Chapter 7b: More Pieces in the Plaza
Between the Signs
We shall now embark on a perilous journey: an attempt at identifying some of the lesser-known witnesses to Kennedy's assassination. These witnesses, by and large, were standing along the street near Kennedy when the fatal shots were fired, but somehow never saw this as a reason they should speak to the police, be interviewed on TV, or even provide an oral history decades later.
Now here is a crop from the Betzner photo taken at frame 186 of the Zapruder film. Although the angle of the camera towards Kennedy and the crowd makes it hard to visualize, Kennedy is the distance down Elm of the street light pole on the right. Betzner claimed he took this shot just before the first shot rang out. This shows many of the witnesses to follow.
And here is a crop of the Willis photo taken at frame 202 of the Zapruder film. Kennedy is now the distance down Elm of the Thornton Freeway sign on the right. Louie Witt, the "Umbrella Man," is at the far left of this photograph, just to the right of JFK. Note that Willis claimed he took this photo a split second after hearing the first shot. This places the first shot at Z-190, or after. The witnesses on the north side of the street in the Betzner and Willis photos, then, were the closest witnesses to Kennedy at the time of the first shot.
Now here, again, is a crop from the Bronson photo taken circa frame 225 of the Zapruder film. The two men closest to the camera (in the bottom left-hand corner) are unidentified.
Along the north side of Elm Street are (from L to R): Louie Witt (the "Umbrella Man"); a never-identified man sometimes called Dark-Complected Man, or DCM; two young men who could very well be Alan Smith and Daniel Kendrick; little Ricky Chism and his parents, John and Faye Chism; a group of women who worked in the school book depository identified as Sharon Simmons, Gloria Holt, and Stella Jacob; a woman believed to be June Dishong; her companion, presumed to be Peggy Burney; a woman presumed to be Jean Newman, Ernest Brandt, and John Templin.
Kennedy was, of course, near these witnesses when he was first hit, and just passed these witnesses when he received his fatal blow. Well, what did they remember?
Louie Steven Witt stood just east of the Stemmons Freeway sign. He opened up an umbrella in silent protest as Kennedy passed, and thereby created the legend of “The Umbrella Man.” While some still doubt Witt was the "Umbrella Man," and suspect his admitting as much was part of 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 assassination 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. Scally also made a tentative ID of Smith as one of the two boys standing under the Stemmons Freeway sign in the Betzner and Willis 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.
Daniel Kendrick came out of nowhere in 2013 to claim he was standing on the north side of Elm St. on 11-22-63. It seems possible, then, that he was the boy standing with Smith. (11-22-13 BBC US and Canada article by Mark Mardell, found online) "Daniel Kendrick takes me to the very spot where he stood 50 years ago, as a 15-year-old schoolboy excited that he was about to catch a glimpse of his president. What he was actually about to see he could never have imagined. The Texas Book Depository from where Oswald fired is to our left, the grassy knoll beloved of conspiracy theorists just behind us. But directly in front is the road where the motorcade traveled. 'I was going to rush out to shake his hand but both his fists were up against his neck, he was making gagging sounds, like 'ga ga ga', then his head just exploded,' he said." (The accompanying interview on the BBC website) "I saw the President coming. And he was like this (he grabs his neck). And he was going (he makes a choking sound three times) like that. It sounded like he was choking. And then all of a sudden--BOOM! I saw the look on Jackie Kennedy's face as she turned towards him, and as she turned away from that and looked straight at me. The look of horror on her face really freaked me out. I had to go. I had to run. I had to get out of here." Analysis: 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.” (8-8-68 report of Tom Bethel and Al Oser, investigators working on behalf New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison) "Mr. Chism talked to us quite freely and stated that he was standing close to the Stemmons Freeway sign... He observed the President's car passing in front of him...He stated that President Kennedy was waving and leaning forward at the time, after the first shot started to lean forward... Mr. Chism stated that it appeared to him that President Kennedy was standing up or just starting to stand up prior to the first shot and then he saw him jerk forward... He heard two shots, he said. He did not see the fatal head shot as by that time the car had already passed to his right and out of his vision. He also repeated the well-known story that Mrs. Kennedy stood and tried to get on the back of the limousine after the second shot, or rather after the second shot that he heard which was, of course, after the final shot. An important aspect of Mr. Chism's testimony is his statement as to the direction of the sound which he described as being over his right shoulder. This would put it in the direction of the concrete pagoda on the grassy knoll. Then together with so many people, he ran up the knoll and into the pagoda area." 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, which was before Kennedy began his final wave. 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 and their son Ricky 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.” (Call Report on 2-27-96 phone call with ARRB investigator Dave Montague) "Faye said the first shot hit the street resulting in a spark. She then heard a second shot at which point a police officer fell onto a motorcycle. She then laid down to cover her three year old son and heard two more shots. Someone yelled out 'There he goes!,' to which her husband John along with many others ran up a hill. The police threw John down and 'ruffed' him up even though he explained he was trying to help. Their family was then held by the Dallas Police and men in suits asked the Chism family if they had a camera and questioned them for about 8-9 hours." (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.” (11-22-13 article in the New York Post) "She hadn’t planned on watching President Kennedy’s motorcade — and wound up with his assassin’s bullets whizzing directly overhead. Dallas housewife Marvin Faye Chism was heading downtown with her late husband John and their 3-year-old son Rick to buy the boy shoes while John went to work at the Marriott Hotel. But at the last minute they decided to stop and see President Kennedy pass by. They were watching from the sidewalk on Elm Street, right outside the Texas Book Depository, when Oswald opened fire from a sixth-floor window. “I was standing in front of the Book Depository and the shots came over my head,” said Chism, 69. At first she thought the sound was firecrackers, until she saw what happened to Kennedy. “He was shot and his head went back. His wife jumped onto the trunk of the car,” Chism said. After someone said the gunman “was up on the train tracks,” John charged off to try and catch him. “The police threw him down,” Chism said, and the family was held at the scene for the next 12 hours. Chism said seeing Kennedy get killed “just took me for a loop.” “It was the worst day of my life,” she said. “It was a horrible day I can’t seem to forget….It just won’t go away.” Analysis: Mrs. Chism's recollections and statements are erratic and defy easy explanation. Let's start with her original statement... 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. So far, so good. Her recollection of Jackie “standing over” Kennedy can be taken, then, as a reference to the frames leading up to the head shot. Alright. Her statement that the men in the front of the car stood up and then fell down was therefore her way of describing Greer and Kellerman's looking around after the first shot, and then ducking down after the head shot. Her latter-day recollections and statements are even more confusing. Apparently, she came to believe she saw something hit the street before she saw Kennedy react to a shot. Apparently, she recalled motorcycle officer Clyde Haygood's crashing his bike up on the curb nearby where she'd been standing--something that took place after the shots--and had come to believe it took place in the middle of the shots. She then recalled two shots close together which may have come from the train tracks. It's confusing as heck, but it still doesn't excuse the New York Post of adding-in that the shots Mrs. Chism thought had whizzed by "directly overhead" were fired by Oswald, as the book depository from which The Post apparently presumed he was firing was far off to Mrs. Chism's left, and not directly behind her. Only heard two shots. First shot hit 190-224. (Original statement only)
The photo below, taken by assassination witness Richard Bothun 30 seconds or so after the fatal shot, provides a glimpse of some the witnesses just discussed, along with some of those discussed in the previous chapters.
At left is Motorcycle Officer Bobby Hargis, who'd been riding just left and behind the President's limo, who stopped his bike upon witnessing the assassination, and then ran over to the grassy knoll. He has just returned to his bike. Behind and above him at the 1:00 position is AP photographer James Altgens, who provided the first detailed descriptions of the shooting. On the grass beside him are the Newman family. Cameramen Thomas Atkins and Thomas Craven film the Newmans from the other side. On the sidewalk to the right of the Newmans and filming Motorcycle Officer Clyde Haygood (at far right) is NBC cameraman Dave Wiegman. On the grass behind and mostly obscured by Wiegman is Doris Mumford. In the distance behind the cameramen is one of the uniformed high school boys presumed to be Alan Smith or Daniel Kendrick. To the right of the light pole on the grass are John and Faye Chism, who is holding her son Ricky in her arms. Just in front of the Chisms and partly obscured by the sign is photographer Frank Cancellare. And, finally, sitting on the grass along the sidewalk are two men of mystery, 1) the unidentified man sometimes called Dark Complected Man (or DCM), and 2) Louie Witt, better known as the "Umbrella Man."
And, should one have trouble spotting the uniformed boys back by the arcade, and Mrs. Chism with her son, here's a gif put together by Gerda Dunckel from the Couch film, which shows them moments later.
Now, should one worry about Mrs. Chism, one should know that she only ran with her son a short distance...before her son John soon took him off her hands...
and that he then ran off with little Rickey... (These photos were taken by Art Rickerby from the safety of Camera car #2.)
The First Shot Divide
While there are many disappointing aspects to the FBI’s investigation of the murder of President John F. Kennedy, the most glaring one is this: the FBI simply didn’t try as hard as it 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, to be clear, the FBI's failure to properly do its job becomes obvious. This volume contains the March '64 statements of those working in Texas School Book Depository Building on November 22. What is troubling about these statements is not that they were taken; au contraire, they should have been taken within days (if not hours) of the shooting. No, what is troubling is that the witnesses making these statements were asked to answer but four questions—1) where were you at the time of the shooting, 2) who was with you at this time, 3) did you know Lee Harvey Oswald, and 4) 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 had evidence anyone else was involved. As a result, numerous witnesses to Kennedy’s death were interviewed by the FBI in March 1964 and not even asked what they'd witnessed.
Still, enough of them said enough to give us an idea...and still others undermined the FBI’s efforts by saying they’d never seen Oswald before or only vaguely remembered seeing Oswald, and had not seen any strangers in the building on November 22, 1963. For all intents and purposes, these were mutually exclusive statements. By saying they had never seen Oswald, or only vaguely remembered seeing Oswald, who’d worked with them in what was essentially a four story building (the top three floors were storage space with no permanently assigned employees) for six whole weeks, they were as much as acknowledging they wouldn’t know what a stranger looked like if they'd seen one on that day.
