason to believe this is the same Maurice Orr. This obituary detailed, moreover, that Orr had been a star football player in college. Researcher Don Roberdeau has identified a witness resembling Orr's size and appearance in the Croft photo. This places him further east than as suggested by Kimbrough's notes, however. (Mary Ferrell's chronology based upon an 11-22-63 discussion of Orr's with researcher Arch Kimbrough) "a. Standing on the north side of Elm between lampposts; thought he was about the last of the spectators on that side. b. Heard two-five shots. c. Thought firecrackers. d. No source. e. Motorcade stopped." Analysis: Heard two-five shots. Too vague.
A.J. Millican (11-22-63,
19H486) “I was standing on the North side of Elm
Street, about half way between Houston
and the Underpass… Just after the President’s car passed, I heard three shots
come from up toward Houston and Elm right by the Book Depository Building, and
then I immediately heard two more shots come from the Arcade between the Book
Store and the Underpass, and then three more shots came from the same direction
only sounded further back…Then everybody started running up the hill. A man standing on the South side of Elm
Street was either hit in the foot or the ankle and
fell down…” Analysis: Millican had
trouble differentiating shots from echoes. He is probably describing three
shots. Since Millican said he was “halfway to the underpass”, and that the limo
was past him when the first shot rang out, he’s certainly not talking about a
first shot at frame 160. Heard eight
shots? First shot 190-224.
Georgia Ruth Hendrix (3-24-64 statement to the FBI, 22H649) repeats “At approximately 12:15 PM on November 22, 1963, I left the Depository Building and took up a position along the parade route along Elm Street about 150 feet west from the Depository Building entrance and viewed the presidential motorcade… I recall that just a few seconds after the car in which President John F. Kennedy was riding passed the position where I was standing, I heard a shot. At first I thought it was salute to the President, but when the second shot was fired and I saw the President fall down in the car I knew someone was shooting at him. When I heard the third shot I turned and fled back into the Depository Building.” (No More Silence p. 73-78, published 1998) “When that first shot rang out, I thought it was a firecracker…But as I looked, he fell over, and about that time Mrs. Kennedy raised up and pulled the man up over the back of the car…With that, they were out of my view and in an instant they were gone!...In the meantime, there had been two other shots…we didn’t know at first that they were targeting him anymore than they were just shooting at random. In all, I heard three shots, and it seemed to me that there was more time between the first and second and less between the second and third shots.” Analysis: while Ms. Hendrix first had one shot after the head shot and later had two shots after the head shot, she is consistent in that she heard a shot after the head shot. Since she says the first shot rang out as the limousine was just past her position, and she was west of Kennedy’s position at Z-160, and as Kennedy was hit at least once before the head shot, she confirms that the first shot hit. First shot hit 190-224. Last shot after the head shot.
Billie Clay (3-23-64 statement to the FBI, 22H641) “At approximately 12:15 PM on November 22, 1963, I left the Depository Building and took up a position along the parade route along Elm Street about 150 feet west from the Depository Building entrance and viewed the presidential motorcade… (names Mary Williams, Georgia Ruth Hendrix, Sue Dickerson, and Mrs. John Hawkins as accompanying her) “Just a few seconds after the car in which President John F. Kennedy was riding passed the position I was standing I heard a shot. At first I thought it might be a firecracker or a motorcycle backfire, but when I heard the second and third shots I knew someone was shooting at the President…At this point the car president Kennedy was in slowed and I, along with others, moved toward the President’s car. As we neared the car it sped off.” Analysis: as she states she heard three shots and that the first rang out as the limousine passed her, she is indicating that there was no first shot miss at frame 160. First shot 190-224.
Peggy Hawkins (3-26-64 FBI report, CD897 p.35-36) “Mrs. Hawkins said that the car containing the Presidential party had just passed in front of the building shortly after noon when she heard two or three shots fired in the near vicinity. She said she immediately recognized them as firearm shots and not as fireworks and had the impression that they came from the direction of the railroad yards adjacent to the TSBD building…She said that she was looking at the President’s car at the time and saw the President straighten up in the back and then slump over on his side…She estimated that the President was less than fifty feet away from her when he was shot, that the car slowed down almost coming to a full stop and then started off again.” Analysis: as she says she saw the President straighten up in the back and then slump over on his side before the limo slowed down, she is describing Kennedy's reaction in frames 190-224, and not the head shot, which happened after the limo slowed down. First shot hit 190-224.
Mary Sue Dickerson (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H644) “On November 22, 1963, at the time President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, I was standing at the curb on the north side of Elm Street about equal distance between the point where the President was shot and the west end of the Texas School Book Depository.” (Oral History interview for the Sixth Floor Museum, 7-29-10) (When complaining about conspiracy theorists) "There's just been so much misinformation. Well, Billy Lovelady was standing on the front there, and so many people since then thought that was Oswald. But, y'know it wasn't. It was Billy, and he was the most innocent, as could be." (Article by Beverly Shay in the 11-01-11 online edition of Now Magazine) "Mary Sue (Sue) Randall Bennett will never forget where she was on Friday, November 22, 1963. She was on the curb in front of the Texas School Book Depository in Dealey Plaza. She worked on the fifth floor for Allyn and Bacon Publishers, one of the many publishing firms in the building. “I was so excited to be on the street that day. And then,” Sue paused, “the motorcade drove right in front of me, well us,” she amended. “I was looking at the handsome, young president, admiring his lush hair, and he looked right at me! My heart fluttered, and I knew I was part of history in the making. I just didn’t know how intently a part of history.” As she was making eye contact with the president of the United States, several things occurred at once. She heard what she thought were fire crackers, which initially seemed so celebratory, but then he slumped forward. Sue realized something was very, very wrong, but her mind refused to process it. “People screamed and ran, but it all seemed to be in slow motion. I remember turning and walking back toward the building, noticing one of my associates was still standing near the front door as he had been when I came out. I don’t know if it had even registered with me yet that the president had been shot,” Sue stated, as dazed now as she had been then." Analysis: from her 1964 description of her location at the time of the shooting and her 2011 description of the shots, it seems clear Mary Sue thought Kennedy was hit by the first shot or firecracker sound, long after he'd passed his location at frame 160 of the Zapruder film. First shot hit 190-224.
Mary Lea Williams (3-20-64 statement to the FBI, 22H682) (accompanied by Mrs. Sue Dickerson, Billie Clay, Ruth Hendrix, and Mrs. John Hawkins and her four year old son John) “Our group took up a position along the motorcade route about halfway between the first and second light poles on the curbside slightly west of Depository building. We were on the north side of Elm Street…Following the shooting of President John F. Kennedy, we continued to stand in that area for another five to ten minutes…I do not recall having ever seen Lee Harvey Oswald at any time on or prior to November 22, 1963.” Analysis: too vague.
By now, it’s become quite clear that most people
heard three shots, and that the last two were bunched closely together. However, we
still need to complete our trek across the Plaza to get the full picture. Those in what we'll call "Willis Country" were on the south side of Elm Street, but to the west of Houston Street.
Rosemary Willis is
the little girl seen running in the Zapruder film, as discussed on the Finding
the Right Time slide. (11-8-78
HSCA staff interview, summarized in HSCA Report, vol. 12, p.7) "Ms.
Willis said she was aware of three shots being fired. She gave no
information on the direction or location of the shots, but stated that
her father became upset when the policeman in the area appeared to run
away from where he thought the shots came from; that is, they were
running away from the grassy knoll." (6-3-79 article by David
Lui, as found in the Syracuse Herald Journal) (When asked why she
stopped chasing the Presidential limousine) "I stopped when I heard the
shot.” (Interview with Dallas Times-Herald reporter Marcia Smith-Durk,
"In that first split second, I thought it was a firecracker. But maybe
within one tenth of a second, I knew it was a gunshot...I think I
probably turned to look toward the noise, toward the Book Depository." (6-5-79
UPI article found in the Reading Eagle) “I heard three shots and they all came from across the street from
the direction of the book depository...Oswald was up there as clear as can be. I think he was up there on purpose to make people think he was the one. The sounds I heard came from the book
depository but they weren’t necessarily the shots that killed him. Someone with a gun with a silencer could have
been in the gutter where they later found shells, or on the railroad trestle or
behind the wall.” (11-19-93 article in USA Today) "For 30 of her 40 years, Rosemary Roach has lived trapped inside a few grainy frames of film, a little girl in a red, checked dress perpetually running across Dealey Plaza. "I will never forget it as long as I live," Roach says of the day three decades ago, when she watched the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and was captured running alongside the motorcade in a famous home movie of the tragedy. "It was the most frightening experience I ever had." But Roach says she saw more than just the shot that killed Kennedy as his limousine passed the old Texas School Book Depository. She says she saw the gunsmoke of a second gunman - evidence of a conspiracy. Thirty years after the assassination - and hundreds of books, movies and documentaries on the subject - conspiracy theories abound, undiluted even by a spate of new analyses that agree with the Warren Commission that Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone, killed the president... For her part, Roach is sure there was a conspiracy. She says she heard four shots - not three, as was concluded by the Warren Commission. She believes she saw a man in a storm sewer near the site, a man who some theorists say was a conspirator. She insists at least one shot came from the grassy knoll, a hillock from which many believe a second gunman was firing. At the moment of the fatal head shot, she says, she spotted a puff of smoke atop the knoll. 'It was definitely gunsmoke,' Roach says." (Interview
with Texas Monthly, published November, 1998)
“As they made the turn from Houston to Elm Street, they’d just gone a few feet
when the first shot rang out, and upon hearing the sound, my normal body
reaction was to look up and follow the sound that I heard…And the pigeons
immediately ascended off that roof of the school book depository building and
that’s what caught my eye…Next thing I know, right after that, there’s another
shot. And after that, there’s another
shot and another shot…My ears heard four shots…I really think that there were
six, but I heard four and I’ll tell you why…the first shot rang out. It was to the front of me, and to the right
of me, up high. The second shot that I
heard came across my right shoulder. By
that time, the limousine had already moved further down. And that shot came across my shoulder. And the next one, right after that, still
came from the right but not from as far back, it was up some. Still behind me, but not as far back as the
other one. And the next one that came
was from the grassy knoll and I saw the smoke coming through the trees, into
the air… Fragments of his head ascended into the air, and from my vision, focal
point, the smoke and fragments, you know, everything met.” Analysis: it’s a shame Miss Willis was never
interviewed when her memories were fresh. In 1979, she said she heard three shots from the right, and in 1998 she
said she heard three shots from the right, and then one from in front of the
limousine. Did she come to believe she’d heard a shot that before she’d only
theorized? If so, then it would seem she’d heard the first two shots grouped
together. On the other hand, by 1998
she’d also convinced herself these shots sounded differently, and implied that
the second shot came from a lower floor of the Dal-Tex Building. From this it seems likely that Ms. Willis’
memories had been compromised by her exposure to too many conspiracy
theories. Even so, her behavior in the
Zapruder film and her confirmation that she was responding to shots is invaluable
in establishing the moment of the first shot.
Heard four shots? Heard two early shots? First shot 190.
Robert Croft is to Rosemary Willis’ right in frame 193 of the Zapruder film. In the film, he can be seen snapping a picture at frame 161. This photograph is frame 18 on his roll of 22 frames. (11-26-63 article in the Powell Tribune, as discussed in an 11-26-2013 article in the Powell Tribune) "Robert Earl "Bob" Croft, who now lives in Lovell, was a 20-year-old missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on that fateful day. 'It was the most gruesome, horrible thing I have ever seen in my life,' he told the Powell Tribune 50 years ago. 'I don't know if I will ever get over it.' Croft decided to see Kennedy's motorcade pass through Dallas. He left the Union Terminal, where he was waiting for a bus to take him to Denver, to see the president pass. He walked over to Dealey Plaza in the downtown area, taking his Argus C3 35mm camera with him. Croft told the Powell Tribune for a story published Nov. 26, 1963 that he was 30 feet from JFK's limousine when the shots rang out about 12:30 p.m. Central Time." (12-3-63 FBI Airtel, FBI file # 62-109060-1388) "frame number 18 appears to show the Presidential car on Elm Street south of Houston Street just moments before the President was shot... Croft believed the last picture taken by him was taken simultaneously with the shot which killed the President. This no doubt refers to frame number 19 which is a complete blank which probably was occasioned by some malfunction of Mr. Croft's camera or some other fault." (Pictures of the Pain p.224-226, Trask interview with Croft, 4-20-88) “in this third Croft photograph, Mrs.Kennedy appears to be looking right at Croft…Quickly winding his camera, Croft takes another picture of the vehicle as it passes by his position. As he makes this fourth photo, he hears a shot, and believes that this picture was 'taken simultaneously with the shot which killed the President…' Following the shots, pandemonium broke out all around the Plaza… "I can’t tell you at this point anything about the shots, numbers, or where they were. I was on my way back, as I remember, before the car ever got—it was kind of going down a hill under a railroad track. And I noticed what time it was and took off, because I was going to be late for the train..." Analysis: while Croft told Trask he couldn’t remember anything about the shots, he had a clear memory of taking his fourth photo “simultaneously with the shot which killed the President.” As he has not yet raised his camera back to his eye by frame 215 of the Zapruder film, this is probably a reference to the head shot. And yet this is the one photo which failed to come out after Croft gave his film to the FBI! In light of the FBI’s refusal to look at the autopsy evidence, one can’t help but wonder if this photo wasn’t made to disappear. Still, since the existence of the Moorman photo and the Zapruder film were well known almost immediately after the shots, it’s questionable the FBI would risk scandal over what could only have been an inferior image of the President’s death. When one reflects on Croft’s belief that this fourth photo was taken simultaneously with the head shot, and realizes his third photo was taken at frame 161, and that Croft makes no mention of taking this photo simultaneously with the first shot, then one should really question if there was a shot at this time. First shot 190-224.
Phil Willis was Rosemary Willis’ father and he can be seen to Robert Croft’s right, snapping his famous picture at frame 202 of the Zapruder film. (6-22-64 FBI report, CD1245 p. 46-48) “Willis advised that just about the same time that the limousine carrying President Kennedy was opposite the Stemmons Freeway road sign he heard a loud report and knew immediately it was a rifle shot and knew also the shot “had hit”…About two seconds later he heard another rifle shot which also hit, as did the third, which came approximately two seconds later. Willis said he knew from his war experience the sound a rifle makes when it finds its mark and he said he is sure all three shots fired found their mark.” (7-22-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 7H492-497) “my next shot was taken at the very—in fact the shot caused me to squeeze the camera shutter, and I got a picture of the President as he was hit with the first shot. So instantaneous, in fact, that the crowd hadn’t had time to react…I proceeded down the street and didn’t take any other pictures instantly, because the three shots were fired approximately two seconds apart, and I knew my little daughters were running alongside the Presidential car, and I was immediately concerned about them, and I was screaming for them to come back, and they didn’t hear me…When I took slide No. 4, the President was smiling and waving and looking straight ahead, and Mrs. Kennedy was likewise smiling and facing more to my side of the street. When the first shot was fired, her head seemed to just snap in that direction, and he more or less faced the other side of the street and slumped forward.” (When asked if he actually saw Kennedy when he was hit in the head) “No sir, I did not. I could not see that well, and I was more concerned about the shots coming from that building. The minute the third shot was fired, I screamed, hoping a policeman would hear me, to ring that building because it had to come from there.” (2-14-69 testimony in the trial of Clay Shaw) “I cocked my camera for another picture and this loud shot went off and the first reaction was that could it be a crank or a firecracker but it was so loud and of such a sound it had to be rifle so I became alarmed. I was trying to take a picture at the moment and the reflex from the shot caused me to take one of these pictures…My two little daughters were running along down the hill paralleling the Presidential car there and I yelled to one of them, which is the first thing I did, and then I heard at least two more shots and then I started looking for them and looking down and hollering for them to come back to me and they came running back crying.” (6-5-79 UPI article found in the Reading Eagle) "There's no doubt in our mind the final shot that blew his head off did not come from the depository (located to the rear of the motorcade). His head blew up like a halo. The brains and matter went to the left and rear." (11-20-83 article in the Dallas Times-Herald) "Zapruder's view was blocked by the Stemmons Freeway sign when the first shot rang out" says Willis, a former Air Force pilot and real estate broker. "My view was not blocked and I got him (Kennedy) clutching his throat. I was squeezing the shutter. It (the noise) caused me to take the picture when the first shot was fired." (11-22-85 Trask interview, p.171, Pictures of the Pain) “As I was about to squeeze my shutter, that is when the first shot rang out and my reflex just took that picture at that moment. I might have waited another moment…when that shot rang out, I just flinched and I got it…I don’t care what any experts say. They’re full of baloney. I’ve shot too many deer…no one will ever convince us that the last shot did not come from the right front, from the knoll area.” (Interview in The Men Who Killed Kennedy, in episode 5, first shown 1988) "At least one shot--including the one that took the President's skull off--had to come from the right front." (Same interview, but broadcast in a different episode) “No one will ever convince me—I know damn well the shot that blew his head off, came from the right front.” (Interview with Jim Marrs in Crossfire, published 1989) (About the possibility Kennedy leaned forward while behind the Stemmons Freeway sign in the Zapruder film) "That is not right. I got the nearest, best shot while JFK was behind the sign. He was upright and waving to the crowd. A split second later he was grabbing at his throat." (About the possibility a shot came from somewhere other than the sniper's nest.) "I always thought there had to be another shot from somewhere. I have always gone against the one-gunman theory. I always thought there had to have been some help. I saw blood going to the rear and left. That doesn't happen if that bullet came from the Depository." Analysis: Willis is sort of the anti-Woodward. Unlike Ms. Woodward, who has tried to make her statements fit the official story, Willis has tried to make his statements fit the unofficial story, but the official story of the rest of his family. His initial impression was that the shots came from the school book depository. Perhaps realizing that he was more focused on finding his daughters after the first shot than paying attention to the shots, he eventually began saying that the last shot came from the knoll. Similarly, while he told the FBI the last two shots were two seconds apart, he told the Warren Commission that there was also a similar gap between the first two, which helped them believe that all the shots were fired by one man using a bolt rifle. As he was hurriedly looking for his daughters at this time, and yelling out, it’s doubtful he was paying much attention to the time span between the first two shots. In any event, his statement that there were two seconds between the last two shots, when the LPM scenario holds there was a five second gap between these two, is an indication that the last two shots were bunched together. First shot hit 190. Last two shots bunched together.
Linda Willis was Rosemary Willis’ older sister. She can be seen standing to the right and in back of her father in Zapruder frame 202. (7-22-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 7H498-499) (When asked if she heard shots) “Yes; I heard one. Then there was a little bit of time, and then there were two real fast bullets together. When the first one hit, well, the President turned from waving to the people, and he grabbed his throat, and he kind of slumped forward, and then I couldn't tell where the second shot went… I was right across from the sign that points to where Stemmons Freeway is. I was directly across when the first shot hit him…I wasn’t very far away from him. (When asked if she was about 25 feet away from Kennedy when he was hit in the head) “About that…I heard the first shot come and then he slumped forward, and then I couldn’t tell where the second shot went, and then the third one, and that was the last one that hit him in the head. No; when the first shot rang out, I thought, well, it's probably fireworks, because everybody is glad the President is in town. Then I realized it was too loud and too close to be fireworks, and then when I saw, when I realized that the President was falling over, I knew he had been hit.” (11-29-66 Interview with Josiah Thompson, as recounted in Six Seconds in Dallas, 1967) "In November 1966...Linda Kay Willis told me she thought the shots were evenly spaced, while earlier she had told the Warren Commission she thought the last two were bunched." (When asked if it seemed clear Kennedy was hit by the first shot, Connally the second, and then Kennedy the third) "Absolutely." (When asked if this was her conviction all along) "We've had these opinions ever since the night." (When asked what they'd have said should the government have told them Kennedy and Connally were wounded by the same bullet) "We would have said that's wrong." (1978 Interview with Jim Marrs, published in Crossfire, 1989) "I very much agree that shots came from somewhere other than the Depository. And, where we were standing, we had a good view." (11-7-78 HSCA staff interview, summarized in HSCA Report, Vol. 12 p.8) "The only information she provided relevant to the shots was that she had a distinct impression that the head wound to President Kennedy was the result of a front-to-rear shot. She also heard three shots and saw the President's head "blow-up." (The Men Who Killed Kennedy, broadcast 1988) "The particular head shot must have come from another direction besides behind him because the back of his head blew off...The back of his head blew off." (1998 interview with Texas Monthly) “when the shots rang, my impression was firecrackers at first. But the report was loud and came again and again…I saw the President’s hands come up to his throat and then I saw the head shot and I never took my eyes away from the president during those shots.” Analysis: as an arrow from her location at Z-193 to the Stemmons sign crosses the President’s position at Z-190, she is identifying a first shot hit at Z-190, followed by two quick shots in rapid succession. While she believes the last shot was the head shot, the shots were fired in such rapid succession it may have been difficult for her to distinguish. First shot hit 190. Last two shots bunched together.
Hank Farmer is a little known-witness who apparently stood on the south side of Elm in this area. (11-22-63 FBI memo from Joe Pearce to Dallas Special Agent-in-Charge J. Gordon Shanklin. This memo was never forwarded to FBI headquarters, but was discovered by researcher Harold Weisberg in the Dallas FBI office's files, which he'd gained access to as a result of a FOIA lawsuit.) "Today at 5:36 PM, HANK Farmer, 2862 Toronto, telephone Melrose 7-1637, Dallas, Texas; telephonically contacted the Dallas FBI Office, and advised he was standing on the southeast corner of Elm and Houston Streets at the time when President KENNEDY was shot. He stated he saw KENNEDY hit by the bullet and felt that bullet entered KENNEDY's face. He stated he then saw Governor CONNALLY shot and this shot entered CONNALLY's back. FARMER stated therefore, it is his opinion that the two shots were fired by two individuals from opposite directions. FARMER stated he wishes to speak to an agent with this Bureau and states he will not talk to the Dallas PD." (A handwritten note at the bottom of this memo says "This man interviewed at Dal PD 11/22/63 by buagent and PD detective." This note is signed "C. Brown". Intriguingly, no record of any such interview exists in the DPD files.) (12-14-63 FBI report on a 12-12 interview, CD205 p.34) "He waited in the park at the corner of Houston and Elm Streets and watched the motorcade come west off Main Street on to Houston Street and then west on Elm. He stated he saw President Kennedy appear to fall over in the car and then he saw Governor Connally also appear to fall over. He did not hear any shots fired and did not know what happened. There was confusion with many people running in all directions, and then the President's car drove off at a high rate of speed." Analysis: while Farmer's interpretations of the direction from which the shots were fired is interesting, he, apparently did not hear the shots themselves. As a consequence, his words carry little weight. Even so, it is intriguing that the FBI report failed to report Farmer's impression the head shot came from in front of Kennedy. That people started running after Connally fell into the car but before the limo sped off is also intriguing, as it re-affirms our impression that the crowd panicked after the fatal head shot, and not before. Too vague.
Mrs. Dolores Kounas stood back behind Phil Willis, near Linda Willis. (11-23-63 FBI report, 22H846): “After the car had passed her point and was almost to the underpass she heard a noise like a firecracker. She stated that there were three of these noises which she now knows were shots equally spaced by a few seconds and that it sounded as though these shots were coming from the triple underpass. She stated she looked in that direction but was unable to see the car in which President Kennedy was riding due to the mass of people in front of her.” ( 3-23-64 statement to the FBI, 22H659), “I recall that moments after the car bearing President John F. Kennedy passed my position, I heard a loud report which I first thought to be a firecracker. Following the second shot, however, I then heard screaming and saw people running and I then believed the reports I had heard were gunfire…I had thought the shots came from a westerly direction in the vicinity of the viaduct.” Analysis: as she was standing approximately forty feet from where the limousine was at frame 160, near the corner of Elm and Houston, it’s doubtful she would describe this President’s location at frame 160 as halfway to the underpass. As she describes chaos breaking out after the second shot, moreover, this would appear to be the head shots, and yet she heard a shot after this. Even though she stated the shots were equally spaced, that she describes the last shot as coming a few seconds after the second shot, indicates she probably heard the last two shots bunched together. First shot hit 190-224. Last two shots probably bunched together (with the last shot after the head shot).
Roberta Parker (12-16-63 FBI report, CD205 p.504) “The car in which President Kennedy… (was) riding had passed Mrs. Parker only a short distance when she heard what she thought was a shot. The shot sounded to her as thought it had come from a cement memorial building to the north of the Texas School Book Depository on Elm Street. She looked in that direction but saw nothing….During this time, she heard two additional shots.” (3-20-64 statement to the FBI, 22H657) “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 standing across the street from the Texas School Book Depository Building entrance with Dolores Kounas and Lloyd R. Viles.” Analysis: last twos shots grouped together in the first FBI report. Probable first shot hit 190-224. Last two shots probably bunched together.
Lloyd R. Viles (3-20-64 statement to the FBI, 22H678) “On November 22, 1963, at the time President Kennedy was assassinated, I was standing across Elm Street from the main entrance of the Texas School Book Depository Building with Mrs. Dolores Kounas and Mrs. Roberta Parker.” Analysis: too vague.
Hugh Betzner was
on Elm Street, 20 feet or
so to the east of Phil Willis. (11-22-63
statement to Dallas Sheriff’s Department, 19H467) “I then ran down to the
corner of Elm and Houston Streets,
this being the southwest corner. I took
another picture just as President Kennedy’s car rounded the corner…I ran on
down Elm a little more and President Kennedy’s car was starting to go down the
hill to the triple underpass. I took
another picture as the President’s car was going down the hill on Elm
started to wind my film again and I heard a loud noise. I looked up and it seemed like there was
another loud noise in the matter of a few seconds. I looked down the street and I could see the
President’s car and another one and they looked like the cars were
stopped. Then I saw a flash of pink like
someone standing up and then sitting back down in the car…I cannot remember
exactly where I was when I saw the following: I heard at least two shots fired and I saw what looked like a
firecracker going off in the president’s car. My assumption for this was
because I saw fragments going up in the air. I also saw a man in either the President's car or the car behind his
and someone down in one of those cars pull out what looked like a
rifle. I also remember seeing what looked like a nickel revolver in
someone's hand in the President's car or somewhere immediately around
his car. Then the President's car sped on under the underpass. Police
and a lot of spectators started running up the hill on the opposite
side of the street from me to a fence of wood. I assumed that was where
the shot was fired from at that time. I kept watching the crowd. Then I
came around the monument over to Main Street. I walked down toward
where the President's car had stopped.” (11-23-63 article
by Betzner for UPI) “I was standing on the southwest corner of Elm and Houston
Streets as the motorcade came along. I
began taking pictures—one on Houston Street
and one as the President’s car rounded the corner. I took another picture of the limousine as it
drove off down the hill, and I had just lowered the camera and was rewinding
the film when I heard the first shot. I
looked up. There was another shot and I
saw what looked like a puff of paper splattering apart outside the car. I couldn’t see the President any more, but
someone in the back of the limousine pulled out a big long gun. It looked like a rifle…Suddenly the motorcade
took off fast under the viaduct…I went around to the other side of the monument,
and it looked like the police thought the shots came from a wooden fence on top
of the hill. So I went up there, because
I figured that if he got shot from the fence, I might have a picture of the man
who did the shooting. My last picture
was taken looking that way.” Analysis: as Betzner took his photo at frame 186, the
shot he heard as he started to wind his film was not the shot at frame 160 in
the LPM scenario, but at 190 or afterwards. As the fragments he saw go up in
the air were almost certainly the blood, brain, and bone ejected by the head
shot, the next shot he heard was the head shot, meaning the first shot he heard
most logically caused the neck wound. While it’s possible he missed an early
shot at frame 160, this seems unlikely, as he was directly across the street
from the Texas School Book Depository at the time. It seems more likely he missed one of the
last two shots heard close together, and interpreted them as one shot. Only
heard two shots. First shot hit 190-224.