Before one reads the statements of these next few witnesses, one should study the images below. This first image shows Zapruder frame 150, with the names of the witnesses on the north side of Elm street identified. While there appear to be a number of mistakes in these identifications, the identity of some of these witnesses has long been known, or have been confirmed by the witnesses themselves. These confirmed sightings, moreover, include Mary Woodward, John Templin and Ernest Brandt. In any event, a shot fired at Zapruder frame 160, a la the most popular single-assassin scenario, would have been a shot these witnesses heard while Kennedy was approaching them, looking right at them, but before he waved in their direction. A shot at Zapruder frame 190, on the other hand, would have been a shot these witnesses heard just after he waved, and just as he was passing the light pole at the left of the frame.
Now, here's the second image. This is the image above, Z-150, with a snippet of a frame from earlier in the film, Z-83, added onto the left side, and a snippet of frame 193, when Kennedy stops his wave as a possible reaction to being shot, added to the right. The snippet on the left reveals the location of a highway marker, which, in turn, reveals the location of the Thornton Freeway sign, whose southern edge was just above this marker. This shows that the witnesses pictured above were not at the base of the Stemmons Freeway sign, as seems likely from studying the latter frames of the film in isolation, but were in fact much closer to the base of the Thornton Freeway sign, which Kennedy passed circa Z-200.
Should one still not be able to see this, moreover, one should be grateful the Secret Service took some photos from the pedestal on which Zapruder stood, and these show the sign more clearly. These photos can be found in the Service Service's report to the Warren Commission, (otherwise know as CD 87.) Here is a crop from one of these photos.
This proves, then, that the witnesses towards the middle of the pack depicted in the Zapruder film, such as the woman with the red scarf (incorrectly identified as Peggy Burney) were standing along the curb on Elm Street directly adjacent to the point on the street where the HSCA claimed Kennedy was first hit. It follows then, that, should the HSCA be correct about the location of Kennedy at the time he was first hit, those to the east of these witnesses (at their left in the Z-film) would claim he had passed them before they heard a shot, and those to the west of them (at their right in the Z-film) would claim he was just about to pass them when they heard a shot.
Let's take a look, then, and see where these witnesses apparent in the Zapruder frames above placed the limo in comparison to themselves at the time of the first shot.
Now, Karen Westbrook, in a 2017 appearance at the Sixth Floor Museum, identified herself as the woman in the blue scarf just left of the sign in the Zapruder film.
But, sadly, she was wrong...
(The identifications of witnesses in the following two chapters have been influenced and sometimes inspired by the online posts of researchers such as Don Roberdeau, Robin Unger, Denis Morrissette, Linda Zambanini, Thomas Graves, Sandy Larsen, Brian Doyle, and Bill Miller. In some cases, ironically, I came to a conclusion I thought was mine and mine alone, only to find that one of the above had discussed and/or demonstrated that very point a few months or a few years previous. In any event, these conclusions are in fact my conclusions, in that they do not reflect a broad consensus of opinion--if there even is such a thing.)
Here's an image of three women taken from the Darnell film. This was recorded within a few minutes of the shooting.
These three women have been matched up to photos of Stella Jacob, Gloria Holt, and Sharon Simmons, respectively, by researcher Linda Zambanini. These women, no coincidence, all claimed they were standing with one another.
Now here they are in Z-150.
And here they are, along with a witness we are about to discuss (on their left) in the Betzner photo taken at Z-186.
Simmons was thereby the woman with the light blue scarf. Holt was to her left, and Jacob was to her left. (The fourth woman has been identified as June Dishong.)
Sharon Simmons (Sharon Nelson) (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H665) “I am 20 years of age...I am a white female and am employed as a clerk for the Texas School Book Depository...At the time President Kennedy was shot I was standing on the sidewalk on Elm Street about midway between the Texas School Book Depository and the underpass on Elm Street. I was with Jeanie Holt…at the time the President was shot.” Analysis: too vague.
Gloria Jean Holt (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H652) “I am a caucasian female...I was born on March 27, 1945 in Dallas, Texas and have been employed at the Texas School Book Depository as a clerical employee in the billing department since the middle of July, 1963...At approximately 12:10 P.M. on November 22, 1963, 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 accompanied by Sharon Simmons, now Mrs. Nelson, and Stella Jacob, both employees of the Texas School Book Depository. 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.
Stella Jacob (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H655) "I am an Indian female...I was born on May 31, 1943...and have been employed at the Texas School Book Depository as typist in the billing department...since the 1st of July, 1963...At approximately 12:00 P.M. on November 22, 1963, 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 accompanied by Sharon Simmons, now Mrs. Nelson, and Jeanne Holt, both employees of the Texas School Book Depository. I was still standing on the curb at the time President John F. Kennedy was shot….” Analysis: too vague.
Wow, these were three of the closest witnesses. And they really kept their silence, yes? Perhaps, then, someone can track them down, or, at the very least, their children down, to see if they left any letters of diaries or anything recording what they witnessed.
Now let's look at the next block of women in Z-150. (The one on the right was at far right in the Betzner photo, above.)
As June Dishong wrote a letter to her daughter suggesting she was in this general area, one might guess that she is one of the above. And yes, sure enough, researcher Don Roberdeau contacted Dishong's family, and they told him she'd identified herself as the woman on the right.
June Dishong (Inez Juanita Hart Dishong, died 9-11-98, a month short of her 90th birthday, which suggests she was born October 1908)(Letter written on 11-22-63, as read by her daughter on CNN, 11-21-2003, and featured on the Sixth Floor Museum website) “It is misting rain this morning and I had better wear a raincoat and take my umbrella as I have 6 blocks to walk from where I park to where I work at the corner of Elm and Houston...10 AM - coffee break. I learned that the Presidents party was due at this end of town around noon. Although I hadn’t considered going down stairs to watch for them I began to get excited about the thought of seeing the President and his wife and mulled over the thought of going down stairs. Another trip to the front window. The sun is out and it’s a beautiful day - how nice...12:15 Better put on my jacket it might be chilly although the sun is shining bright. We go down the elevator at the back of the building and across the corner down the side walk in front of the Texas book depository and about 30 feet beyond the corner. The sun is warm. I’ll take off my jacket we might have quite a wait for the president’s car...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. I cover my face to blot out the picture, but that I can’t do. I must get away from that horrible picture. I turn and run back to our building up 3 flights of stairs. Already the word has proceeded us. What has happened. Someone says someone has been shot. The President --no no. Dear God no. Where is he.How bad. Who did it. I think I’m going to be sick. All I can see is that form crumbling forward. I can’t shut out the picture. I can’t think. Only a cry inside myself. It can’t be so. May be he was just getting out of the way. We turned on radios. It was true. He had been shot once or twice. No one knows. We know we heard 3 shots. Police cars. FBI men. The street seething with them. Riot guns. The building across the street. They’ve found the gun. Shells. 6 floor front window. If any one of us had looked up when we were looking out possibly we would have seen this man. No one even thinks of working. Just milling around. People crying. Praying. Hoping. At last, word he is dead. I must go home where I can shut my doors and draw the blinds...” (11-21-03 CNN news story on Dishong's letter, for which her daughter Margaret Taylor was interviewed by Kelley Wallace) "MARGARET TAYLOR: We just found it accidentally when we was cleaning her house. WALLACE: That was after her mother died in 1998 just a month before she would have turned 90. TAYLOR: And this was the day he would drive through Dallas. WALLACE: Her mother writes about the weather, rushing to work as a garment maker across from Dealey Plaza, and then trying to get a glimpse of the Kennedys." 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.
So...the image above shows Dishong standing with another woman. As Dishong's daughter told CNN she'd been a garment worker, and as Dishong's letter makes clear a companion from work accompanied her downstairs and across the street past the depository building, and then up three flights of stairs upon their return, it seems equally clear they worked together on the fourth floor of the Dal-Tex Building, which housed a number of garment manufacturers, and stood straight across the street from the Texas School Book Depository Building.
(While Dishong's daughter is reported to have told Roberdeau her mom worked at the Higginbotham-Bailey Building on the day of the assassination, the Higginbotham-Bailey Building was more than a quarter-mile away, and a few blocks south of the motorcade route along Main Street. Well, it makes no sense whatsoever that two women casually going downstairs to see the President on their lunch hour would amble so far past the parade route...only to watch the parade. If they were to have walked to the plaza, moreover, they would have walked to the south side of the plaza. Well, it seems clear, then, that Dishong worked in the Dal-Tex Building at the time, and that her daughter, some 40 years-on, was mistaken as to which iconic hyphenate garment district building her mom was working on 11-22-63.)
Well, are there any witness statements or witness accounts from a mature white woman, who'd worked on the fourth floor of the Dal-Tex Building, that placed her in this general area, and failed to mention the name of any companions?
Yes. Peggy Burney was an assistant to Abraham Zapruder, whose company, Jennifer Juniors, occupied the fourth floor of the Dal-Tex Building. Researcher Linda Zambanini was able to find an obituary for a Peggy Burney from Texas who was born in 1908. If this is the same Peggy Burney, then she would have been 55 at the time of the assassination, approximately the same age as June Dishong.
It seems probable, then, that Burney was Dishong's companion.
Peggy Burney (born 1-19-1908, died Jan 1980) (11-22-63 draft--incorrectly dated as 11-21-63--of a news article written by Burney's cousin Vivian Castleberry, found on the Sixth Floor Museum website) "Mrs. Peggy Burney, who is head of the shipping department for a dress manufacturing company in the building adjacent to where a sniper's bullet was fired from the fifth floor was an eyewitness to the tragedy. Her story is the city's story: 'Today I saw a President die. I was standing on Elm Street, near Houston watching the President and his radiant First Lady waving and smiling from their open-topped limousine when I heard the shot. At first I thought it was a backfire. But then I saw the President slump and Jackie duck and Governor Connally and Mrs. Connally also drop from sight. The car veered slightly to the right and then sped away. All around me people were screaming and dropping to the ground... The scene was chaos.'" (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.
Now, here's a photo taken by news photographer Harry Cabluck as the press car in which he was riding cruised down Elm. This is within a minute of the shooting. Some of the closest witnesses are still standing around, apparently in shock. The two boys in the distance are the boys we've presumed to be Alan Smith and Daniel Kendrick. The two women in the middle of the image are Stella Jacob and Gloria Holt. And the two women at right are the women I've presumed to be June Dishong and Peggy Burney. Note that a jacket is draped across Dishong's arm. Well, this matches up with the letter she wrote to her daughter, and supports Don Roberdeau's claim this was in fact Dishong. (The three witnesses in the bottom left corner remain unidentified.)