Marilyn Willis was the mother of the Willis girls and the wife of Phil Willis. She watched the shooting from the wall running north to south on the east side of the grassy infield. (6-19-64 FBI report, CD1245 p. 44-45) “Mrs. Willis advised when the motorcade passed on Elm Street in front of where she was standing she heard a noise that sounded like a firecracker or a backfire. A few seconds following this she stated she heard another report and saw the top of President Kennedy’s head “blow off and ringed by a red halo.” She stated she believes she heard another shot following this.” (11-29-66 Interview with Josiah Thompson, as recounted in Six Seconds in Dallas, 1967) (When asked if she felt Kennedy was hit by the first shot, Connally the second, and Kennedy the third) "Yes, that's right." (When asked if she'd felt this right away) "Oh, yes, from the very first thing." (When asked if it seemed clear) "That's right. The Warren Commission didn't seek us out and finally Linda and I were interviewed a long time later. But at home we all agreed. We stayed home there for a week just glued to the television. And we agreed all along as to how and what happened." (When asked again about when they all agreed) "The night that it happened." (2-14-69 testimony in the trial of Clay Shaw) (When asked how many shots) “I heard three.” (When asked about the first one) “I thought it was a firecracker. (When asked about the second shot) “I knew it was a gunshot then.” (And what the effects were of the second) “The second noise drew my attention back to the motorcade.” (And what about the third?) “It was a loud gunshot…On the third shot his head exploded and went back and to the left.” (The Men Who Killed Kennedy, broadcast 1988) “The head shot seemed to come from the right front. It seemed to strike him here and all the brain matter went out the back of his head. It was like a red halo, a red circle with bright matter in the middle of it.” (When asked her clearest memory) “The head shot--seeing his head blow up—I can see it just as plain—it’s red, it’s cone-shaped, going back.” (Interview with Robert Groden for his video, The Case for Conspiracy, 1993) "His head was back this way (she leans her head back) It looked like a red halo--just matter coming out of his head." (When asked from where she thought the shots derived) "Well, the results of what I saw, his head exploded, absolutely exploded. I would think that the shots came from behind the picket fence, which borders the top of the grassy knoll." (When asked where the wound was) "This side" (She grabs her head above her right ear, exactly where the large wound is on the Zapruder film) like this, and it goes to the back. (She leans her head back) His head was like this, see." (1998 interview with Texas Monthly) “all of a sudden we heard the noise. To a woman I said “Oh, they’re shooting firecrackers” Bang. Bangbang, you know it went. Then I said “No, that’s gunshots.” Then I looked up and his head was blown up like that. I heard three shots.” Analysis: Mrs. Willis initially believed there was a shot after the headshot but then “corrected” her memory, probably for the same reasons her husband corrected his memory about the origin of the last shot: family unity. Since she remembers the last shots as bangbang, moreover, she may have convinced herself she was simply wrong. Still, her proximity to the school book depository was such that she may have heard the shot close enough to the moment of impact that she could have looked to Kennedy a split second after the impact, just in time to see the particles disperse into the air. As from her angle it would have been very difficult to determine if the cloud of brain, blood, and bone went back or forwards, her statement that it went back was probably influenced by the family decision to believe the last shot was fired from the knoll. First shot hit 190-224. Last two shots bunched together (with the last shot after the head shot).
Pierce Allman was standing with Terrance Ford. The two of them can be identified in the Dorman film, standing about 30 feet west of the southwest corner of Houston and Elm. (11-22-63 report by Allman on WFAA
radio, presumably around 12:40 PM, as presented on the LP Four Days That
Shocked The World) "Just a few minutes ago, the President of the United
States turned from Houston Street onto Elm Street on his way to a
scheduled luncheon appearance at the Stemmons Trade Mart. And as he went
by the Texas School Book Depository, headed for the triple underpass,
there were three loud reverberating explosions. Nobody moved. Everyone
seemed stunned. A few seemed to look around wondering who had the
firecrackers. Then suddenly the Secret Service men sprang into action.
The convertible bearing the President and Mrs. Kennedy sped away, and
officers both plain clothes and uniformed seemed to spring from
everywhere at once, guns drawn, ordering people to lie flat." (11-22-63 eyewitness report on WFAA, between 1:45 and 2:00 PM CST) “Right after Mr. Kennedy passed in front of me I
heard one big explosion and my immediate thought like most of the people
standing around me was “this is firecrackers, but it’s in pretty poor
taste”. I looked and saw the president,
I thought, duck. Evidently, he was
slumping at the time. The car
immediately sped on. No one seemed
galvanized into immediate action. The
shots didn't seem rapid at all. They
were pretty well spaced, reverberating shots." (When asked how far he
was from the President at the time of the shots) "The car was in the
middle of the street. I was on the left hand side of the street. I'd say
about two--ten feet." (When asked if the car stopped at that time) "No,
the car kept going. The car did not stop. The policeman immediately came over and said
“All right, hit the dirt” and everyone concerned scrambled right
away including this young man what the--Bill Newman, whom I did talk to
right after it had happened. I, like five
or six rather foolish other people, immediately ran up the knoll over
the viaduct and looked over the fence. We saw nobody except a lot of
people running around. And then I headed into the Texas School Book
Depository where they were beginning to search…" (When asked if he
thought the shots came from a building.) "Yes, I think that this was the
consensus at the time, although now I notice Mr. Newman says he felt
the shots were fired from a knoll. I think the
logical place to have fired them would have been from the building and
when I left a few minutes ago, they were still searching…" (When asked
how many shots he heard) "Three. I heard
three well spaced shots." (When asked if
any of the shots could have been shots fired in return) “This is possible, however, the three I heard. I heard a boom and then a
space and then another boom and it was not until after the third distinct sound, this
third boom, that police were able to draw their revolvers and start firing in
return. And in the course of this--they, actually, they were reluctant to fire. I imagine there was a few shots exchanged. I
don’t remember frankly but they were reluctant probably because of all
the crowds around.” (11-22-63 eyewitness report on WBAP radio,
around 2:30 PM) "He turned the corner just before going under a triple
underpass... Suddenly we heard a reverberating explosion. My first
thought was not to look at the President...I rather looked around as if
to say 'Well, someone has fireworks and it's in pretty poor taste at
this moment.' The President ducked at least that's what it looked like
to me. I thought, this was a natural reaction. I didn't realize at the
time that he had been shot, and was slumping. There were three shots
fired. They were spaced. They didn't seem to come from any automatic
weapon of any kind, rather careful and deliberate aim. A Secret Service
man was killed. No one seemed galvanized into instant action. Everyone
was rather stunned. And suddenly the Lincoln convertible sped away at
top speed." (2-3-64 Secret Service report, based on 1-29-64 interview,
CD354 p4-6) "Mr. Allman stated that he was watching the parade from a
position near the corner of Elm and Houston. Upon hearing the shots he
ran across Elm Street to a couple who had fallen on the ground. He asked
the man if he was all right; the man stated that he was. Allman then
ran up an incline toward Houston Street. Upon reaching the top of the
incline, he turned and ran down. He stated that he is at a a loss to
explain this action other than he was extremely excited and upset by the
assassination. Mr. Allman then stated that he ran full speed into the
Texas School Book Depository Building with intention of locating a phone
and calling his television station WFAA." (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department,
CD950, p52) "Subject stated that he and Terrence Ford were at Elm and
Houston streets watching the parade at the time President Kennedy was
shot. Subject stated that immediately after the shooting he went into
the Texas School Book Depository and called radio station WFAA."
(11-25-98 article in the Dallas
(The caption to the accompanying photo) "Pierce Allman was standing
across Elm Street from the Texas School Book Depository when he heard
the shots that killed President John F. Kennedy." (From the article)
"Mr. Allman said the passing of 35 years hasn't erased the images of
what he saw and heard. He recalled Jackie Kennedy's pink suit and
pillbox hat, the president's tanned face and a distinctive parade
greeting, more a salute than a wave... The first shot was a tremendous
boom. He said the shot was very close and seemed to rattle the entire
plaza. 'My first thought was, if that's [a] firecracker, God that's in
poor taste,' he said. 'The sound was not to the right. The sound was not
to the left. It was straight ahead. Loud. Very loud,' he said. At the
second shot, Mr. Allman said he looked up at the Texas School Book
Depository from where he was standing at Houston and Elm streets. 'There
were three guys on the fifth floor looking up at the sixth floor,' he
said. He witnessed the third shot, which struck the president in the
head, and watched Mrs. Kennedy crawl onto the trunk as a Secret Service
agent hopped onto the car's bumper... He always tells of three shots
from the book depository. 'There were three shots. And yes, I believe
the three shots were from a single place,' Mr. Allman said." (Chopped-up
interview in CNN program Kennedy Has Been Shot, broadcast 11-16-03)
"I took a position on a corner, right across the street from the
Depository Building. And as the motorcade approached, I was caught up
in it like everybody else. There were the motorcycle escorts. And then
as the limo bearing the Connallys and the Kennedys came, I
was riveted by the appearance of the Kennedys. They just looked great.
They looked like a first couple should look. And then as they
turned the corner, there was this loud, explosive sound." (Later)
"Things were happening in the limousine. Mr. Kennedy had -- his arms had
gone up and he was beginning to topple to the left. And then Jackie
came out of her seat and was coming up over him. And about
that time, I guess a Secret Service man from the following car jumped
over the left rear fender of the car and covered them both. And they
sped off." (Later) "It looked to me like the President was shot. If, in
that very brief,
chaotic visual moment, if what I saw and registered was accurate, it
looked to me as if it was fatal." (11-24-03 article in U.S.
News and World Report) “There were three shots. They were very distinct. Later on, in asking to re-create the time
sequence, my timing on it was six and a half seconds. It was a very, very vivid memory. Mr. Kennedy didn’t really slump. He sort of jerked up, and his arms went up
and his hands went up towards his chin. As the shots continued, Jackie screamed something and tried to get
up...the Secret Service man sprinted in from the trailing car and vaulted over
the left rear fender and put himself on top of both of them and shoved them down. That’s when they were both in the back seat
and Kennedy’s foot was dangling over the side.” (History Channel program "Our Generation", broadcast 2007)
(The shots) "And I glanced over here at the Depository Building, and
then boom the second shot..." (After the shots) "A cop he got off his
motorcycle and he said "Everybody get down" and I
bounced right back up and ran across the street and picked up Bill and
Gayle Newman--I didn't know their names of the couple at the time--they
had two little kids--and I said "Are you okay?" And he said "Yeah, but
they got the President. They blew the side of his head in."
(Max Holland's discussion of the video just described during a 5-7-15 appearance at the Sixth Floor Museum, video found on youtube) (He quotes Allman) "At the time of the first shot they were right about with the lamp post." (He then asserts) "Well, there's a lamp post not three feet from the black and white sign that Amos Euins had identified. So I was able to establish (that) at least some eyewitnesses (will) corroborate a shot that occurred before the Zapruder film." (Response by Max Holland after yours truly, Dale Myers and Todd Vaughan pointed out that Allman had pointed to a different lamp post in the video just described than the one Holland had indicated during his appearance at the Sixth Floor Museum, posted by Jeff Morley on the JFK Facts website 6-13-15 ) “I have no doubt whatsoever that the lamppost is correctly identified in my presentation. I confirmed as much with Mr. Allman before my presentation, and he was also in the audience during the presentation.” (A second response by Max Holland to the claim he'd misrepresented the lamp post, posted by Jeff Morley on the JFK Facts website, 6-18-15) “This is a still taken during the 2011 filming of NatGeo documentary. When I showed it to Allman he identified lamppost circled in red as the lamppost he referred to during his 2013 Dealey Plaza interview. You can also note how close the lamppost was to the black and white sign referred to by Amos Euins. (We had to construct a mock-up because B&W sign had long since been removed; but the evidence of where it was in the ground was still there and that’s where we placed the mock-up)." (Note: Holland's use of Allman as a witness for a shot fired before Zapruder started filming is discussed in Chapter 19c.)