And here's a second photo taken by Cabluck, mere seconds later. The two running boys on the left side of the last image are now in the middle of the knoll. The two uniformed boys (presumed to be Alan Smith and Daniel Kendrick) are similarly running. Photographer James Altgens stands along the curb. The white helmet of Clyde Haygood is in the distance, on the left. An unidentified man runs down the sidewalk. The Newman family (L) and Doris Mumford (R) sit on the grass, in shock. While back in the arcade, or pergola, the silhouette of Abraham Zapruder and/or Marily Sitzman, looks out upon the railroad yards.
Newman, Brandt, and Templin
Now, here's the next three witnesses in Z-150. Although their names sound much too much like a law firm, we shouldn't hold that against them.
Here they are at the far right in this crop of the Willis photo taken at Zapruder frame 202.
Jean Newman is presumed to be the woman in blue. She appears to have been standing with Ernest Brandt, the man to her left, but there is no known connection. If anyone knows for sure that this is Newman, or that Newman was someone else in this area, please let me know. (Note that Kennedy was just passing this woman at Z-202.) (11-22-63 statement to the Dallas Sheriff’s Department, 19H489, 24H218) “My name is Jean Newman, I live with my parents, my father's name is G.C. Kimbriel. I work at the Rheem Manufacturing Company. I was standing right on this 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. For many years, on the anniversary of the assassination, a man claiming to have been a witness 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. His name was Ernest Brandt and he spoke freely to tourists, researchers, and newsman. Well, a man wearing such a hat is readily observed in the Zapruder film. One can only assume then that this was Brandt. (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) "As soon at the limo got within view, I’m looking for Kennedy and Jackie. He was just kind of glancing at the crowd, his eyes kind of jumped along from one to another. He was kind of casually smiling…acknowledging the crowd and waving casually. 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...And of course, all I could see above the back seat was his shoulders, his neck, and head…I think the limousine was probably about 60 or 70 feet past us, three or four seconds I guess from the time. It 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. I thought it was a motorcycle backfire because there was a half a dozen of them on either side of Kennedy’s limousine. And that’s what I really thought because nothing in mind would have occurred to me that it was a rifle shot, see…I thought the first shot was a motorcycle backfire, and in conjunction with that thought, I thought he was just pretending. And that maybe he had thought, “Gee, I better duck.” You know, playfully, playing a little game in conjunction with the motorcycle backfire, but then when the second shot rang out, that canceled any thoughts I had of a motorcycle backfire. Then, in just a couple of seconds more, there was a second shot, then everybody…seemed to realize something was wrong then because Kennedy had by then already fallen over on Jackie’s shoulder." (November 1995 discussion with researcher Hal Verb as related in Verb's Summer 2001 article in the Kennedy Assassination Chronicles) "At Lancer's NID Conference in 1995, I managed to pose a question to Mr. Brandt who was one of several witnesses invited by Lancer to reveal what he had seen and heard. Mr. Brandt replied to a query by me as to precisely what he saw and heard during the assassination. His answer: "I thought the shots came from behind me – the pergola – where else could it have come from?" (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, taught classes on the assassination, for that matter, he should have gone back to school and re-evaluated his position. If the 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 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." (7-28-95 Oral History interview for the Sixth Floor Museum) (On his job status at the time of the assassination) "I was still working for Graybar at the time...I was shipping clerk...Ernie Brandt, who I came with, was a salesman for Copperstate Freight Lines, and we did a lot of our shipping with Copperstate to West Texas. And Ernie normally took me out to lunch once every six weeks, and we'd have a good visit and then I'd do my best to ship as much of my freight his way because he was a personable guy and really gave good service." (On how he and Ernest Brandt ended up in the plaza) "We had gone to lunch about, as best I remember, about 11:30 that day and went to a little barbeque place close to downtown Dallas...where Good Lattimer Street intersects with Canton Street...And Ernie said, “Say, why don’t we go down and see the president come by?” And I told Ernie I didn’t think that I had time to get back to work within the hour that we had allotted for lunch. He said, “Oh, this being pretty historical, I don’t think they would care if you were a little late, do you?” I said, “Well, no, I really don’t, so let’s go.” He said, “Well, I know a real good place.” (When asked if he remembered the general atmosphere within the crowd while waiting for the motorcade.) "There were two or three ladies at the curbside with us, and we were talking some to them back and forth—about what, I don’t have any idea." (On his location at the time of the shooting) "I think we were probably among a couple of hundred people that was down here. We were just on the very end of the route..." (On the President's limo) "Could not see it until it actually turned onto Elm Street." (When asked when he first saw the president) "Actually, it (was) probably when it drew almost even with us, pretty or you could see him just a little ways up. But not very far...I saw Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy, and that was all. I couldn’t have told you that John Connally was in the car at all. I just had no recollection of his being there." (On the shooting) "Well, as the limo drew even with us, well, the president was waving and, of course, grinning. He had just a great big smile on his face, and he drew even with us, and I thought, “Well, this ‘ole country boy finally saw a president.” You know, it’s not like you see a president every day. And especially a kid from the country like I was, it was a big deal for me. And just about, I would say, thirty feet past us, we heard what I personally thought was a motorcycle backfire, and I... the president kind of threw his shoulders up a little bit and kind of laid his head back on the back of the seat, and I thought, well, he’s just playing and playing the crowd and acting silly, you know. Being human, not knowing that he had been hit. But the second shot was probably another forty to fifty foot further down, and it blew the right side of his head off, as near as I could tell. I was close enough that I could see that. I could see his hair depart from his head actually." (When asked to confirm that this was the second shot) "That was the second shot, sir, and some say it was the third shot killed him, but as I recall—and I’ll believe it till my dying day—it was the second shot...was the fatal shot that hit him in the head and killed him." (On the first shot) "I think it struck him somewhere. I don’t know where, but from his reaction, yes. I would say the first shot hit him, probably could have been the throat shot from all I’ve read on the autopsy and whatever." (When asked if he heard a third shot) "Yes sir, I did, but I had already turned my attention to where I thought maybe the shots were coming from—behind us. I didn’t know exactly where, but..." (When asked where the thought the shots were coming from) "Well, the first shot definitely came from the School Book, but the second shot sounded somewhat different to me in that it sounded like it might have come from back behind here where the boxcar... you remember, TP had a switching track at that time back here, and there was always a hundred or a hundred and fifty boxcars back here. And I thought, “Hey, maybe somebody’s on the ground shooting. I really couldn’t tell.” But then, the third shot came from back up, I’m sure, back up at the School BookDepository, but I rationalized for years that maybe the sound of the shot reverberated off of an open boxcar door and echoed out and made it sound like it was coming from down lower. That’s the only explanation I could have for it maybe sounding different." (When asked about the timing) "The time frame, that’s hard to recall, but I would say... (clapping hands, waiting about two seconds, clapping hands again, waiting about three to four seconds, clapping hands a third time)." (When asked if they were "pretty evenly spaced) "I would... yes sir, I would say so." (When asked if he kind of saw the limo come to a stop) "Yes, sir...I think when President Kennedy was shot fatally in the head, the second shot, the limo was almost, if not completely, stopped. I think a natural reaction of anyone, I don’t care how well trained he is, if he hears a shot or something, his natural reaction is to hit the brakes. Wouldn’t you agree with that?...It’s just human nature to hit for that brake, and the brake lights definitely came on. And of course, I turned my attention directly behind me, and all...just people went running everywhere after the second shot. They realized what was happening and screaming and crying, and the people next to me about fifteen foot down were the two people that lie... lay on top of their children, if you’ll recall...I don’t know their name, but they... and I thought, “Well, maybe they’re hit.” (When asked if he dropped to the ground) "No, I didn’t. I kind of... a policeman jumped off his motorcycle, and by the time he got off the motorcycle, he had his weapon drawn and was headed up in the crowd...Direction of... behind the... between the School Book Depository and the poda...pagoda, or whatever that deal is there...Not toward the picket fence but toward the School Book Depository building at an angle...And he didn’t even stop his little motorcycle. He just left it running, jumped off of it, and it put-put-putted along a few feet and then over it went,and after that, I don’t remember if they picked the motorcycle up or anything. I never did see Jackie Kennedy get out on the back of the car or anything. I heard the third shot, butI didn’t see anything." (When asked when he turned) "As soon as the second shot hit him, I turned." (When asked if he saw Jackie climb on the back of the limo) "I just knew that they were gone." (When asked if he was sure he heard a rifle) "I just suddenly realized the second one was a rifle shot and it happened so quick, you can just... you don’t have any time to think of anything, except why...why did this happen?" (When asked if the first shot sounded different than the second) "A different sound to the second shot, it certainly was, yes, to me. I don’t know if Ernie heard it that way or any of the other people, but..."
(March 1998 letter to researcher Hal Verb as discussed in an article by Verb published in the Summer 2001 Kennedy Assassination Chronicles) "In 1993, while in Dallas on November 22nd upon the occasion of the 30" anniversary of the assassination, I discovered two witnesses to the assassination who were even closer than Zapruder was or, in fact closer than many of the individuals discussed in this article. One of these witnesses was John Templin. Templin was standing on Elm Street in front of the grassy knoll with his friend, Ernest Brandt. I helped identify these two witnesses by pointing them out in the Willis #5 still photo and also in Zapruder frame 202 (identical in time to Willis #5). Harold Weisberg, the noted assassination researcher, provided the dramatic evidence and proof of the two films equivalence which somehow 'eluded' the FBI's photo 'experts.' (See Weisberg's Whitewash series for this proof). In a letter to me, written in March. 1998, Templin related his experience at the time of the assassination: the motorcade past (sic] us about 15 to 20 feet we heard what appeared to be a motorcycle backfire. As it did, the President's shoulders came up and he slumped down slightly on the back of the seat. My first thought was that he was just acting and sort of playing the crowd. As the car went a few feet more, the second shot was fired hitting President Kennedy with such force that I could see his hair actually depart from his skull...My (sic) attention was to look behind us and see if we could see anyone or anything. We could not determine where the shots came from other than from our left.' Templin (continued in his letter): 'Did the first shot strike the President? Yes.' Interestingly enough, Templin pointed out to me that while he believed that only three shots were fired, he stated that 'the third shot missed everything.' Templin was never called before the Warren Commission and his observations are virtually barren when it comes to assassination literature (as well as his friend, Ernest Brandt). Again, we note here that Templin believed (at first) that Kennedy was "playing" or "acting." Not realizing until later that the President was being struck by gunfire."
(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.” (November 2012 article about Brandt and Templin on the DallasNews.com website) "The men had known each other only a few years when they watched the event that would bond them for the rest of their lives. At the time, Brandt was a freight line salesman; Templin was his customer. After a work lunch at a barbecue joint, they made a spur-of-the-moment decision to watch the Kennedy motorcade. They were standing within feet of the president when the first shot was fired. Brandt ran for cover under a nearby tree. Templin stayed and saw the shot that hit Kennedy’s head. 'It looked like he’d been hit with a left hook to the jaw,' said Templin, 74." 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 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.
Now, let's do a little sleuth-work. Jean Newman worked for Rheem Manufacturing, a top producer of water heaters, etc. And John Templin was the shipping clerk for Graybar, a top shipper of refrigerators, etc. And between them stood Ernest Brandt, a "personable" sales rep for Copperstate Freight Lines, a shipper of water heaters and refrigerators, etc. It seems possible, then, that the ever-personable Ernest Brandt had invited Mrs. Newman out to watch the motorcade, and that they'd had a pre-arranged meeting place by the Stemmons sign, and that at the last minute he'd decided to invite Templin, perhaps even as a beard.
South by Southwestern
Now, here's the next block of witnesses in Z-150. Although this at first appears to be five women, a closer look reveals it to be six.
While Westbrook recalled wearing a scarf on her head, and standing next to Gloria Calvery, moreover, we can conclude she was wrong about this as well.
About the second part, that is... She's undoubtedly right about the scarf. The four women at right all appear to be wearing scarves... We can assume Westbrook was one of them...
So why should we conclude she was wrong about standing by Calvery?
Well, the three women standing with Westbrook, including Calvery, all worked for Southwestern Publishing Company. And Westbrook gave the Sixth Floor Museum some pictures of herself with some of her co-workers, taken around Christmas, 1963...
Well, here's one of the photos. The red-head standing second to our left is Calvery, and the brunette on the far right is Westbrook.
Now, Calvery would appear to be the woman at the far right of our latest crop of Z-150. And Westbrook...she's the third tallest in the Christmas photo, and thin, and would appear to be the woman third from the right in the crop, in the light clothing.
Gloria Calvery (The 11-22-63 affidavit of Willam Shelley to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, 24H226) “The President’s car was about halfway from Houston Street to the Triple Underpass when I heard what sounded like three shots. I couldn’t tell where they came from. I ran across the street to the corner of the park and ran into a girl crying and she said the President had been shot. The girl’s name is Gloria Calvery…" (Gloria Calvery's 3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H638) “I am of the caucasian race, twenty-one years of age...On November 22, 1963, I left my office...to see the Presidential motorcade...I was with Mrs. Carol Reed...Mrs. Karan Hicks...and Miss Karen Westbrook...We walked to Elm Street and stopped at a point on the north edge 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.” (The 4-7-64 testimony of William Lovelady before the Warren Commission, 6H336) (When asked what happened after he heard the shots) "It didn't occur to me at first what had happened until this Gloria came running up to us and told us the President had been shot." (When asked what he did after she told him the president had been shot) "Well, I asked who told her. She said he had been shot so we asked her was she for certain or just had she seen the shot hit him or--she said yes, she had been right close to it to see and she had saw the blood and knew he had been hit but didn't know how serious it was." (The 4-7-64 testimony of William Shelley before the Warren Commission, 6H327) (When asked what happened just after the shooting) "Gloria Calvery from South-Western Publishing Co. ran back up there crying and said "The President has been shot" and Billy Lovelady and myself took off." (The 4-7-64 testimony of Joe Molina before the Warren Commission, 6H368-373 ) (When asked if he knew Gloria Calvery, and if she came up to him after the shooting) "Yes, she came. I was in the lobby standing there and she came in with this other girl...She said "Oh, my God, Joe, he's been shot." They were both horrified. I said "Are you sure he was shot?" She said 'Oh, Joe, I'm sure. I saw his hair fly up and I'm sure he was shot,' something to that extent." 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.
Now, here's a Gerda Dunckel clip from the Couch film taken 25-30 seconds after the shooting. Note that Motorcycle Officer Marion Baker runs up to the steps at the end of the clip. Now note that the woman in white (presumed to be Westbrook) is helping a woman in darker clothing (presumed to be Calvery) up the steps.
Now some have tried to dispute that the women climbing the steps are Calvery and Westbrook. They say this clip was taken too close to the shots for these high-heeled women to have reached the steps.
But here's another snippet from the Couch film. This clip once again shows officer Marion Baker racing towards the steps. He is further away from the steps, however, than he is in the clip above. Well, this means this clip was taken a few seconds before the clip above. And yet, look in the background of this clip. Billy Lovelady and Bill Shelley are walking west in the background. Now, note that a woman heading towards them appears to turn her head in their direction as she passes, and that they appear to pick up their pace afterwards. It could be, then, that Lovelady and Shelley were just leaving the front steps when Calvery and Westbrook ran up and told them the President had been shot, and that they started walking in that direction, and then saw this other woman whom they knew running towards them in a panic. And that this led them to really get moving.
(It should be noted, moreover, that some claim the clip above shows Calvery running up to Lovelady on the steps. This is refuted, however, by 1) the clip below proving Lovelady and Shelley had already left the steps before Baker's arrival, 2) the 11-22-63 statement of Shelley's in which he specified he spoke to Calvery by the "park", and 3) the testimony of both Lovelady and Shelley in which they claimed they'd left the steps before Baker's arrival.)
Now look at how this woman is dressed. Here she is, in the Darnell film, running towards the Depository behind Baker. Well, she's wearing a light top and a dark skirt. And appears to be the woman standing between what I've presumed was Calvery and Westbrook in Z-150.
Well, if she could make it to the steps in, say, 25 seconds, who are we to doubt that our presumed Calvery and Westbrook could make it in, say, 20?
So, who could this be? Well, Karen Westbrook also mentioned Carol Ann Reed... (Researcher Brian Doyle reports that he contacted Reed, and that she identified herself in the Christmas photos put online by Westbrook, and that she is the fourth woman from the left, with the white sleeves. He also reports that she remembered running after the shooting, but had no recollection of helping Calvery up the steps. Well, maybe that's because she didn't help her up the steps. Because that was Westbrook...)
Carol Reed (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H668) “I am 20 years of age...I am a white female...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. Karan Hicks…Miss Karen Westbrook…and Mrs. Gloria Calvery…at the time the President was shot.” Analysis: too vague.
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." (March 1964 account of Dallas Morning News reporter Kent Biffle, reporting on the witnesses he saw and heard in Dealey Plaza just after the shooting on 11-22-63, published in an 11-19-78 Dallas Times Herald article, and subsequently published in JFK Assassination: The Reporters' Notes, 2013) "A stenographer in one of the offices was the best witness to the shooting that I have heard yet. She told how the bullets hit President Kennedy. I knew then that he was almost certainly fatally struck. She said, "I saw his hair fly up." And she burst into sobs." (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H679) “I am of the Caucasian race, eighteen years of age...On November 22, 1963, I left my office…I was with Mrs. Gloria Calvery... Mrs. Carol Reed...and Mrs. Karan Hicks…We walked to Elm Street and stopped at a point on the north edge 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. I did not immediately recognize this sound as a gunshot... After President Kennedy was shot I returned to my office...” (11-28-17 Living History interview with the Sixth Floor Museum) (On the Altgens photo some claimed showed Oswald, but the Warren Commission claimed showed Billy Lovelady) "We knew exactly that it was Billy. There was no doubt in our mind." (On Jackie Kennedy's actions before the shooting) "She was leaning over the President and pulling her hair out of her eyes as they were waving to us. And that was the image that I remember when the first shot was fired..." (Host Stephen Fagin then shows her Zapruder film frame 202, and asks if this is where Kennedy was--which is basically right in front of her--when she heard the first shot fired.) "Right, that's correct. And when I heard the shot fired, not being familiar with gunfire at all, I thought it was a car backfiring. Everything went into slow motion. I know y'all see that in movies, and so forth, but it's really true. When something like that--a moment like that happens, everything seemed to go into slow motion in my mind. And after the first shot was fired I saw the President's hands gradually come up...I thought he was going to hold up his hands and say "Ah, you got me..." But, of course the second shot was fired and it turned out not to be the case...As the car kept on going, then the shot was fired that hit him in the head. And, I have said so many times in the course of these 54 years, when I don't know my own name, I will remember seeing the President's head explode (as she says this she pats herself on the top of her head above her right ear). It was an awful, awful, sight, something that you shouldn't have to witness." (When asked if she had her eyes on the President the whole time) "The whole time, yeah." (When asked how many shots) "I heard three...I heard three shots." (When asked about spacing) "They were not even. Even in that short space of time, I heard two, and then kind of a lull, and then one...They sounded all the same to me. I had no sense that there was a difference in their intensity. I had no sense that they came from a different location. It was just all the same in that regard...They sounded like they came from behind me." (When asked if that meant the depository) "Right." (When asked if she immediately thought the shots came from her building) "I don't know that I thought of it from my building. Not immediately. But after the shots were fired...we were just in a panic....And then when everybody realized that the shots were fired... it erupted in pandemonium. Everybody started running every place. So we came back to the building... In a very short time the police were in our building...It was at that point that we first suspected that maybe there was something in our building." (When asked how she came to realize they were gunshots and not backfires) "I think that as the seconds went by, and the second shot was fired, it became very clear that this was not a backfiring car." (When asked who she thinks did it) "I still think Lee did it...I do think he did it by himself. But I do believe there were influencers behind him." Analysis: Westbrook is a belated member of the first shot hit club. Heard three shots? First shot hit 190-224. First two shots bunched together.