Analysis: as Allman raced across the street to the knoll after the shots, and then went into the depository to calmly call his television station, as opposed to the police, it seems clear he did not initially believe he heard three loud shots come from the building, no matter what he would come to claim later. Although he said the limo was near him at the time of the shots, and that the shots were well-spaced, which support the LPM scenario, he also said he couldn’t remember if the cops returned fire, indicating he really didn’t remember how many shots he’d heard and whether or not they came from the same location. In his initial comments, furthermore, he indicated that he'd seen Kennedy slump as a response to the first shot. This is at odds with the LPM scenario. Still, he's a hard one to pigeon-hole. While Max Holland, in his 5-7-15 appearance at the Sixth Floor Museum, used Allman's recent claim the first shot rang out when the limo was by a lamp post to support his own claim the first shot was fired when Kennedy was passing a traffic light, before Zapruder started filming, this is pure silliness. As discussed in chapter 19c, Allman pointed to a different lamp post than the one by the traffic light. Allman's statements make it quite clear, moreover, that the limousine was already past him when the first shot rang out. This rules out the lamp post by the traffic light on the north side of the street directly across from Allman's location. It makes it clear, furthermore, that the lamp post to which Allman was referring was the lamp post near the Thornton Freeway sign, which was adjacent to the limo's location at frames Z-190-224, where so many others placed the limo at the time of the first shot. Although Holland subsequently claimed he showed a picture to Allman, and that the now quite senior Allman verified that the lamp post was the one by the traffic light, this is more weak sauce, IMO, as the photo Holland showed Allman only showed the lamp post he was trying to get him to confirm, and not the far more likely lamp post just down the road. Probable first shot hit 190-224. Last two shots possibly bunched together (with the last shot after the head shot.)
Terrance Ford (2-3-64 Secret Service Report, based on a 1-31-64 interview with Ford, CD354 p4-6)) "Mr. Ford stated that he accompanied Mr. Allman to the corner of Houston and Elm streets to watch the procession; then, upon hearing shots, he retreated to a concrete building near the side of the small park bordering Elm Street, then running back towards the Texas School Book Depository." (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, CD950, p50) "Subject stated that on November 22, 1963, he and Pierce M. Allman, also with WFAA, were standing near the corner of Elm and Houston watching President John F. Kennedy's motorcade. Suddenly, three shots rang out and he and Allman started running. A few moments later they ran into the Texas School Book Depository Building where Allman used a telephone to call his radio station." Analysis: it's clear from the early statements of Allman and Ford that they had no inkling the shots came from the sniper's nest, across the street and above them. As they told the Secret Service and DPD that an unidentified white male pointed out a phone to them when they entered the building, and as it was later determined this man was Oswald, it seems clear neither of them were particularly observant that day. Too vague.
Down on the Corner
As standing on the southwest corner of Elm and Houston, with the grassy knoll on the left and the school book depository on the right, would put one in perfect position to judge the source of the shots, the recollections of those on this corner are particularly vital.Jim Towner was standing on the southwest corner of Elm and Houston, taking pictures, along with his daughter and his wife. His wife, Pat Towner, never publicly commented on the assassination. (Article in Life Magazine, 11-24-67) “Towner remembers noticing people in some of the Depository windows, one of whom he now believes was Oswald… At the sound of the shots, (his daughter Tina) shouted, “some dummy is lighting firecrackers!” But her father, an experienced rifleman, knew better. He sprinted down the motorcade route and took one final picture.” (Pictures of the Pain, p.217) (After taking a picture as the Presidential limousine turned the corner) “Jim Towner had rushed a number of yards further down Elm Street. Somewhere along the way he became aware that the noise was caused by a high-powered rifle. As the presidential, vice-presidential and follow-up vehicles had quickly departed, he now took a picture of activity further down Elm Street.” (3-30-96 oral history interview of Jim, Patricia and Tina Towner, as described in The Kennedy Half-Century by Larry Sabato, 2013) "The Towners were taking film and photos in Dealey Plaza seconds before the assassination. Jim Towner noticed a man in a 'white coat' peering out the sixth floor window of the School Book Depository. 'And I didn't know who it was,' he recalled. 'And I told the patrolman, I said, 'That nut. He doesn't know that he can come down and watch it from the street' The policeman didn't bat an eye. Plenty of other people were hanging out of their office windows, he replied nonchalantly. Jim conceded the point and forgot about the man in the window, who was presumably Lee Oswald. As the Presidential motorcade passed, the Towners began walking back toward their car, parked near the railroad tracks on the opposite side of the picket fence, when they heard a loud popping noise. 'Oh mercy, some fool is shooting firecrackers,' said Mrs. Towner. 'That's no firecracker,' replied Jim, That's a thirty-(aught) six rifle.' He heard a total of three shots, which he thought had come from the Book Depository." (Summary of Towner on the Sixth Floor Museum website) "Having served in the military, Jim Towner recognized gunfire immediately. He later recalled, 'Pat said, ‘Oh mercy, some fool is shooting firecrackers.’ I said, ‘That’s no firecracker. That’s a .30-06 rifle.'" Analysis: The last Towner picture was taken from approximately 40 feet further down the street from where he had been standing, and was taken at least 20 seconds after the last shot had been fired. This might be taken as an indication that he didn’t respond to the gunshots until after the last one was fired, and that there was not a five second gap between the last shots. The three accounts above vary, however, on the only bit they have in common--on the circumstance of Towner's realizing he was hearing rifle shots. So it's tough to say what he recalled. Heard Three shots.
Tina Towner was
with her father on the corner, filming Kennedy’s turn onto Elm with a movie
camera. (Article in Life Magazine, 11-24-67)
“was using a movie camera to film the procession…up to within moments of the
first shot. She stopped when all she
could see was the rear of the President’s car. At the sound of shots she shouted “Some dummy is lighting firecrackers.”
(Article in Teen Magazine, 6-19-68, as quoted in Pictures
of the Pain, p. 217) “Now I was beginning to leave when I heard the sky fall
in—the loudest crack of a rifle I had ever heard! At that time I had the least notion it was a
gun. The truth of the matter was that I
thought it was a firecracker.” (After
hearing another boom I) “looked around to see where they were coming
from. Finally, the third and last boom
and, with that one, I turned to look at the School Book Depository Building.” (3-30-96 oral history for the Sixth Floor Museum) "I was looking through the viewfinder, so I saw what the camera saw." (2-01-08 oral history for the Sixth Floor Museum) ??? (Interview in JFK: The Lost Bullet, broadcast 11-20-11) "My
dad recognized the gunshot." (The former Miss Towner, now Mrs. Pender,
says this while looking at a copy of Kennedy's limo in the location historian Max
Holland has proposed Kennedy's limo was at the time of the first shot.
The program does not quote her on the accuracy of this location, and
it's obvious to any long-time researcher why they do not. At Holland's
location the limo is a good 20 feet closer to Pender than the limo was
at the end of her film, which she has consistently claimed ended BEFORE
the first shot was fired! The program's creators then cut to her
discussing the relative closeness of the limo to the curb, and use this
to suggest the first shot, if aimed at the limo when they propose the first shot was fired, could have hit a traffic light.) (11-22-11 news report and interview on KXAN, found on the KXAN.com website. The italicized statements are additional statements found only in the televised version of this news report, as found on youtube) "I don't know if it was the first shot, or the second shot, but somebody pulled me down to the ground...When I couldn't see anything but the back of the limo I stopped taking pictures," said Pender. 'About that time is when the first gunshot rang out. It sounded like firecrackers. That's what I thought was going on. My father told me that he knew what was happening. He said somebody had tried to shoot the President.' Pender's film is part of a new documentary by National Geographic, JFK: The Lost Bullet. The channel called on Austin-based Image Trends to restore several films from that day. 'We know that film captures a lot more than is normally shown,' said Image Trends CEO Dan Sullivan. The company normally uses a custom machine and software to restore Hollywood features. The restoration revealed several new details of that day. 'We were able to gather information about images beneath the bridge, the railroad bridge,' said Sullivan.'We found out we could capture the film at 10 times the normal exposure and look into the shadows and see there was no shooter on the grassy knoll.' The main coup was determining what happened to a missing third bullet. Witnesses including Pender recall hearing three shots. 'The
first bullet was actually shot way before they thought, and it hit the
traffic light,' said Sullivan. 'Consequently, we went back, looked
images of the traffic light, sure enough there was a hole.'" (Sullivan's comments confirm that those working on JFK: The Lost Bullet KNEW Pender thought the first shot was fired when the limo
was further down the street than where the program proposed it had been. The dishonesty of JFK: The Lost Bullet is further discussed in Chapter 19c.)
(Tina Towner, My Story as the Youngest Photographer at the Kennedy Assassination, published 2012) (As to whether or not she saw the President get shot) "No." (On what she heard) "Three shots." (Describing the shooting) "Standing to my left Daddy opened the viewfinder on the top of his Yashica...and captured one magnificent color photograph of the presidential limousine...At the same time, I took 8 mm movies...I looked through the viewfinder, as Daddy taught me to do, and smoothly panned the camera in motion with the limousine, as it turned left onto Elm directly in front of and around me...I believe Daddy was about to head down the hill to get another photo, but there was not enough time before the first gunshot sounded only a second or two, if that, after I stopped filming. My first thought was that someone was throwing firecrackers out of a building window. I wasn't the only one who thought that. When I heard the first gunshot, there had been enough time for me to move back toward or onto the curb. I stopped and looked up at the buildings. I didn't see anything, but I didn't know what I was looking for. I heard three gunshots, and sometime between the first and last an unknown man grabbed my arm and pulled me to the ground. He held onto my arm until he thought it was safe to get up." (Final thoughts) "I heard three shots, which seemed equidistant apart, and sounded, to my young ears, like firecrackers." (11-17-13 article in the Los Angeles Times) "The limousine, with the Kennedys sitting behind Texas Gov. John Connally and his wife, turned off Houston onto Elm. Pender gazed through the viewfinder, and her hands trembled with excitement as she tried to keep the first couple in the frame. She was struck by Jackie Kennedy's beauty. 'She seemed to be looking right at us,' Pender said. She stopped filming seconds later as the limousine rounded the corner. Then came what sounded to her like firecrackers, and someone yanked her to the ground. She got up moments later but couldn't see her parents, who had been swallowed up by the panicked crowd." (Interview on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, broadcast 11-17-13) "I heard three shots." (11-22-13 Reuters article found in the Chicago Tribune) "As the first gunshot sounded, I looked up to the building, thinking somebody was throwing firecrackers out of the window, but I only had a split second before some stranger, and I still don't know who it was, pulled me to the ground." Analysis: as Towner’s film concludes approximately 1 ½ seconds before Z-160 (Dale Myers' study of the films indicates it was more like 2.2 seconds), and as she said she was beginning to leave when she heard the first shot, it makes more sense for her to have heard this shot at Z-190 or afterward, than at Z-160. Additionally, if this first crack was as loud as she says it was, and at Z-160, it seems that more than one or two people would have looked around. It bears noting that Sixth Floor Museum Curator Gary Mack has used Towner as evidence the first shot was fired circa Z-160. To do this, however, he claims Towner has "always been specific" that the first shot came a second or two after she stopped filming--an assertion unsupported by her earliest statements. He also inches the timing of the shot she heard up a bit by claiming she stopped filming a second or two before Zapruder started filming at Z-133, when even Dale Myers, to whom Mack usually defers, acknowledges she stopped filming less than one second before Zapruder started filming. Myers, in fact, says it was .7 seconds. Myers' claim is even more problematic for historian Holland than Mack, however. You see, Holland's theory is that the first shot was fired 1.4 seconds before Z-133. This would place it, according to single-assassin theorist Myers' analysis, about .7 seconds before Towner stopped filming, when Towner has long insisted she heard the shot after she stopped filming. Holland's theory was thus thoroughly at odds with the long-time recollections of one of the witnesses the creators of JFK: The Lost Bullet used to support his silly theory. Their use of her in their program, and their hiding from their viewers that she disagreed with the premise of their program, is a violation of the public trust. Probable first shot 190-224.
L.R. Terry and his statements appear in Jim Marrs' 1989 book Crossfire, and nowhere else. He claimed to have been standing across the street from the school book depository. His credibility is open to question. Still, there are many unidentified witnesses in this location, and he may very well have been one of them. (Interview with Jim Marrs, published in Crossfire, 1989) "I was right across from that book store when Kennedy was shot. I saw a gun come out of there just after I saw Kennedy and Connally go by. I could only see a hand, but I couldn't tell if (the man) was right-handed or left-handed. He did not have on a white shirt. The parade stopped right in front of the building. There was a man with him. They (investigators) could find out that the man who killed Kennedy had somebody with him. But I don't know who it is...I just saw the gun barrel and the hand." Analysis: it's hard to see how he could see just the hand of the shooter, and yet be so sure there was another man with him. Too vague.