Now here is a crop from Zapruder frame 202. Westbrook claimed this was the location of Kennedy when she heard the first shot. The Warren Commission, of course, said Kennedy was not hit till 8 frames or more later, and most single-assassin theorists today propose Kennedy was not hit until Connally was hit--which was at Zapruder film frames 222-224.
Now, Westbrook said the fourth woman in her group was the other Carol, and that there were two Carols. Well, she was almost certainly thinking of her co-worker Carol Hughes, who remained in the building. Ironically, what she probably should have said was that it was the other Karen, and that there were two Karens, including herself. (Hicks, then, would be the tall woman at the far left of the Christmas photo.)
Karan Hicks (3-20-64 statement to the FBI, 22H650) “I am of the caucasian race, 19 years of age...On November 22, 1963, I left my office...to see the Presidential motorcade...I was with Mrs. Gloria Calvery...Mrs. Carol Reed...and Miss Karen Westbrook...We walked to Elm Street and stopped at a point on the north edge 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. I did not immediately recognize this sound as a gunshot.” 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.
Now, as stated, there were six women in this group, not four. So who were the other two?
Betty Jean Thornton (11-24-63 FBI report, CD5 p.63) (On Oswald) “an employee of Scott-Foresman Educational Publishers, which is located on the fourth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building...She said that although she now understands Lee Harvey Oswald worked for the Texas School Book Depository recently, she had never seen him before as far as she knows…She advised she was standing on the street when the President’s car passed by and she heard what she thought was a number of firecrackers. Immediately afterward someone said the President was hit...She said people began running toward the embankment as if the shots had come from that direction. She said she turned toward the Texas School Book Depository and entered same however did not observe anyone in the lobby or running down the stairwell. She entered the elevator and rode to the fourth floor where Jane Berry, another employee of the company, was telling other employees what had happened.” (3-23-64 statement to the FBI, 22H677) “I am a white female, born...on November 13, 1929...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. She also had no recollection of Oswald. Number of shots??? First shot 190-224.
Jane Berry (11-25-63 FBI report based upon an 11-24-63 interview, CD5 p.42) “advised she was employed by Scott-Foresman Publishing Company, fourth floor, Texas School Book Depository Building... On November 22, 1963, she was standing just west of the building, watching a parade in which President John F. Kennedy was riding. 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. She realized that the President had been shot and observed the motorcade in which he was riding immediately speed off in a westerly direction. Everyone was very excited and no one seemed to know where the shot had come from. It sounded as if it had been fired from a position west of where she had been standing. She soon returned to her office on the fourth floor...After seeing photographs of Lee Harvey Oswald she could not recall ever having seen him before.” (3-19-64 statement, 22H637) “I am a white female, born on February 5, 1940... 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 failed to hear a first shot miss. First shot 190-224. Probable first shot hit. Last two shots probably bunched together.
Now, here are five witnesses, in the Betzner photo taken at Z-186. John Templin, from the last group, is on the left. Next to him is the tall be-scarfed woman believed to be Gloria Calvery. (Note: researcher Brian Doyle says he talked to Calvery's son, Chris Calvery, and that Chris identified this woman as his mother.) The next two woman are, apparently, concealed behind the head of Secret Service agent George Hickey. The tall woman in the green-ish dress (presumably Hicks, but possibly Westbrook), and the woman in dark blue, to her left, follow. But wait, between these last two, at a lower level, is another woman, presumably the mostly-obscured woman wearing the bright blue coat in Z-150.
And here this woman is again, in the Willis photo taken one second later, at Z-202. (We can see here that, yessiree, this is the woman wearing the bright blue coat in Z-150.)
And here is the short woman again, as depicted in the 12-14-63 Saturday Evening Post. Now, this photo was taken around 3 seconds after the Willis photo. It was taken by James Altgens from a good distance down the street, while using a zoom lens. As a result, the relationship between the witnesses has been distorted, and a number of witnesses not standing all the way out on the curb have been hidden. After some thought, I've concluded the first two witnesses in this image are, from L to R, the short woman waving in the images above, and the sunglass-wearing woman to her left in the Betzner photo. (We'll get to the other witnesses in a minute.)
In any event, I suspect the short woman is Betty Thornton, and the sunglass-wearing woman to her left (in the Betzner and Altgens photos, and unseen in the Willis photo) is Jane Berry.
The next four witnesses worked for the Dallas Morning News.
The Last Wave
The shooting scenario depicted on TV ad nauseum has the first shot ring out when Kennedy was 30 feet or more in front of these witnesses. Let's see if this has any merit.
Mary Woodward (11-23-63 newspaper article Witness From the News Describes Assassination written by Woodward for the Dallas Morning News) "Four of us from Women’s News, Maggie Brown, Aurelia Alonzo, my roommate Ann Donaldson, and myself had decided to spend our lunch hour by going to see the President. We took our lunch along – some crackers and apples – and started walking down Houston Street. We decided to cross Elm and wait there on the grassy slope just east of the Triple Underpass, since there weren’t very many people there and we could get a better view. 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, it seemed. Jackie was wearing a beautiful pink suit with beret to match. Two of us, who had seen the President last during the final weeks of the 1960 campaign, remarked almost simultaneously how relaxed and robust he looked. As it turned out, we were almost certainly the last faces he noticed in the crowd. After acknowledging our cheers, he faced forward again and suddenly there was a horrible, ear-shattering 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. Things are a little hazy from this point, but 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 half-way around, then fell on top of her husband’s body. Not until this minute did it sink in what actually was happening. We had witnessed the assassination of the President. The cars behind stopped and several men – Secret Service men, I suppose – got out and started rushing forward, obstructing our view of the President’s car. Then I started looking around at the stunned crowd. About 10 feet from where we were standing, a man and woman had thrown their small child to the ground and covered his body with theirs. Apparently the bullets had whizzed directly over their heads. Next to us were two Negro women. One collapsed in the other’s arms, weeping and uttering what everyone was thinking: “They’ve shot him.” It still seems like a horrible nightmare. It will be a real-life nightmare to haunt us all for a long time to come." (12-7-63 FBI report, 24H520) “She 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. Her next reaction was that the shots might have come from the overpass which was to her right. She stated, however, because of the loud echo, she couldn't say where the shots had come from, other than they had come from above her head.” (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 right, 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." (11-22-92 interview with Walt Brown as presented in Treachery in Dallas, 1995) "I had the distinct pleasure of having dinner with Mary Woodward (now married and living far from Dallas) on November 22, 1992...I asked Mary about the shots, based on what I knew about her deposition, and she seemed to be far more certain over dinner than her elliptically reported words in the FBI report indicated. The cadence she gave for the shot sequence put the last two almost simultaneous. I then asked her the obvious remaining (and immediately leading) question: The knoll! She nodded in the affirmative, with a very persuasive intensity in her eyes."
(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."
Now, here's Kennedy's last wave.
(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 Living History interview with The Sixth Floor Museum) "They turned the corner...I yelled out 'Please look this way' because I wanted to see Jackie Kennedy. And they did look at us and waved...There was one shot. And I have always believed it didn't hit anybody and I think a lot of researchers have shown I am probably right on this. Because I couldn't see anything happen and I couldn't figure out what it was...But then the next two shots came very very rapidly. The sound of one didn't kind of fade away before the second shot came. And that's when--the second shot--I saw really what happened. And I don't know--of all four of us it seemed I was the only one who really saw and really understood what happened. (When asked if she felt sure the second two shots were almost right on top of each other) "Yes." (When asked if she only heard three) "No doubt--I have never had a single doubt about that." (When asked to describe the head shot) "I saw the President sort of fall forward and down." (When asked about her initial claim the shots came from behind and to the right, which she admits would be the grassy knoll) "First of all I have a hearing problem...I can't tell the direction of sound." (When asked her impression of the head wound) "I just remember the head blowing open and that's why I said 'he's not alive--he can't be alive.'" (On the speed of the limo after the fatal shot) "It did seem to me that it didn't speed up like it should have...It just seemed to take what seemed like then forever for it to get out of there."
(11-7-15 WFAA news report on Pilsworth'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).
Donaldson, for that matter, was not content to let Woodward do all the talking...
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.'" (11-10-03 Oral History interview with The Sixth Floor Museum) "They came by...He smiled and waved what I thought was personally at me. Right. They started on down the hill and then I heard a loud noise that I thought might have been a car backfiring or firecrackers or something. And I looked up at the tall buildings which is where it sounded like it came from, behind me and up by Dealey Plaza--up that way. I turned back to the car and heard two more shots and saw him fall. I didn't see who did it or anything like that. I was so busy trying to track the sounds coming from back behind me. I was facing more toward the triple underpass. Suddenly I saw people hitting the ground...There was a pause in the presidential car and then it just sped up and went on the other side." (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." (9-06-04 email to researcher Brian Kelleher, as presented in Kelleher's book The Complete Unraveling of the JFK Assassination, 2014) "When I heard the first shot, I'd say the President was about 1:00 or 1:30. He definitely was not directly opposite." (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 claim she'd heard three shots and had always said she'd heard 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.
So, here are these last four witnesses in Z-150. It is presumed that Donaldson was on the right, and that Woodward is to her left, and then Brown, and then Alonzo.
The hard hat to their left is believed to be A.J. Millican. These witnesses can be viewed from the front in the Willis photo taken at Z-202 (less than 3 seconds later). Here it is.
And here are these witnesses as depicted in the 12-14-63 Saturday Evening Post. Now, this photo was taken around 3 seconds after the Willis photo. It was taken by James Altgens from a good distance down the street, while using a zoom lens. As a result, the relationship between the witnesses has been distorted, and a number of witnesses not standing all the way out on the curb have been hidden. After some thought, I've concluded the witnesses in this image are, from L to R, (the women I've identified as) Betty Thornton (smiling), Jane Berry (clapping), Ann Donaldson (with camera--presumably taking a picture of LBJ in the back-up car), Mary Woodward (the blonde looking at the limousine), Maggie Brown (next to Woodward, with glasses), Aurelia Alonzo (almost entirely obscured behind Brown), and hard-hat A.J. Millican (looking away). The man back behind them remains unidentified.
Now, if you're still having trouble seeing how the Altgens crop above matches up with the Zapruder film, here is a little something put together by researcher Robin Unger, in which he reversed the Z-film and essentially made the witnesses face themselves. (Talk about your crap luck. I came across this the day AFTER I'd spent 3-4 hours trying to figure out the location of the "short woman" in the Z-film. Oh well. At least it confirmed my conclusion, as opposed to making me run back to the drawing board.)