Howard Brennan was sitting on the Houston side of a cement wall encircling the fountain at Houston and Elm. He can be seen in Zapruder film wearing a hard hat. (11-22-63 statement to the Dallas Sheriff’s Department, 19H470) “ I was sitting on a ledge or wall near the intersection of Houston Street and Elm Street near the red light pole. I was facing in a northerly direction looking across the street from where I was sitting. I take this building across the street to be about 7 stories anyway in the east end of the building and the second row of windows from the top I saw a man in this window. I had seen him before the President's car arrived. He was just sitting up there looking down apparently waiting for the same thing I was to see the President. I did not notice anything unusual about this man. He was a white man in his early 30's, slender, nice looking, slender and would weigh about 165 to 175 pounds. He had on light colored clothing but definately not a suit. I proceeded to watch the President's car as it turned left at the corner where I was and about 50 yards from the intersection of Elm and Houston and to a point I would say the President's back was in line with the last windows I have previously described I heard what I thought was a back fire. It run in my mind that it might be someone throwing firecrackers out the window of the red brick building and I looked up at the building. I then saw this man I have described in the window and he was taking aim with a high powered rifle. I could see all of the barrel of the gun. I do not know if it had a scope on it or not. I was looking at the man in this windows at the time of the last explosion. Then this man let the gun down to his side and stepped down out of sight. He did not seem to be in any hurry. I could see this man from about his belt up. There was nothing unusual about him at all in appearance. I believe that I could identify this man if I ever saw him again." (11-23-63 article in the Dallas Morning News) "'After the first shot, I looked up and saw him. The gun was sticking out of the window. I saw him fire a second time. He was a slender guy, a nice looking guy. He didn't seem to be in no hurry,' said Brennan." (11-23-63 article in the Chicago Tribune) "One of these was HL Brennan, 44, a steam-fitter, who told police later, 'After the first shot I looked back and up the building wall and saw the man in the window with a gun. 'The barrel was sticking out the window. I saw him steady it, aim, and fire again.'"(11-23-63 FBI report based upon an 11-22-63 interview, CD5 p12-14) “He said the automobile had passed down Elm Street (going in a westerly direction) 30 yards from where he (Brennan) was seated, when he heard a loud report which he first thought to be the 'backfire' of an automobile. He said he does not distinctly remember a second shot but he remembers “more than one noise” as if someone was shooting fire crackers, and consequently he believes there must have been a second shot before he looked in the direction of the Texas School Book Depository Building. Upon hearing the report, or reports, he looked across the street to the Texas School Book Depository, where he saw a man in a window on the sixth floor near the southeast corner of the building. The man he observed in the window had what appeared to be a 'heavy' rifle in his hands. He could not tell whether or not this rifle had a telescopic sight, as the rifle was protruding only about half its length outside the window. He was positive that after he had observed this man in the window, he saw this person take 'deliberate aim' and fire a shot. He then observed this person take the rifle from his shoulder and hold it by the barrel of the rifle, as if he were resting the butt of the rifle on the floor. He said this individual observed the scene on the street below, and then stepped back from the window.” (12-18-63 FBI report, CD205 p14) "He advised that about 7 p.m., November 22, 1963, when he observed a line-up of individuals in the Dallas Police Department he selected Lee Harvey Oswald as the individual most closely resembling the person whom he had seen with a rifle in the window of the TSBD building...He stated that he now can say that he is sure that Lee Harvey Oswald was the person he saw in the window at the time of the President's assassination...Brennan stated that he was able to observe Oswald's head and shoulders in the window and possibly down as far as Oswald's belt." (1-10-64 FBI report, CD329, p7-8) "Approximately ten minutes after sitting down on this retaining wall, the Presidential motorcade turned onto Houston Street, and he was able to see President Kennedy and his wife pass approximately 30 yards west on Elm Street from where he was seated. The car passed out of sight and shortly thereafter, he heard one shot, which he first believed to have been a firecracker, and he immediately looked toward the TSBD Building and saw a man in the same window, near the southeast corner of the building, and noticed that this man took deliberate aim and shot the rifle again. When he saw the man shoot the rifle this time, he realized it was the same man that he had seen standing in the window a few minutes before. After the last shot, he immediately fell off the retaining wall and ran for an officer...Mr. Brennan estimated that it was approximately ninety yards from the window where the shots were fired to the area where the President's car had passed out of sight." (3-24-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 3H140-161) “after the President had passed my position, I really couldn’t say how many feet or how far, a short distance I would say, I heard this crack that I positively would say was a backfire…Well, then something, just right after this explosion, made me think it was a firecracker being thrown from the Texas book store. And I glanced up. And this man I saw previous was aiming for his last shot…it appeared to me he was standing up or leaning against the left window sill, with gun shouldered to his right shoulder, holding the gun with his left hand and taking positive aim and fired his last shot. As I calculate a couple of seconds. He drew the gun back from the window as though he was drawing it back to his side and maybe paused for another second as though to assure hisself that he hit his mark and then he disappeared. And at the same moment, I was diving off of approximately that firewall and to the right for bullet protection of this stone wall that is a little higher on the Houston side…I don’t know what made me think that there was firecrackers throwed out of the book store unless I did hear the second shot, because I positively thought the first shot was a backfire, and subconsciously I must have heard a second shot but I do not recall it. I could not swear to it.”
(Interview with CBS, aired 9-27-64) “I looked directly across and up, possibly at a 45 degree angle. And this man, same man I had saw prior to the President’s arrival, was in the window and taking aim for his last shot. After he fired the last or the third shot he didn’t seem to be in a great rush, hurry. He seemed to pause for a moment to see if for sure he'd accomplished his purpose. And he brought the gun back to rest in an upright position as though he was satisfied. (About the impact of this shot on Kennedy) “His head just exploded.” (His statement to CBS as quoted in his book, Eyewitness to History, published 1987) “There were three shots fired and all of them came from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building.” (Eyewitness to History, published 1987) “When the presidential car moved just a few feet past where I was sitting, President Kennedy looked back to our side of the street. Just at that moment the whole joy and good will of the day was shattered by the sound of a shot. It took an instant to realize that something had happened. My first instinct was to disbelieve my own ears….My first thought was that it must have been a backfire…I looked up at the Texas School Book Depository. What I saw made my “blood run cold!” Poised in the corner window of the sixth floor was the same young man I had noticed several times before the motorcade arrived. There was one difference—this time he had a rifle in his hands, pointing toward the presidential car. He steadied the rifle against the cornice and while he moved quickly, he didn’t seem to be in any kind of a panic. All of this happened in the matter of a second or two. Then came the sickening sound of a second shot and I looked quickly back in the presidential car which had moved only a few feet, still not apparently aware that it was the assassin’s target. I saw Governor John Connally reacting to being wounded and the instinctive response of his wife to try and help him. I remember thinking, “Oh my God! He’s going to kill them, he’s going to kill them all!”…Just then a woman close to me screamed in full realization of what was happening. She uttered something like “Oh my God!” But even as she did my eyes darted back to that solitary figure who was changing history. He was aiming again and I wanted to pray, to beg God to somehow make him miss his target…Then another shot rang out. All of this took only a few seconds…Simultaneous with the third shot, I swung my eyes back to the Presidential car which had moved on down my left on Elm, and I saw a sight that made my whole being sink in despair. A spray of red came from around the President’s head. I knew the bullet had struck its intended target...By the time the third shot had been fired, there was sheer pandemonium.”
Analysis: Brennan, of course, is most famous for seeing
someone who could have been Oswald, and who he later claimed was Oswald, firing
the last shot from the sniper’s nest. Some, like the Warren Commission and
writer Gerald Posner, consider him the most important witness. But one mustn’t overlook the problems with
Brennan’s statements. His recollection of telling CBS that there were three shots fired
from the sniper’s nest, when he testified to hearing only two shots, one of
which he thought was a backfire, and his seeing only one fired from the nest, is
indicative of a desire to please. This should make one wonder about Brennan’s refusing
to identify Oswald while he was alive, but then fingering the man once he was
dead. His oft-repeated claim that he did so out of fear for his
life is belied by his talking to a UPI reporter, and describing the
shooter, within 24 hours of the assassination, when Oswald was still
alive. Brennan’s ability to rewrite his
memories to fit his desired scenario is demonstrated best in his
memoirs. Here he remembers the President
and Connally being just a few feet away from him at the time of the shots, not
150, and his hearing three shots, not two, and his seeing
two shots fired, not one, and his seeing them hit
Connally and Kennedy. Not only did he never mention this last assertion
previously but it contradicts his assertion to the FBI that he watched
Kennedy disappear from view before the first shot. It’s
extremely doubtful, furthermore, that he
could even have seen the Connallys react to the shots as described, as
Connallys were on the far side of the motorcycle escorts and the
him, on a downward slope. Based purely on his early statements, then,
says he heard a shot, turned to the window after something caught his
attention, and then saw the sniper take aim for a final shot. Overlooked
by all too many is that he looked up because he thought that someone
had thrown firecrackers from a window, which means he didn't hear a sound come from the window itself, but below it. He also said firecrackers--plural--indicating he'd heard more than one sound at this point. Most every
other witness said the second shot was quite loud. This raises the possibility that Brennan heard an early shot, most likely
the shot at around Z-190 heard by most everyone at the corner but dismissed it as
a firecracker, and that shortly thereafter he heard the bullet of a silenced weapon
whiz past, thus “more than one noise”.
This second burst could be the bullet or bullets striking Kennedy and Connally
at frame 224, the second shot “heard” by Nellie Connally. Brennan then looked
up and saw the sniper take aim and fire the last shot from the school book
depository, the second shot heard by most others. As he was “diving off approximately that firewall” at this same
time it seems possible he could have failed to appreciate a shot or noise coming just after this shot. Only heard two clear shots. Possible LPM scenario. Possible first shot hit 190.
Amos Euins sat on the fountain wall to the right of Brennan. There is considerable confusion over Euins' earliest statements, and whether or not he said the shooter was a white man or a black man. Statements regarding his identification of the shooter's race have been highlighted. (11-22-63 report to KRLD and CBS by Jim Underwood, about 30 minutes after the assassination) "As I told you earlier, a youngster said that he saw a colored man fire three times from the window of that building... one of the officers found a small colored boy who said he that he saw a man fire from about the fourth floor window of the school book depository building." (Note: this officer was D.V. Harkness, who never confirmed nor denied Underwood's claim Euins said the shooter was black.)(11-22-63 signed statement to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, 16H963, 19H474) “I saw the President turn the corner in front of me and I waived at him and he waived back. I watched the car on down the street and about the time the car got near the black and white sign I heard a shot. I started looking around and then I looked up in the red brick building. I saw a man in the window with a gun and I saw him shoot twice…I could tell the gun was a rifle and it sounded like an automatic rifle the way he was shooting. This was a white man, he did not have on a hat. I just saw this man for a few seconds.” (11-29-63 memorandum from SA Leo Robertson in the Dallas FBI files, as found in the Weisberg Archives) "Amos Lee Euins...advised that on the day of the assassination he was standing on the the northeast corner of the intersection of Elm and Houston Streets. He stated that the car in which the President was riding had turned the corner and was proceeding on down Elm. He stated since he could no longer see the President's car, he happened to glance up and noticed what appeared to be the barrel of a rifle protruding from a window near the top of the Texas School Book Depository Building. He stated he saw a man's hand on what appeared to be the rifle stock and that he knew it was a rifle because he heard the shots fired. He stated he could not tell anything about the man and that he never saw anything other than what appeared to be his hand on the stock." (12-14-63 FBI report, CD205 p12) "He said after the President's car started down the hill, he heard what he thought was a car backfire and he looked around and also glanced at the TSBD building, and on the fifth floor where he he had seen what he thought to be a metal rod, he noticed a rifle in the window and saw the second and third shots fired. He stated he saw a man's hand on what appeared to be the trigger housing and he could also see a bald spot on the man's head. He stated he did not see the face of this individual and could not identify him. He said he was sure this man was white, because his hand extended outside the window on the rifle. He stated he also heard what he believes was a fourth shot, and that the individual in the window, after firing the fourth shot, began looking around and he (EUINS) at this time hid behind a concrete partition. He said he saw this individual withdraw his rifle and step back in the window... Euins advised he could not distinguish the features of the man standing at the window, and as he had previously stated, he only saw his hand and a bald spot on his head." (12-23-63 FBI report, CD205 p.i) “Amos Lee Euins, age 14, states saw white man…in window…with rifle after first shot and observed this man fire second and third shots and what he believes may have been a fourth shot.” (3-10-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 2H201-210) ‘then when the first shot was fired, I started looking around, thinking it was backfire. Everybody else started looking round. Then I looked up at the window, and he shot again... I got behind this little fountain, and then he shot again. (When asked how many shots he heard) “I believe there was four to be exact…After he shot the first two times, I was just standing back here. And then after he shot again, he pulled the gun back in the window. And then all the police ran back over here in the track vicinity… The first shot I was standing here… And as I looked up there, you know, he fired another shot, you know, as I was looking. So I got behind this fountain thing right in there, at this point B… I got behind there. And then I watched, he did fire again. Then he started looking down towards my way, and then he fired again.” (When asked what he saw in the building) "I seen a bald spot on this man's head, trying to look out the window. He had a bald spot on his head. I was looking at the bald spot. I could see his hand, you know the rifle laying across in his hand. And I could see his hand sticking out on the trigger part. And after he got through, he just pulled it back in the window." (When asked what kind of a look he got at the shooter) "All I got to see was the man with a spot in his head, because he had his head something like this." (When asked for the record if he means the man was looking down the rifle) "Yes, sir, and I could see the spot on his head." (When asked to describe the man) "I wouldn't know how to describe him, because all I could see was the spot and his hand." (When if he was slender or fat) "I didn't get to see him." (When asked if he could if he was tall or short) "No." (When asked the man's race) "I couldn't tell, because these boxes were throwing a reflection, shaded." (When asked if he could tell if the man was black or white) "No, sir." (When asked by an incredulous Arlen Specter 'Couldn't even tell that? But you have described that he had a bald--) "Spot in his head. Yes, sir; I could see the bald spot in his head." (When asked if he could tell the color of the man's hair) "No, sir." (When asked if he could tell if his hair was dark or light) "No, sir." (When asked how far back the bald spot stretched) "I would say about right along in here." (Specter then asks: "Indicating about 2 1/2 inches above where you hairline is. Is that about what you are saying? To which Euins responds) "Yes, sir; right along in here." (When asked again if he'd got a good look at the man) "No, sir; I did not." (When asked if he could tell anything about the man's clothes) "No, sir." (Specter then reads Euins the statement he'd signed in which he claimed the shooter was a white man. He is then asked if the statement refreshes his memory) "No, sir; I told the man that I could see a white spot on his head, but I didn't actually say it was a white man. I said I couldn't tell. But I saw a white spot in his head." (When then asked if his best recollection was that he doesn't know if the man was a white man or a negro) "Yes, sir." (When then asked if he'd told the police he'd seen a white man, or if they'd made a mistake) "They must have made a mistake, because I told them I could see a white spot on his head."