A.J. Millican (11-22-63 handwritten statement to Sheriff Bill Decker, 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.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that many of the identifications in this chapter have been guesswork. And one ID in particular nags at me. It is that of Peggy Burney, an assistant to Abraham Zapruder, and first cousin to journalist Vivian Castleberry. While I have placed her with June Dishong, she may very well have stood a bit to the east of A.J. Millican.
A crop from the Betzner photo taken at Z-186 follows... Burney could very well be the woman pointed out by an arrow. (As we will see, a number of Dal-Tex Building employees stood on this part of the curb, and Burney worked in the Dal-Tex.)
So there it is. The witnesses standing along Elm Street between the Stemmons Freeway sign and the light pole just east of the Thornton Freeway sign were of a divided mind. Those closest to the Stemmons Freeway sign indicated the first shot was fired as the presidential limousine was approaching them or passing them, and those by the light pole, which Kennedy passed around Z-190, indicated the limousine had just passed them.
Well, this isn't rocket science, folks. It's clear from this that the first shot heard by the witnesses was heard when Kennedy was a short ways past the light pole, at the approximate location of the Thornton Freeway sign, which he passed around Z-200. Let's say Z-220.
Now, we should take into account that it would take someone a second or two from the time a shot was fired to have the sound of the shot reach them, to hear the full BLAM of the shot, and then conclude what they'd just heard was a shot (or even a firecracker).
And this should lead us to conclude this first shot was fired somewhere between Z-184 and Z-202
Well, this puts it right around Z-190, where the HSCA placed the first shot striking Kennedy. And this suggests that, should there have been a first shot miss at Z-160, as claimed by most single-assassin theorists, and as presented in most every TV re-enactment of the last 30 years, it was a shot that NO ONE heard.
Let us now look at a witness who failed to hear a single shot.
A Pat on the Back for Clapping Man
Above: as Kennedy comes out from behind the sign in the Zapruder film, he appears to have been hit, and yet, even so, the nearest witnesses to him on the south side of Elm appear to be oblivious. I think we now know why.
Hank Farmer is a rarely-discussed witness who is presumed to have stood in the plaza on the south side of Elm. (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 such an interview exists in the FBI or DPD files.) (12-14-63 FBI report on a 12-12 interview, CD205 p.34) "Mr. Hank Farmer...advised he is a service station attendant at the Brock Station...on November 22, 1963, at approximately 12:15 P.M., he arrived at the Dallas County Courthouse to pay taxes. He was unaware that there was to be a presidential motorcade passing by. 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. Farmer stated that he did not know what happened but thought that both men had been shot; however, he did not hear any shots." 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.
Now, in 2020, while going through this stuff for the one-millionth time, it suddenly hit me who Farmer was in the assassination photos and films, and where he was standing during the shooting. I mean, he would have to have been standing pretty close to Kennedy and Connally to note the reactions of the men to the shots, without actually hearing the shots, right?
As a consequence, I believe Farmer is the man in the light blue overalls on the south side of Elm, the man some have called "Clapping Man" due to his continuing to clap and look the other way as Kennedy and Connally rode past.
Here he is in a much-lightened frame from the Zapruder film. From this you can tell that he is a black man with gray hair.
And here is "Clapping Man" in a Phil Willis photo taken a minute or so later. Note that he is walking away from the scene, in the street, like he knows Kennedy's been killed, and is in a bit of a daze.
So why do I think this was Farmer? Well, let's make a list.
The "Clapping Man" was oblivious to Kennedy and Connally when last seen in the Zapruder film, which was still a few seconds before the fatal head shot. It seems possible, then, that he did turn to look at Kennedy as the fatal shot exploded the right side of Kennedy's head (which "Clapping Man" might very well have perceived as Kennedy's "face"), and that he then saw Connally get pulled down into the car by Mrs. Connally. From the "clapping" man's perspective, then, it would have appeared as though Kennedy was hit in the face, and that Connally was hit in the back just afterwards. Well, this is precisely what Farmer told the FBI.
"Clapping Man" was wearing overalls, and a mechanics apron. Farmer said he was a gas station attendant, and that he'd come over to the "park" after stopping by the courthouse at 12:15. Well, this suggests he'd come over on his lunch hour, and that he was dressed in his work clothes. Gas station attendants of the day wore uniforms--which were frequently overalls, and sometimes mechanics aprons--especially if they also did some work under the hood.
Farmer called the Dallas FBI at 5:36 P.M., which would be shortly after most working stiffs got home from work. This supports, then, that Farmer was on his lunch hour when he visited the Plaza, and that he was wearing a gas station attendant's overalls at the time, and that he called the FBI when he got home from work.
"Clapping Man" is an elderly man. It follows, then, that he may have been a bit hard-of-hearing. If Farmer was "Clapping Man," then, this would help explain why Farmer failed to hear the shots.
"Clapping Man" is a black man. If Farmer was "Clapping Man," well, then, it would also help explain why Farmer initially told the FBI he wouldn't speak to the Dallas Police. The Dallas Police had an adversarial relationship with the black community. The black community by-and-large didn't trust them. In this light, then, it's not surprising that the man standing with "Clapping Man" never came forward.
That Farmer was black might also explain why either no report on his initial interview was filed, or was later shit-canned. Here was an elderly black man--who didn't even hear the shots--telling the investigating agencies that it looked to him like Kennedy was shot from the front...and this after Oswald had been arrested and fingered as THE guy, etc. While Farmer didn't hear the shots, they clearly didn't want to hear what he had to say, and may very well have trashed their notes even before Farmer had left the building.
So why did I call this section "A Pat on the Back for the Clapping Man"? Well, think about it. Farmer was interviewed by the FBI on 12-12-63, almost 3 weeks after the assassination. There is no mention in Special Agent Maurice White's report on this interview of Farmer's previously contacting the FBI on 11-22-63. It seems likely, then, that this was not a much-belated follow-up to the previous interview, but an interview performed in response to a second contact with Farmer. In other words, Farmer re-contacted the FBI on 12-12 or thereabouts (he may even have just walked into the office that day) saying "Hey, I may not have heard the shots, but I saw Kennedy get shot from the front. And you should know about this." And they did, so much so that they failed to record in their 12-14-63 report--the only report of Farmer shared with the Warren Commission, by the way--that he thought the fatal shot came from in front of Kennedy.
It seems likely, then, that Farmer considered it his patriotic duty to report what he saw, and the FBI considered it their political duty to hide what he thought he saw from the public and Warren Commission.
So, yes, a pat on the back for the Clapping Man.
We can now resume our regular programming. We were going through the witnesses along the north side of Elm.
The Invisible Women
Now let's look at a match-up of a group of mostly African-American women as seen in Robert Croft's color photo taken at Z-frame 161, Hugh Betzner's black and white photo taken at Z-frame 186 (a second and a half later), and James Altgens' black and white photo taken around Z-255 (almost 4 seconds after that). (Original image and inspiration: Robin Unger).
First, the Croft photo...
Now here are these same women in the Betzner photo. (The woman in the blue dress above is marked as number 7 below.)
And here they are in the Altgens photo.
As Croft's photo was taken at frame 161 of the Zapruder film, and most single-assassin theorists propose the first shot was fired at this time, the statements and testimony of these witnesses would have proved most helpful in our effort to ascertain the exact moment of the first shot. Unfortunately, however, the racial climate of Dallas in 1963 was such that none of these witnesses ever came forward. Even worse, none of the other witnesses along the street in this section have been identified. Save one--tellingly, the lone white guy in the Croft photo. That's Maurice Orr, at the far right of the Croft photo.
Now, that said, we might very well have the names of some of these witnesses.
By July, 1964, the Kennedy assassination research community had begun focusing on the photographic evidence. The Altgens photo (b and w, above) had been blown up and studied. Well, around this time, a woman, Clotile Williams, contacted the FBI and complained that she'd been tracked down by a male and female couple, who'd ID'ed her from one of the photos. They just wanted to ask questions, mind you. But it scared her nonetheless. Well, the thought occurs this couple was George and Patricia Nash, graduate students at Columbia University in New York, who were in Dallas in early July 1964 tracking down previously unidentified witnesses. And the thought occurs that they'd been studying the Altgens photo, and had thought to do what the Dallas Police and FBI had failed to do--that is, ask African-American workers going to lunch in Dealey Plaza if they could identify anyone in the photos. If so, it appears someone recognized this woman, Clotile Williams.
Now, admittedly, Mrs. Williams said she'd watched the motorcade from the northwest corner of Houston and Elm. But that's vague enough, IMO, to include an area 50 feet or so from the corner. In any event, I can't shake my suspicion the photo being studied was the Altgens photo, and that Mrs. Williams was one of the African-American women readily identifiable in the blow-up below.
Clotile Williams (7-24 64 FBI report, CD1395, p.6) “Mrs. Williams advised that on November 22, 1963, while employed by William Miller, clothing manufacturer, at 501 Elm Street, Dallas Texas, she viewed the Presidential motorcade. She said shortly after 12:00 noon, on November 22, 1963, she took up a position on the northwest corner of Houston and Elm Streets. She said shortly after President Kennedy’s car passed this position she heard some shots. She said she does not recall the number of shots fired, but that she definitely heard shots. She said she became frightened and ran toward 501 Elm Street, Dallas Texas, where she was employed. Mrs. Williams stated she did not see anything that aroused her suspicion and did not know where the shots came from...Mrs. Williams stated that on July 5, 1964, her neighbor, Mildred Janis...advised her that on Saturday night, July 4, 1964, at about midnight, a white man and a white woman contacted Mrs. Janis attempting to locate Mrs. Williams. Mrs. Williams stated that Mrs. Janis informed her these people had a photograph taken on the street near the site of the assassination of President Kennedy, and appearing in this picture was a woman who resembled her, Mrs. Williams. Mrs. Williams stated Mrs. Janis advised this man and woman told her they were from New York and wanted to talk to Mrs. Williams in connection with the photograph.” Analysis: too vague.
And that's where it stood for many years...until the HSCA's investigators spoke to Oswald's co-worker James Jarman on 9-25-77, and he told them his cousin, Irma Jean Vanzan, had viewed the motorcade from out in front of the school book depository.