(4-1-64 testimony before the Warren Commission
of KRLD reporter James Underwood) (Describing the aftermath of the
shooting, 6H167-171) "I ran down there and I think I took some pictures
men--yes, I know I did, going in and out of the building. By that time
there was one police officer there and he was a three-wheeled motorcycle
officer and a little colored boy whose last name I remember as Eunice."
(When asked "Euins?") "It may have been Euins. It was difficult to
understand when he said his name. He was telling the motorcycle officer
he had seen a colored man lean out of the window upstairs and he had a
rifle. He was telling this to the officer and the officer took him over
and put him in a squad car. By that time, motorcycle officers were
arriving, homicide officers were arriving and I went over and asked this
boy if he had seen someone with a rifle and he said "Yes, sir." I said,
"Were they white or black?" He said, "It was a colored man." I said,
"Are you sure it was a colored man?" He said, "Yes, sir" and I asked him
his name and the only thing I could understand was what I thought his
name was Eunice." (4-9-64 testimony before the Warren Commission of officer D.V. Harkness, 6H308-315) (When asked by David Belin if he remembered anything Euins had told him beyond that the shots had come from the sniper's nest window) "No, sir." (When then asked if Euins had said he'd seen a rifle.) "He couldn't tell." (Note that this last response is at odds with Euins' own statements, and suggests Harkness was being deliberately vague about Euins' statements to him outside the building. Well, this in turn, suggests Euins DID tell Harkness he saw a black man, and that Harkness was under pressure to deny Euins told him anything beyond that the shots came from the sniper's nest. Or not. It also seems possible Harkness was anticipating Belin's asking him about Euins' statements regarding the race of the shooter, and responded to that question instead of the one in the transcript--about the rifle.) (Memo written by Kent Biffle as part of a project started in May, 1964, in which Dallas Morning News employees recorded their recollections of 11-22-63 for posterity. Note: this memo was first published in an 11-19-78 Dallas Times Herald
article by Biffle, and was subsequently published in JFK Assassination: The Reporters' Notes, 2013) (After first running to the
grassy knoll to see what was going on) "I ran east toward the Texas
School Book Depository. 'A policeman was talking to a black boy. 'It was a colored man done it. I saw him' the boy was saying. The boy was pointing toward the upper levels of the building." (5-7-64 testimony before the Warren Commission
of Secret Service Agent Forrest Sorrels, 7H332-350) (When asked if he'd
interviewed Euins in Dealey Plaza a short period after the shots had
been fired) "Yes, sir; I did. And he also said that he had heard the
noise there, and that he had looked up and saw the man at the window
with the rifle, and I asked him if he could identify the person, and he
said, no, he couldn't, he said he couldn't tell whether he was colored
or white." (11-21-64 AP article found in
the Brandon Manitoba Sun) "Amos Lee Euins, 16, schoolboy who went with
friends to the end of the motorcade route because he thought they could
get a better view than in the crowds downtown. He saw the president
fine. And also saw a rifle being withdrawn from the sixth floor of the
Depository. Ever since the phone has been ringing at the Euins home.
Often it is a man with a heavy voice saying "Amos better be careful with
what he says. I have a complete copy of what he told police." "I got a
phone call just last week," said Amos' mother, Eva, 40. "Twenty minutes
later he called back. It sounded like the same heavy voice. I don't
think it's a prank "cuz no grown man is going to play that much. It.
makes me uneasy, it really does." The Euins' told police but didn't ask
for protection and none was offered. There have been a lot of crank
calls to figures in the assassination. Meanwhile at the Euins home a
light burns on the front and back porches all night. Amos doesn't
usually take the bus to school. Members of the family take him by car.
He isn't allowed to roam too far alone. Amos does not appear concerned
over the calls." (12-15-64 interview with Dallas Police Officer
J. Herbert Sawyer as reported in FBI File 105-82555, sec. 224, p39)
"Sawyer continued that only one other person was brought to him who had
reportedly seen the assassin. This person was a young negro boy named
Euins. However, upon talking to this youth, it was determined that
the boy could not describe the subject, not even to the detail as to
whether the man he had seen had been a white man or a negro."
interview with CBS, as shown in JFK: The Lost Bullet, 11-20-11) (When
asked how many shots he heard from the window) "Well, I heard three." (10-26-77 interview of D.V. Harness by HSCA investigators, HSCA record 180-10111-10106) "There was a little colored boy. Euins was his name. He was a school boy. He said he saw a rifle come from the window of the school book depository. The boy gave no description of a person, he just talked about the rifle." (Well, here, once again, Harkness appears to be obfuscating. He makes it sound like Euins offered no description of the shooter, and that he didn't even ask him for one... Well, this is hogwash. It seems obvious that Harkness asked Euins if he could give a description. So what was Euins' response? And, why, if he said he couldn't tell anything about the shooter, is Harkness so reluctant to say as much?) (1-19-92 interview with Gerald Posner, reported
in Case Closed, 1993) "I saw what I thought was a pipe. I saw it ahead
of time. It looked like a dark metal pipe hanging from the window, and I
figured 'Hey, it's got a pipe hanging off of it.' I never realized it
was a gun until the shooting started." (11-20-11 appearance on the National Geographic Channel TV program JFK: The Lost Bullet. Note" Euins' statements in this program are best understood in context. This context is provided in Chapter 19c.) (When asked about the location of the limo at the time of the first shot) "About the time they got right over there below that sign," (At this point, Euins points to a modern highway sign stretching out over Elm, which correlates to Kennedy's position circa Z-160. He continues) "then some shots started to ring out, and that's when I got down, behind this." (At this, he ducks down behind the concrete pedestal on the east side of the fountain.) (Euins is subsequently shown pointing to the limo used in the program at a location a few feet east of where he'd pointed before, at a point correlating to Kennedy's limo's location circa Z-150.) (When asked if "this is approximately the position it was.") "Right. It was just like that by the embankment right there about where it is now when the first shot sounded out. That's where the first shot, it speeded up, and then more shots came out." (When describing the shots) "There were three altogether. Like pow...pow pow." (The shooting sequence Euins recreates lasts less than 4 seconds. This thoroughly undercuts the theory pushed in the program, which holds that the shooting sequence was in fact much longer than previously believed, and was more like 11 seconds.)
Analysis: Euins’ statements fit quite nicely with the second interpretation of Brennan’s statements. He hears a shot, the same first shot as Brennan, then looks up at the window, and sees a man in the window with a rifle as the silenced shot which caught Brennan’s attention whizzes past. Euins, of course, interprets this as having been fired by the man he sees with a rifle. He then watches this man fire the head shot. The man looks down, and Brennan jumps off the wall. But Euins, who’d already jumped off the wall, hears another shot at this point. Since Euins failed to see the man operate the bolt between these last two shots, and they were very close together, moreover. he goes away thinking the man had fired an automatic rifle. The one problem with this is that Euins’ original statement was that he’d heard but three shots. Where did the fourth shot come from? Well, look again--in Euins’ original statement he doesn’t say he heard three shots, he says “I saw him shoot twice” and that it “sounded like an automatic rifle.” In other words, he heard more than one shot one or more of the times he saw the man shoot. As the black and white sign appears to be a reference to the Thornton Freeway sign, moreover, Euins’ statements are inconsistent with a first shot miss circa frame 160, or earlier. Heard four shots. First shot 190. Last two shots bunched together. Last shot after the head shot and quite possibly not even fired from the sniper’s nest.
Toni Glover was an 11-year old girl in 1963. She claims to have been one of the two girls watching the assassination from the pedestal along the east side of the fountain on 11-22-63. (These two girls can be seen in the Martin film, here. Glover claims to have been the one in blue.) In 2012, she announced that she was writing a book. Although her full story is yet to be revealed, here are some online posts which reflect her conclusions. (Description of Glover's interviews with the Sixth Floor Museum, as found on the museum's website) "Standing on a concrete pedestal at the corner of Houston and Elm Streets
in Dealey Plaza, eleven-year-old Toni Glover witnessed the Kennedy
assassination. Seeing the president's death, connected emotionally to
her abusive childhood, had a traumatic impact on her life. Recorded
January 20, 1999, and March 14, 2012."
(Email to Gerda Dunkel from Sixth Floor Museum curator Gary Mack, regarding the young girl's identity, posted on the JFK Assassination Forum, 2-2-12) "Her name was Toni Glover, she was 11 years old and she did not know who
the other girl was. Toni did an oral history for The Sixth Floor Museum
in 1999, though a transcript has not yet been made. She thought two
shots were fired and she's recently returned to the Museum's Reading
Room to do research for some project." (4-15-12 post on youtube, in response to comments on a video by Gerda Dunkel, in which the identity of the girl in blue was discussed) "This is Toni Glover. And, yes, I was standing on top of a cement block
at the end of the stone wall. I've been back recently and taped 2 Oral
Histories for The Sixth Floor Museum." (4-16-12 post on youtube, in response to Dunkel's questions about what Glover remembered) "I'm afraid I'm not much help with conspiracy theories. I think a
nutcase had a fight with his wife that morning. Then he carried out a
delusional thought process and got lucky with his shots. I heard 2 clear
shots, maybe 3. The thing is, sounds downtown bounce off the buildings
making it almost impossible to identify shots and direction." (4-16-12 post on alt.assassination.JFK newsgroup, in which Glover announced her upcoming book.) "I've been writing a memoir about watching Kennedy's head explode, and I came across this site. For what it's worth, I was standing on top of a cement block at the corner of Houston and Elm. Eleven year old girl in a blue ski jacket. Robert Hughes, Mark Bell and Frances Dornan films all catch glimpses.
And as hard as it is for folks to believe it, one little jerk fired from the window and got off a couple of lucky shots. An idiot killed Kennedy. One idiot who had a huge fight with his wife that morning.
I had a panoramic view, and there was no conspiracy. Terrible sadness, but no conspiracy." (4-19-12 post on alt.assassination.JFK newsgroup, in which she responded to some of the researchers expressing skepticism) "Oh Lordy. I have stepped into it. I knew nothing about this site. It was late and I searched my name and Kennedy. When John's work showed up I was stunned and wrote a stupid email. Let's start over.
My name is Toni (Antoinette) Glover. I was born in Dallas, Texas at Methodist Hospital on February, 14, 1952. (That's right, Valentine's Day) I lived in Oak Cliff, about 5 minutes from downtown. I was eleven. After a lot of begging, my mom took me to the parade. We went straight to Dealey Plaza thinking the end of the parade would have the least people. I don't remember anyone else there when we arrived. An excited 11 year old, I kept running back and forth from my "perch" to Main Street looking down it to see if I could tell the cars were coming. I did this several times. On one of those trips to Main, a guy had a seizure at Main and Houston. I was afraid they would divert the parade because of the ambulance. I went back to my cement block before they turned onto Houston. When the limo passed he looked up, waved and smiled. Then he turned the corner and a couple of seconds later, his head exploded. There is a column that blocked my view for a couple of seconds, but then the car reappeared and bang. From my perspective, the plume of brains and blood sparkled a little in the Texas sun. I told my mom someone threw sparklers in the car!!!!
I have no other evidence of any kind about the assassination.
Announcing that Oswald was, "an idiot" and other remarkable statements I made were at best ill-informed. I am not an historian. I will stick to telling my experience and let you historians figure out who did what. My personal belief is that Oswald acted alone. But that's just my opinion. I didn't see anything like odd individuals, or flashes or anything else that would make me think otherwise. Loud noises echo in downtown Dallas. I "think" I heard 2 shots, but I have always qualified that by saying "everything echoes down there". I'm not sure how anyone can tell where the shots came from. But many feel otherwise.
I'm happy to answer questions about my life and experience, but drawing conclusions is above my pay grade. I know I was standing on the cement block the entire time Kennedy was on Houston and Elm. I have no idea who's view I blocked. And I'm not sure who is on the block with me. I doubt my mom would have crawled up that high."
(4-21-12 post on alt.assassination.JFK newsgroup in response to a series of questions from Don Roberdeau) (When asked if she was on the pedestal for all the shots) "Yes. I was up on the pedestal from the moment the limo turned onto Houston, to the second it went under the Triple Underpass. So I was up there for the shots." (When asked if she followed the limo the whole way) "There is a column in the Plaza that blocked my view for a second. I think the first shot was when my view was blocked. I'll send the video and you can see exactly when I could see what." (When asked how many shots she recalled hearing) "I have no idea how many shots were fired (I think I heard 2), but anyone serious about this needs to go down there and listen to how much it echoes in the canyons of downtown Dallas. I have always qualified my answer by saying it echoed so much, I couldn't tell how many shots (at least 2) or where any of them came from. After the first shot, I looked at my mom, but other than that, my eyes were glued on the car. It was an extraordinarily emotional time for me. I don't know how many people have seen a human head explode, but I was eleven and it traumatized me. So remembering details is mixed with a LOT of emotion. I do my best." (When asked if she smelled gunpowder) "Didn't smell anything (certain on that one)." (When asked if she noticed the behavior of the motorcycles and cars in the motorcade other than the limousine) "I saw there were cars following, but again, my gaze was transfixed on the president's car. You can see in one of the photos I'm waving my arms at the president as he turned the corner onto Elm. I didn't pay any attention to the other cars." (When asked what happened after the shots) "In the aftermath people were stunned at first, then it became chaotic. I had yelled "someone threw fireworks in the car" and I remember people looking up at me cause they couldn't see anything and I could. But that lasted only second, because I immediately tried to get down and people had started moving down Elm...As soon as I got down, I looked around for sources that might know what's really happening, and saw a police motorcycle (maybe 2?) parked in front of the SBD steps. I ran over there to listen to what the police were being told. I tried not to act like I was listening. I was there for maybe 30 seconds (I don't know exactly) when I heard the words "shot in the head." I immediately ran back to my mom. She had a heart condition and we were always trying to protect her from stress, so I lied and said, "It only grazed his head, let's go home." We walked the block to our car and drove straight down Elm like any other day. It wasn't blocked off. It amazes me that they let cars drive through the scene 5 minutes after the assassination. Now that we have all the crime solving TV, it seems odd that a crime scene was not blocked off. SO, in a nutshell: I was on the pedestal until the car vanished, I got off and ran across the street to listen to the police radios, I went back to my mom (still near the pedestal) and told her his head was grazed and that we should leave right away. I was acutely aware of her heart condition and wanted to get her out of there ASAP. SO I was in the Plaza 2-3 minutes after the final shot? Timing this is very difficult for me. It could have been 1 minute, but not more than 5. I'm guessing it took 2-3 minutes for me to go hear the radios, get back to my mom and leave. I know it was fast." (When asked her mom's recollections and if the other person on the pedestal could be her mother) "Mom died in 1996. In fact it was her death that made me start thinking I needed to contact someone at the Museum. The thing she talked about most was the guy who wouldn't let us down. Geez it's hard for me to remember what she wore. I know I tried to get her up on the pedestal, but it was high. At one point when we were waiting, we both sat on the stone fence. But that was long before anything happened. I want to say that's mom next to me, but I can't be sure. Logically, it would have been odd for her to lose all dignity and climb up there. But it looks like her coat in Dorman. The woman could definitely be my mom. It looks like I hug her as the limo turns onto Elm. The top of the pedestal is slanted, very slightly from the edge to the center. That made it a little tricky not to fall off. I was probably trying to steady whoever is up there. That's the best I can do unless I find a family picture of her in that coat. I'll tell my sisters to go through some family albums." (When asked if she'd brought along any friends) "No friends there. Only me and mom." (Final comments) "I wish I had an exact schematic drawing of my end of the reflecting pool to the corner curb. I could point out exactly where I was and when. Trying to explain it with words doesn't produce a clear picture. Did I answer all the questions. Parts are clear and some parts are fuzzy. I can only do my best. That's how memory works, well mine does. Clear pieces/fuzzy pieces. Sometimes a picture clears up a fuzzy memory. I thought trees blocked my view for that second I couldn't see the car, but when I went back in March, I climbed up on the pedestal and discovered it was the column, not a tree, that blocked my view. Things like that show you how memory tries to fill in the blanks." (11-18-13 article in the Wilkes-Barre Citizen's Voice) "'I went there with this magical thinking that just a wave and a smile would change my life forever, and he did indeed look up and smile and wave and it took my breath away. I was just floating on air. I was in the ether somewhere, and I had tunnel vision on the car. So I just kept watching the car as it went down the street and his head exploded." As a native Texan, Glover said she knows what a gunshot sounds like. She is certain she heard two in Dealey Plaza. She can't be sure about a third. After Kennedy's limo passed her perch and turned left onto Elm in front of the book depository, Glover said there was a noise people in the crowd acknowledged by turning their heads. It was a bang, she said, but it could have been a motorcycle or car backfiring. She heard what she knows was a gunshot a moment later. At that point, her view of Kennedy's car was blocked by a stone column. When it came back into view, Jacqueline Kennedy had leaned toward her husband, and it was apparent something odd was taking place. 'Then there was a gunshot,' Glover said, adding there was no mistaking it. Although she tried to convince herself she had not seen what she had seen, she watched Jacqueline Kennedy clamber onto the trunk of the limo and she knew. 'The second she jumped up was the second that everyone there knew something horrible had happened,' Glover said. 'This was the most sophisticated woman in the world and she was climbing out of the back seat in a skirt and she was sliding across the trunk. You couldn't say, 'OK, he's dead,' but you knew it was horrible. It was beyond unimaginable.'" (Interview on CBS 3 in Philadelphia, broadcast 11-20-13) (After discussing her excitement as the President passed) "And then he turned the corner and his head exploded." (The interviewer, Pat Ciarrocchi, later relates "I had asked Toni also about the shots she heard. She described a first loud bang, that got her attention, and then two gunshots.") Analysis: Glover's initial belief the column blocked her view of Kennedy at the time of the first shot suggests he was further down Elm Street at this time than he would have been circa frame 160. Researcher Don Roberdeau has added her onto his plat of Dealey Plaza and compared her position to that of the column at northwest end of the fountain, and concluded from this that the column would have blocked her view of Kennedy from Zapruder frame 180 to Zapruder frames 217-218. You can view his plat here. Only Heard Two Shots. First shot 190-224.
Robert Edwards (11-22-63
statement to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, 19H 473, 19H647) “The
motorcade rounded the corner at this time, and then I thought I heard four shots,
but it never occurred to us what it was. The shots seemed to come from that
building there.” (12-2-63 FBI report, CD205 p.21-22) “Shortly after
President Kennedy’s car passed his position, he heard shots, which he thought
were three or four in very rapid sequence.” (4-1-64
testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H200-205) (when asked how many shots
he heard) “I heard one more than was fired, I believe…I still right now don’t
know how many was fired. If I said four,
then I thought I heard four. (when asked if he knew where the shots came
from) “I have no idea” (when asked if
he’d said the shots came from the building) “No, I didn’t say that.” Analysis: Edwards, to his credit, stuck to his
impression that he’d heard four shots that seemed to come from the school book
depository. Heard four shots.
Ronald Fischer (11-22-63 statement to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, 19H475, 19H650) “by that time the motorcade rounded the corner. And then I heard what I thought was three shots, and the motorcade was about where the Stemmons Freeway sign is there.” (12-2-63 FBI report, CD205 p.19-20) “Shortly after the President’s car had passed his position, he heard several shots, evenly spaced, with what he thought three or four seconds between each shot. He thought first shot was firecracker.” (4-1-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H191-200) “Well the motorcade—the limousine made the wide turn and –they went out of our view just as they began to straighten up onto Elm Street…as I looked around to watch these other cars, I heard a shot. At first I thought it was a firecracker. And—uh— everybody got quiet. There was no yelling or shouting or anything. Everything seemed to get real still. And-uh—the second shot rang out, and then everybody, from where I was standing, everybody started to scatter. And—uh—then the third shot. At first I thought there were four, but as I think about it more, there must have been just three…The—uh--first shot fooled me, I think, because of the sound bouncing off the buildings. But the second shot was too much like the first and it was too loud—both shots were too loud to be a firecracker… They appeared to be coming from just west of the School Book Depository…. there were some railroad cars back in there.” (9-23-64 interview with William Manchester, as presented in the Death of a President, 1967) (On seeing someone in the sniper's nest before the shooting) "Suddenly, Edwards pointed and said 'Look at that guy.' Fischer followed his finger. The weapon was below their line of sight; what had attracted Edwards' attention was Oswald's stance. Fischer agreed that it was peculiar. He was transfixed, staring to his right, away from Main. To Fischer it seemed that 'he never moved, he didn't even blink his eyes, he was just gazing, like a statue.'" (On the first shot) "Ronald Fischer and Bob Edwards, assuming that it was a backfire, chuckled." (7-9-98 video-taped interview posted on Youtube) "I originally said in my deposition in the Sheriff's office that there were four shots. And there were a number of people who had claimed that they heard four shots. However, I began to question that because I just simply could not remember exactly how many shots there were. It's like trying to remember if it was eight or nine--y'know it's a little easier with three or four--but becomes more difficult with eight or nine and still more difficult with nineteen or twenty. I don't know if there were three or four shots. I thought there was four and I had explained that to the investigator, Mr. Belin. I still think that there were probably four shots but I couldn't swear to it." Analysis: Fischer’s statement that he heard the shots evenly spaced feeds into the LPM scenario, but his placement of the motorcade by the Stemmons Freeway sign, and subsequent claims he thought he'd heard four shots, suggests a different scenario. Probable first shot 190-224. Probably heard four shots.
John Martin Jr. (3-25-64 memo to file by Dallas FBI agent Kyle Clark, found in the Weisberg Archives) "USA Barefoot Sanders telephonically advised 10:15 A.M. this date that he had received a call from Mr. John Martin, Jr...advising that he was standing near the reflection pool at the time the President was shot...Martin told the USA he was positive the shots came from the Texas School Book Building and that he had so informed an unnamed police officer of this fact." (4-2-64 FBI report, CD897 p.51-53) “Martin said he ran north on Houston Street and stopped at the north end of the reflection pool which lies west of and is adjacent to Houston Street…Martin said he took some movie shots of the President as he passed by on Elm Street. A few seconds after the President had passed and was departing from his view, he heard a loud report and at first thought that it was a firecracker and a few seconds later heard two more reports and then knew it was rifle fire…the shots sounded to him like they came from the Texas School Book Depository.” (2-27-79 interview by Dave Hawkins, as quoted in Pictures of the Pain, p.571) “the shot came over my head, and I looked around to see who was throwing a firecracker. Then a few seconds later there were two more shots…One shot then a space of time, then two more rapidly.” Analysis: by separating the first shot off by itself, Martin is indicating the first shot must have hit. First shot hit 190 -224. Last two shots bunched together.
The Traffic Cops
There were also three traffic policeman in the intersection…
Edgar Smith (7-17-64 statement to the Dallas Police Department, CD1259, p16) “I heard the three shots but was unable to determine the location they came from.” (7-24-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 7H565-569) “I heard three shots. I guess they were shots. I thought that the first two were just firecrackers and kept my position and after the third one, I ran down the street there.” (When asked if he thought the shots came from a concrete structure on the knoll) “Yes, sir.” (No More Silence, p.197-203, published 1998) “It seemed like a short time, maybe ten or fifteen seconds after they had made the turn, that the first shot rang out…I thought it was probably firecrackers…Then the next two occurred. It seemed like a lot of time elapsed between the three shots. I couldn’t really tell where the shots came from, but they sounded like they all came from the same direction. Certainly it didn’t seem to me that they came from the sixth floor…At the time of the shooting, I was looking more toward the grassy knoll…I looked down there and was able to see the Presidential car lurch off…I reacted by running across the street from the south side of Elm toward the underpass.” Analysis: by saying that the shots could have rang out as much as fifteen seconds after the car made the turn onto Elm, Smith implies there was no shot at frame 160. By saying “the next two occurred,” moreover, Smith suggests the last two shots were bunched together. Probable first shot hit 190-224. Last two shots probably bunched together.
Joe Marshall Smith
(12-9-63 FBI report, as summarized in CD205 p39) "was working on
November 22, 1963, on traffic at Elm and Houston streets. He stated he
was near the parking lot when the shots were fired which killed
President Kennedy. The shots echoed so loudly he had no idea at the time
where they had been fired from. He stated he did smell what he thought
was gunpowder but stated this smell was in the parking lot by the TSBD
Building and not by the underpass. He advised he never at any time went
to the underpass and could not advise if there was the smell of
gunpowder in the underpass. He stated he did not see the President when
he was shot and stated he saw nothing which would assist in this
matter." (12-13-63 article in the Texas Observer, as reported in
Six Seconds in Dallas, 1967) "Patrolman Smith had earlier told Ronnie
Dugger of the The Texas Observer that he had 'caught the smell of
gunpowder' behind the fence. 'I could tell it was in the air.'" (7-16-64
Statement to the Dallas Police Department, 22H600) ”I was standing in the
middle of Elm Street from
the southeast curb of Elm and Houston Streets at the time of the shooting. I heard the shots and thought they were
coming from bushes of the overpass.” (7-23-64
testimony before the Warren Commission, 7H531-539) “Then I heard the shots…I
started up toward the Book Depository after I heard the shots, and I didn’t
know where the shots came from. I had no
idea, because it was such a ricochet…and this woman came up to me and she was
just in hysterics. She told me, “They
are shooting the President from the bushes.”
So I immediately proceeded up here…I was checking all the bushes and I
checked all the cars in the parking lot...maybe it was a power of
suggestion. But it sounded to me like
they may have come from this vicinity here.” Analysis: by the time his statements were taken, Smith
knew that officially all the shots had come from the sniper’s nest. He therefore had to explain why he rushed
down towards the knoll immediately after the shots. That the other Officer Smith did the same
thing is indicative that the shots did sound like they came from west of the
sniper’s nest. Too vague. Smelled smoke near knoll.
Barnett (11-25-63 interview with William Turner, recounted in
Turner's book Rearview Mirror, published 2001) "As the President's
motorcade swung past him, he heard a sharp report, like a firecracker.