Irma Jean Vanzan, James Jarman's cousin, worked on the fifth floor of the Dal-Tex Building and was standing in front of the book depository when Kennedy was assassinated. (9-25-77 audio-taped interview with HSCA investigators put up on youtube by Denis Morrissette) "We come down about 12:00..We were standing there waiting for the motorcade when this car come up in front of the school book depository. It backed up and pulled up (unint) (She then describes an incident in which an ambulance came to the corner of Houston and Elm and picked up a young man, Jerry Belknap, who'd had a seizure) (What happened next) "A car come up, backed up and pulled up in front of the school book depository, then backed out into the intersection and left." (When asked what it looked like) "It was a car with a lot of writing on it--Honest Joe's Pawn Shop...a lot of signs..." (On the shooting) "We was all standing there watching for the motorcade, and we waved to the President. And then a few minutes later then I heard these shots, which I thought was firecrackers. And then I looked around, and I saw everybody falling on the ground. And then I looked at my sister, and she said that she had saw the President...that the President was shot...And they speeded off. And the Secret Service man ran towards the track..And I thought that's where the sound was coming from because it had an echo to the shot. And then after that I saw the police and this little boy come up. And the little boy was showing them the window where the shooter was coming from." (When asked if when she said "we" she meant she and her sister) "Umm-hmm." Analysis: as Vanzan suggests a passage of time between the passing of the President and the first sound she heard, her testimony is more suggestive of a first shot at 190 than 160. She also believed this sound came from the train tracks. Probable first shot 190.
Anne Ruth Moore was a co-worker of Vanzan's, who was subsequently interviewed by the HSCA's investigators. (Transcript of a 10-20-77 interview with HSCA investigators Al Maxwell and Clarence Day, RIF# 180-1007-10029) (As to her whereabouts on 11-22-63) "I was on my job on Elm Street, 501 Elm St...we watched the parade. We came down from the fifth floor, down on the street." (When asked who "we" was) "My co-workers...Irma Jean Vanzandt, Gertrude Fowler and her husband, Gene Fowler, Lillian Ruth Johnson, and Mary Francis--I can't think of the last name. Ruby Cannon and Joyce Jones." (As to where they were standing) "Directly in front of the book depository." (On the shooting) "We was standing there, we was waiting for the motorcade--the motorcade came up Houston, turned directly in front of us, and started down Elm Street. And while was was standing there--the motorcade was real close to us, close enough for us to reach out and touch but didn't anyone do this, and by that time they passed by us, he waved to us, and by that time we heard a shot. We heard a noise, I'll say, and I said...'Now, what in the world is this backfiring a car like right here now at this time?' And then I saw the President when he kinda leaned over--like forward--he leaned forward. And then after he leaned forward I heard a second shot. And then when I heard the second shot, that's when Mrs. Kennedy stood up and I could see all this when it fell." (When asked to explain what she meant by "all this.") "I could see his forehead. Seemed like his whole forehead just fell down--fell down--cause when it hit...all of this just fell down. And then I started to screaming and everyone started to screaming and after that it was utter chaos. We all was running and running into each other and knocking each other down, and Mrs. Kennedy was standing straight up in the car. And the Secret Service man ran and he jumped up in the car and he grabbed Mrs. Kennedy and pushed her down and got in there on top of her..." (When asked how many shots) "I just heard two...and they came directly over our head and we were standing directly in front of the book depository." (When asked if she turned around) "I turned around to see why somebody was backfiring a car...I didn't look up; I just thought it was a car backfiring." (When asked where she ran) "Ran back into the building...Up on the fifth floor...all of us was standing there looking out the window." (When asked what they saw) "We saw people lying on the ground and the police attending them, and people running, and cameras flashing, and police running in and out of buildings and all around behind the buildings." (When asked if anyone in her group took pictures) "No...but I did see some pictures of us standing on the corner there." (When asked where she saw this picture) "It was in the newspaper." (When asked if she could see into the depository from the window) "We could see into--see the windows. I didn't see anyone in there...I mean I wasn't even looking because I didn't--I wasn't thinking about the book depository." (When asked from where she thought the first noise had come) "I thought it was on the street behind us...we were standing right on the corner of the street and I thought it was in behind us... (When asked if she was standing in front of the book depository, but across the street in the plaza) "Yeah, we was standing right on the corner. The building is on the corner and we were standing right in front of the depository." (When asked if she thought the shot had come from a building) "I didn't think it was a shot. I thought a car was backfiring." (When asked again if she looked around after the shooting) "For the first time I did. I looked around and commented to my friends 'Who'd backfire a car at a time like this?' I said that. And then when I heard the second one --then I knew it was a shot because I could see the President had been hit." (When asked if she saw him lean forward) "He leaned forward, yes." (When asked if she saw his head explode) "It seemed like it was all this from his forehead down--just looked like it was all dropped down...Fell down. And that's when Mrs. Kennedy jumped up and started to scream...I could tell she was screaming by her mouth..." (When asked if she saw a car pull in front of the depository before the arrival of the motorcade) "It was a black truck and it had lots of writing on it and the truck had 'Jack Ruby and Honest Joe" and I remember saying to one of my co-workers: 'What in the world is Honest Joe doing out in the middle of the street in a time like this?'" (When asked about the writing on the truck) "it had 'Jack Ruby' written on there and "'Honest Joe" and...I said 'Well that must be the same person...I saw a man with a hat sitting in this truck." (When asked to describe the truck) "it was just a black pick-up truck and it just had all this writing on it, and the writing was some white and some red, and it was on this black pick-up truck." (When asked how long this was before the motorcade came by) "Well, it must have been about--I say--15 minutes, because it wasn't our lunchtime yet." (When asked how many people looked out the window on the fifth floor--if it was just the co-workers with whom she'd watched the motorcade, or more) "It's more than that 'cause more of us worked there--I haven't called any of the white people that worked there. There's a lot of those. All what I told you were black." (When asked if she saw anyone get out of the truck) 'No, he didn't get out." (When asked if she could ID the man in the truck as Jack Ruby) "we assumed it was Ruby because he was driving a truck with Ruby's name and Honest Joe written on it." Analysis: a quick look back at the Altgens photo (taken at Z-255) proves three of the unidentified Black women along Elm in the Croft photo (taken at Z-160) and Betzner photo (taken at Z-186) have suddenly turned their heads to look back towards the corner. Moore is presumably one of these three. If so, her statements are far more suggestive the first shot rang out circa Z-190 than at Z-160. Heard but two shots. First shot hit 190-224.
Mary Hall was yet another Dal-Tex employee interviewed by the HSCA's investigators. She is presumably the "Mary Francis--I can't think of the last name" mentioned by Moore. More significantly, researcher Linda Giovanni Zambanini was able to establish that Irma Jean Vanzan's maiden name was Davis, and that Mary Francis Hall's maiden name was Davis, and that Mary Hall was thereby the "sister" Vanzan mentioned in her interview. Although she worked on the upper floors of the Dal-Tex Building, and said she saw the shooting, the HSCA's investigators never bothered to ask Hall from where she watched the shooting. We can only presume, then, she was standing with her sister and co-workers from the Dal-Tex out in front of the depository when the shots were fired. (Notes on an 11-12-77 interview with HSCA investigators Maxwell, Day, and Leap, RIF# 180-10114-10400) "Mrs. Hall was interviewed at her sister's home and stated that on November 22, 1963, she was employed by E. Wills Fashion Co., located at 501 Elm St., fifth floor. On the day prior to the President's visit (November 21, 1963), two men came to the factory and had a conversation with Mr. Ralph Leads, which she overheard--words to the effect that they were determining the route of the motorcade. Mrs. Hall was unable to state whom the men represented. On the morning of the 22nd of November, sometimes between 9:30 and 10:30, Mrs. Hall states she glanced out the window (her sewing machine faced Houston Street and was near there window) and observed an old type station wagon with writing on it saying Honest Joe drive into Houston Street and park next to the T.S.B.D. A young man (whom she believed to be a delivery man) got out and took a package about 5 feet long and 6 to 8 inches wide from the car and entered the side door of the T.S.B.D. At this time, Mrs. Hall states she resumed her work and didn't look out the window until around lunchtime when she looked across the street into the T.S.B.D.'s sixth floor window ('their sixth floor window was level with our fifth floor window") and she saw a white male, wearing a hat, apparently looking for something among boxes. She showed the man to her co-worker, Gertrude Fowler, and a few minutes later they all went to have lunch and watch the President's motorcade. When the motorcade came by, Mrs. Hall states she heard a bang; the President's hands went up towards his head, and a cop fell off his motorcycle. Another bang and the President's head went over. Jackie got out of the car onto the trunk; everyone was screaming and running. 'I thought I saw smoke coming from the railroad. A lot of people ran to the railroad tracks, including myself, but we turned around and went back to work. At the factory there were plain clothes police. I told Mr. Leads about the man in the window across the street when I heard someone say the shots had come from the T.S.B.D. Mr. Leads told me to talk to the police and tell them what I saw, which I did. Later, we all were sent home." Analysis: Hall is a surprisingly credible witness. There is no indication she ever sought money or attention for her story, and the things she noticed may have been innocent. Her recollection of the Honest Joe car is intriguing, and corroborates Irma Jean Vanzan's and Anne Moore's claims the Dal-Tex women were suspicious of that car. Hall's recollection of seeing a man with a hat on the sixth floor is also intriguing, if possibly innocent. It could be, after all, that the man with the hat she saw was Detective Robert Studebaker. She may have seen him moving boxes around after the shooting but then come to believe she saw him before the shooting. In any event, she was probably telling the truth as she recalled it. What is harder to believe, however, is the HSCA's failure to follow-up on Hall's story. She mentioned Ralph Leads and Gertrude Fowler as co-workers who may have been able to confirm parts of her story, but there's no evidence the HSCA followed-up with them. It's a shame. Heard but two shots. First shot hit 190-224. Saw smoke on knoll.
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, above. He is the middle-aged white man on the far right. This places him further east than as suggested by Kimbrough's notes, however. (Mary Ferrell's chronology based upon an 11-22-63 discussion Orr had 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.
In the Crowd
Here is the final sequence of the Towner film. Although currently unidentified, the next few witnesses are almost certainly in the crowd by the white monument in the sequence.