After about three seconds there was another shot. Dealey Plaza
reverberated with the sounds. He looked over his shoulder to the roof of
the depository but saw nothing. The Secret Service men in a car behind
the President's limousine were looking around, unable to fix where the
shots were coming from. In what seemed like another three seconds after
the second shot, a third sounded. (7-16-64 statement to the Dallas Police Department,
22H598) “When the shots were fired, I looked up and could not see anyone or
anything extending out of the windows. I
thought the shots were coming from top of the building.” (7-23-64
testimony before the Warren Commission, 7H539-544) “I didn’t hear any
echo. The whole sound echoed. The sound lingered, but as far as just two
definite distinct sounds, when each shot was fired that one sound would linger
in the air, but there would be nothing else until the next shot…I was looking
at the President when the first shot was fired, and I thought I saw him slump
down, but I am not sure, and I didn’t look any more then. I thought he was ducking down….I thought it
was a firecracker. But none of the
people moved or took any action…And when the second shot was fired it sounded
high…I looked up at the building and I saw nothing in the windows…because I was
standing too close…And I looked back again at the crowd, and the third shot was
fired.” (11-20-13 appearance at the Sixth Floor Museum) (When asked if he heard three shots) "Three shots." (11-22-13 article in the Plano Star Courier on Barnett's appearance at the Sixth Floor Museum) "Barnett was working crowd control on the corner of Elm and Houston streets as the presidential motorcade turned toward the freeway. That’s when he heard three gun shots ring out, his sergeant screaming the shooter was inside the building a few yards from him. Near tears, Barnett told a captivated audience of news crews from around the world how he first thought the shooter was on the roof. His regret was painfully obvious. “I didn’t do the right thing,” he said. “I let the man who shot the president walk out the front door.” Analysis: as Kennedy does not duck down between Z-160 and Z-190,
the movement Barnett saw after the first shot could only be a reaction after
Z-190. Probable first shot hit 190-224.
South by Southeast
The next set of witnesses were on the south east corner of Houston and Elm.
James Crawford (1-10-64 FBI report, CD329 p.22) “Mr. Crawford estimated that approximately four or five vehicles, including the Presidential vehicle, had turned down Elm when Mr. Crawford heard sounds which at first were believed by Crawford to be the backfiring of an automobile. Mr. Crawford believed these sounds came from one of the cars in the front of the Presidential motorcade which was approaching the Triple Underpass… Mr. Crawford stated that to his best recollection there was a definite pause of as much as 15 to 20 seconds between the first and second sounds, and the second and third sounds came very close together.” (4-1-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H171-174) “I believe there was a car leading the President’s car, followed by the President’s car, and followed, I suppose, by the Vice President’s car, and in turn by the Secret Service in a yellow closed sedan. The doors of the sedan were open. It was after the Secret Service sedan had gone around the corner that I heard the first report and at that time I thought it was a backfire of a car…The second shot followed some seconds, a little time elapsed after the first one, and followed very quickly by a third one.” Analysis: as the Vice-Presidential back-up car was completing its turn at Z-190, Crawford is not talking Z-160. First shot hit 190. Last two shots bunched together.
Mary Mitchell (1-18-64 FBI report, CD329 p.24) “as the Presidential car passed the curb in front of the Texas School Book Depository, (TSBD), she and her companion heard a loud report or explosion, then, after four or five seconds, there were two more rapid explosions. She said that she and her companion could not see the Presidential car at that time but the crowd became highly excited.” (4-1-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H175-177) “I was on the corner of Elm and record—I’m sorry, Elm and Houston… diagonally across the intersection from the Texas school Book Depository…Well, the President’s car passed and, of course, I watched it as long as I could see it…after the car turned the corner and started down the hill, I couldn’t see over the heads of the standing men for very long, so then I turned back to watch the other people in the caravan, whatever you call it, and probably about the time the car in which Senator Yarborough was riding had just passed, I heard some reports. The first one—there were three—the second and third being closer together than the first and second.” Analysis: while Mitchell cites the car with Yarborough as the last one through the intersection, she would not have known anyone in the back-up car to whom she could make reference. Even if she honestly believed the car with Yarborough was the last car through the intersection before the shots began, however, her description of the last shots being bunched and of the Presidential limo being out of sight at the time of the first shot should make one doubt there was a first shot miss at frame 160. First shot hit 190-224. Last two shots bunched together.
TE Moore (1-10-64 FBI report, 24H534) “He was standing at the southeast corner of Elm and Houston and observed the motorcade going by, turning west from Houston onto Elm Street. By the time President Kennedy had reached the Thornton Freeway sign, a shot was fired and Mr. Moore observed the President slump forward in the Presidential car. Mr. Moore heard two more shots fired; however, the President was out of Mr. Moore’s sight when the last two shots were fired.” (No More Silence, p.90-93, published 1998) “There was a highway marker sign in front of the Book Depository, and as the President got around to that, the first shot was fired. As he got down a little further, the second shot was fired, and then I believe as it got further down, a third shot was fired…You couldn’t tell exactly where the shots were coming from, though.” Analysis: Mr. Moore moved the first shot up from the Thornton Freeway sign to the highway marker in front of the TSBD. Or maybe his choice of words was just unfortunate. Maybe, to him, the Thornton Freeway sign was a highway marker in front of the TSBD. Probable first shot 190.
Mrs. Carolyn Walther (12-5-63 FBI report, 24H522) (She was standing) “on the east side of Houston Street, about fifty or sixty feet south of the south curb of Elm Street…As soon as the President’s car passed where she was standing, she and Mrs. Springer turned away and started walking north toward Elm Street. At about the time they reached the curb at Elm Street, she heard a loud report and thought it was fireworks. There was a pause after this first report, then a second and third report almost at the same time, and then a pause followed by one and possibly more reports.” (Late 1966 interview with Lawrence Schiller recounted in The Scavengers and Critics of the Warren Report, published 1967) "I heard one shot, and I thought at the time the first shot was a firecracker, and after the last car passed me I started walking back to work, and I had reached the curb, and two more shots, and then a second--two seconds later, one more. It wasn't as loud as the others. But the second and third shots were right together, and then I thought 'Oh, it's gunshots'.....I definitely feel that I heard four shots." (Interview with CBS broadcast 6-25-67) “The President passed us, and he was smiling, and everybody was waving. Then the last of the cars went by, and I heard the shot. I thought it was a firecracker. Then I started back to work, and it was along the curb, and then two shots right together, and then another one. I'm sure there were four shots.” (3-27-68 interview with Barry Ernest recounted in The Girl on the Stairs, published 2011) "Mrs. Walther said she 'heard four shots. And right after the last shot I saw this police officer drop his motorcycle and immediately run into the Depository.' Marrion Baker. She described the sounds as having a definite pause between the first and second shots, then the second and third shots sounded like they were fired 'at the same time.' After that there was another slight pause, and then she heard a fourth shot. (2-14-69 testimony in the trial of Clay Shaw) (When asked how many shots she heard) “All together I heard four” (When asked what the first one sounded like) “It was a loud popping sound and I thought it was just a firecracker…the last car was passing in front of me when I heard the first shot…The second one I was just stepping off the curb. “ (And the third?) “Almost to the center of the street.” (And fourth?) “In the center of the street.” (And how did they sound? The second? ) “It sounded just like the first one.” (The third?) “The same” (And fourth?) “A little lower…I stopped and said "That is gunshots." Analysis: while most hearing two shots together were referring to the second and third shots of a three shot scenario, Mrs. Walther heard numbers two and three together in a four shot scenario. It’s possible she heard a first shot around frame 190, automatic weapon fire around frame 224, and then a final shot around the time of the head shot. Another possibility is she simply mistook an echo after the head shot for a separate shot. Heard four shots.
Mrs. Pearl Springer (12-5-63 FBI report, 24H523) (She and Mrs. Carolyn Walther) “walked south on Houston Street on the east side of Houston Street, stopping just south of a sign post. (This sign post is seventeen steps south of the Elm Street curb.)…After the presidential party passed her and turned the corner going west on Elm Street, she heard what she thought was a shot…She recalled that after the first shot, there was a pause, then two more shots were fired close together.” Analysis: as Springer’s recollections confirm the recollections of so many others, her contention that it was shots number two and three of a three shot scenario that were bunched together casts doubt on the accuracy of the statements of her companion, Mrs. Walther. First shot hit 190-224. Last two shots bunched together.
North by NortheastCuriously, only two witnesses on Houston to the north of Elm have ever come forward.
Mrs. Ruby Henderson (11-28-63 FBI lead sheet found in the Weisberg Archives) "On 11/28/63, a woman identifying herself as Mrs. Tony Henderson telephonically contacted the Dallas office...She stated that prior to the presidential motorcade passing the corner of Elm and Houston Streets, she had been down in the street with other persons from the building. She stated that she had been out in the street itself off the curb in an attempt to see better and that as she waited for the motorcade to approach, she had glanced up at and behind her and had seen people at the windows in her own building and had seen people also at open windows in the building of the Texas Book Depository. She stated that she had noticed quite a number of people at the windows on the third floor of the Texas Book Depository building and that it had not occurred to her until yesterday that she had seen two men standing in what she was certain was the corner window facing Elm Street on the sixth floor of the Texas Book Building. She stated she now recalls that she thought at the time that the two men standing there would have a bird's eye view of the entire scene. She stated also that the thought occurred to her that the men were not standing out actually prominent in the window, She said she had wondered why they were standing back a little. She stated that she was certain one of the men had on a white shirt, and she thought the other man, who was somewhat shorter, was wearing a blue shirt, or at least it was a dark shirt. When queried as to why she could see into the sixth floor window when she was standing east of the building, she stated that she had been standing far enough out in the street that she could easily observe that window. Mrs. Henderson advised that small items were coming back to her such as when the second shot was fired she saw what she thought was paper flying out of the presidential limousine and she now realizes it must have been flesh or bone." (12-6-63 FBI report, 24H524) “She was standing on the east side of Elm Street just north of Houston Street (they must mean the east side of Houston just north of Elm)…She said she observed numerous people on various floors looking out of the windows of the Texas School Book Depository Building, and recalls that she saw two men on one of the upper floors of the building. She said she recalls one of the men had on a white shirt, and one had on a dark shirt. She said she only observed these men from the waist up and does not know what their other attire consisted of. She said these men were standing back from the window and she got the impression they were working and yet looking out the window in anticipation of the motorcade passing that building. She said she saw these men before the motorcade reached Houston and Elm but doesn't have any idea how long it was prior to the motorcade arriving at that location. She said she believes the person in the white shirt had dark hair and was possibly a Mexican, but could have been a Negro as he appeared to be dark-complexioned. She said she couldn't describe the other person other than the fact he was taller than the aforementioned individual. Mrs. Henderson said at the time the motorcade passed where she was standing, she heard what she initially thought was a firecracker, and saw what she thought was paper fly out of the Presidential car. She said she now realized it was a shot she heard and what she thought was paper was probably flesh. She said after the first shot, she believes she heard two more in rapid succession, and then a fourth shot.” Analysis: Henderson's recollection of seeing two men in the sniper's nest window was, of course, quite problematic for the FBI and Warren Commission. It's probably not a coincidence, then, that the lead sheet never sent the Warren Commission said she was certain she saw two men in the sixth floor window, while the report on the official interview, sent over to the commission weeks later and included in its records, said only that she saw these men on one of the upper floors. And that's not the only suspicious change. While the original lead sheet indicated that she thought the man wearing the white shirt was taller than the man in the dark shirt, this was reversed for the report sent the Warren Commission. This is most convenient in that Bonnie Ray Williams wore a dark shirt, and that Harold Norman, who stood next to him on the fifth floor, was both shorter than him and wearing a light-colored shirt. The possibility exists, then, that her words were changed to make it seem as though she were describing Norman and Williams. That Henderson recalled hearing four shots with two bunched shots in the middle, is, of course, also problematic. Carolyn Walther was standing nearby and described the shots in the same manner. Were there two quick shots fired at frame 224 but unheard by most everyone else? Or was there a shot fired after the bangbang of the head shot, even as the limousine was speeding away? Who knows? Second shot head shot? Heard four shots?
Mike Brownlow is
a long-time assassination researcher and a regular presence in Dealey Plaza. He claims also to have been a witness. In November 2004, and again in 2005, I talked with him in Dealey Plaza and asked him where he was when the
shots rang out. Both times he told me he
was standing in front of the Dal-Tex Building
on the northeast corner of Houston
and Elm with his grandmother. Both times he said he heard four shots, but could
not tell where they came from. (2006 appearance in a Dutch TV program hosted by Peter R de Vries, as found on youtube) "Where you see the three overhead road signs, that is where the first shot hit the president, in my opinion. And you must remember I was a kid at the age of twelve years old. But right in that area is where the first shot hit the president. And when we heard the first shot, which sounded very much like a firecracker, or a very dense shot. The second shot, in my opinion, that we heard, was a little louder. Then there was a pause, and we heard three more shots. I heard three more shots. By the time the President was hit in the head, to where we were standing, we could not see that. I did not see the actual head shot. But we heard the shots, and we saw a puff of smoke come from the corner of the fence, which is where we're standing now, known as the grassy knoll. (12-6-11 article by Jay Gibbs on researcher Bruce Engelman, found on the Starlocalnews.com website) "Engelman, who has worked for several national news organizations,
including ABC, has a national sports talk show that he records every
Tuesday night. Last Tuesday, however, he had a special guest in his
recording studio -- Mike Brownlow of Dallas. Brownlow was a 13-year-old
kid who was near the Grassy Knoll in Dallas when JFK was shot. "I
heard one shot and then, immediately after that, I heard a second
shot," Brownlow said. "Then, after that, I heard several shots in
succession -- POP! POP! POP! Then, in a matter of five or six seconds,
it was all over. The shooting had stopped. And I definitely think that
the last shot I heard came from the Grassy Knoll." Analysis: As a
number of other witnesses near this intersection also heard four shots, I initially believed
Brownlow’s story to be credible. In 2010, however, the nephew of a Dallas Police Officer Brownlow claims to have
known contacted me and assured me that Brownlow had never actually known his uncle, and is
lying when he claims he did. The report on Brownlow's radio appearance is also problematic. It suggests that Brownlow is now claiming there may have been five shots, and that the last one came from the knoll. In Brownlow's defense, however, it should be pointed out that he said he thinks the last shot came from the knoll. This is not the same as claiming he'd initially thought it came from the knoll. Heard four (or five?)
shots. Last shots bunched together. Saw smoke on the knoll.