And here is a still from the Wiegman film. It is presumed these women are among those closest to the camera.
Mary Sue Dickerson (subsequently Mary Sue Bennett) (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H644) “I...am employed with Allyn and Bacon, Inc., room 301, Texas School Book Depository, Dallas, Texas...I am a white female and I was born November 3, 1931...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 Building. I was with Mrs. Billie Clay...Mrs. Clay was on my right as best I can recall...I returned to the building within five minutes after the shooting and left the building about two PM on November 22, 1963.” (8-7-68 report of Tom Bethel and Al Oser, investigators working on behalf New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison) "We...went to the...Book Depository in an attempt to interview Mr. Steven F. Wilson...However, Mr. Wilson was...out of town...but we did manage to talk to his secretary, a Mrs. Mary Sue Dickerson, who...gave a statement to the FBI in which she did not give any significant information as to the direction or number of shots. When we spoke to her she was no more able to give any more significant information so that she was not able to tell where the shots came from, and was not able to say how many shots there were, except that there were more than two." (7-29-10 Oral History interview for the Sixth Floor Museum) "I was in Mr. Wilson‟s office, taking dictation, and my friend Mary, who was the assistant came in and said, “Mr. Wilson, surely you're going to let Sue go down.” And he said, 'Well, OK, if you'll go get me a Coke on the second floor.' I ran down the stairs and got him a Coke and came back. And I went out there, and I was standing, I was standing on the curb (choked up) and he was about as close to me (gestures) as you are. And he looked straight at me (smiling), then suddenly, what I thought were firecrackers went off and his hair all blew up (motions). I'm sorry, it‟s... it was such a tragic thing (choked up). But to see it, and I went right back into the building, but if you didn't go into the building, and other people I imagine you've talked to told you this part, if you didn't go back into the building you couldn't get in. And if you did go back in, you couldn't get out (laughing). And so that's, you know, I just went back in and I even remember I turned around and I pushed this man behind me, and I said 'Oh my goodness, I'm sorry.' And he said, 'You don't have to apologize.' (shaking head) You know, people were... but I just went in and went back up to my office. And I called my brother, I didn't call my husband I called my brother and he‟s been... he was in the Richardson schools at that time. At that time, he had I had forgotten what, he wound up being the Deputy Superintendent for Finance there, and now he still works for Richardson. But I called him and I said, 'He can't be dead.' And AJ told me, 'Course he is Sue, you just got to know that.' I mean this just doesn't happen. And Mr. Wilson had me come in, and he dictated a letter to the home office, to the president. And it was just all surreal, you know. And then soon after I went up there I had to go to the second floor to go to the bathroom because I was so shaky. And when I got off the elevator, they were standing there with these humungous guns that were long, and everything. And they were same way back at the restrooms. It was just, to me, unreal. You know, I just couldn't imagine..." (When asked when she realized they were looking for a gunman in the building) "I didn't know that at that time. I just knew they were looking for somebody, I didn't know who it was. And you know, on that fact, you know, so many people, there's just been so much misinformation, that little Billy Lovelady was standing on the front there, and so many people since then thought that was Oswald. But, you know, it wasn't, it was Billy and he was the most innocent he could be. But I do know that Oswald came down there on the second floor to get a Coke or something, and poor Mr...oh goodness, I felt sorry for him, he said 'He‟s alright, he works here.' (When asked if she meant Mr. Truly) "Yeah. Mr. Truly. I felt so sorry for him, because, you know, it turned out that was such a terrible thing, but nobody knew about it. He worked there. (On Oswald) I did not know him, he worked in the warehouse, you know. I think I might have seen him, but he didn't--you know a lot of them like Billy Lovelady (were known to the office workers) because he would occasionally--I'd have to order books up to our office for a particular thing maybe that I would need, I don't remember what for, and they would be in the warehouse and Billy would bring those up for us." (When asked if anyone ever tried to get her to change her impressions) "The day after the assassination, the... a police and an FBI man came to my house and I was just wiped out. It was a terrible time, but they came and they asked me and I, you know, and of course I just told something like that. I was there and the shot came down. But I said, 'I thought it was a firecracker.' And this FBI man said, 'Well, it's because you will hopefully never been in the front of one, it was coming from the back and that's why it sounded that way.' And... (When asked to confirm this was on Saturday the 23rd) "Yes (nodding) it was that Saturday." (When asked if she could specify how many shots, etc) "I'm not even going to try and remember to say that. I know I said at the time, but I don't, you know, it's been too long, I don't remember. I just know this much: I... a lot of people have said different ways there's no way he could have done that, but when they reenacted the thing, my friend Mary Lee Williams and I went up there and looked through... see when we went up there, right after we went back to work, she and I went up there and he had a stack of Scott Foresman I think is the publisher, think and... books (?) and that's what he had his gun posted on (motioning gun on boxes) and then his lunch bag was down by the side." (When asked if she's saying she went up to the crime scene) "Yeah (nodding)...Right after we came back to work (laughing). She and I did. We didn't ask anybody, we just went up there. And then we went up there again when they reenacted it and I'd never touched a gun before and I looked through (motions) the thing and I could have done it because it was just a.... and then people came along later and said, “But it couldn't because of the tree.” Well, let me tell you, 1963 the tree was (laughing)... (When asked if she supported the Warren Report's conclusion Oswald fired all three shots) "Yes. Yes. Yes. (nodding) I agree with the Warren Commission report. I agreed with it. And they were, they were just so careful about, you know, asking all this stuff, that I really did, I just believed in them. And I did talk (to) several of the commissioners before, while they were working on that. And several of the senators, I mean, and I just... yeah, I just believed that and nothing will ever change me from believing it..." (When asked where she was when the shots were fired) "Well, all I can tell you is that when he was shot, he was just as straight from me as you are (motions straightforward with hands). And he looked straight at me and I just ahhh (gasping noise and shocked face)... you know, it was electric to think that I... tan and all that beautiful hair and everything you know (laughing). But it all, just in a second... and he, but he was looking straight at me, there was nothing in... but I was on the curb. And..." (When asked if she was with other people) "I don‟t know that it was crowded, there were people all along there, many people behind me and everything (motions behind), because I turned around when, you know... a lot of people didn't go back in the building right then, I did, I wanted away from...you know, as soon as he got, you know... the shots came, he slumped down, his hair went up and she jumped up and all that (motions movements). And as they left (motioning away), I went back in the building." (When asked if she heard screaming) "I don't remember anything about anybody screaming. I don't think so, I don‟t remember anything about that. I just, I just went back in the building and like I say, I called A.J., I called my brother." (When asked about running downstairs to buy a Coke from the same machine Oswald bought a Coke from just minutes later) "I know! Besides that, I wasn't even supposed to use those... see it wasn't safe to use those stairs, we were supposed to use the elevator to go down there, but I didn't want to spend a lot of time to do that, so I dashed down there." (Explaining) "You know that it was a very old building, and they had redone all this, it appeared to be new, most people thought it was new, you know. But they had elevators and everything, and they just... the city, you know, regulations, said we couldn't use those stairs there, they had a big freight elevator there, course we didn't use that anyway, but I dashed down those stairs and I got his Coke and brought it up there." (When asked about the second floor lunch room) "Well it was, the whole floor down there was for people that worked there. And then back there was just a little room, you know, and if you needed to get a Coke or something... I didn't, I was there you know, from time to time, but I didn't... I still don‟t drink many Cokes, I drink a lot of water."
(Article by Beverly Shay in the 11-01-11 online edition of Southwest 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) “I am a female caucasian, born...on October 19, 1904...I...have been employed by Allyn and Bacon, Inc...for the last fifteen years. On November 22, 1963, I left the Depository building at approximately 12:20 PM to view the arrival of the Presidential motorcade. I was accompanied by Mrs. Sue Dickerson, Billie Clay, and Ruth Hendrix, all employees of Allyn and Bacon, Inc, and Mrs. John Hawkins and her four year-old son, John. Mrs. Hawkins is wife of John Hawkins, an agent for Allyn and Bacon, Inc...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 the Depository building. We were on the north side of Elm Street as it leads into the underpass. Following the shooting of President John F. Kennedy, we continued to stand in that area for another five to ten minutes and then returned to the Depository building and stood in the lobby of the building where we could hear a radio report of the condition of the President. After a few minutes in the lobby, I returned to the Allyn and bacon, Inc offices...I do not recall having ever seen Lee Harvey Oswald at any time on or prior to November 22, 1963.” Analysis: too vague.
Billie Clay (3-23-64 statement to the FBI, 22H641) “I am a caucasian female born November 7, 1906...I am presently employed by Allyn-Bacon, Inc...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 in company of Mrs. Mary Lea Williams, Miss Georgia Ruth Hendrix, and Mrs. Sue Dickerson, all employees of Allyn-Bacon, Inc, Dallas, Texas. Also in our group was Mrs. John Hawkins, wife of an agent of Allyn-Bacon, Inc, and her son John, age 4...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.
Georgia Ruth Hendrix (3-24-64 statement to the FBI, 22H649) repeats “I am a caucasian female born March 24, 1912...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 in company with Mrs. Mary Lea Williams, Mrs. Herman M. (Billie P.) Clay, and Mrs. Sue Dickerson, all employees of Allyn and Bacon, Inc, Dallas, Texas. Also in our group was Mrs. John Hawkins, wife of an agent for Allyn and Bacon, Inc., and her son, John, aged 4...I recall that just 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 and went to my office on the third floor. According to the clock on the office wall, the time was 12:34 P.M.” (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.
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 stated she was aware that the President had been shot and was concerned for her own safety and that of her small child who was with her. She estimated that the President's car 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. Mrs. Hawkins said that she automatically took several steps towards the President's car, then realized that there might be further shots and took her small child behind the retaining wall in front of the TSBD Building for shelter. She said she did not realize at any time that the shots had come from then TSBD and saw no one at the windows of the building. She stated she stayed behind the retaining wall until she realized there would be no more shots and then walked back to the front of the TSBD Building. She said that a motorcycle police officer was in front of the building at this time and that she heard over his radio some remarks about the railroad yards near the building. Mrs. Hawkins said that she then re-entered the TSBD Building by the front door and went upstairs to the third floor by elevator...She said that she believed that sufficient time had elapsed after the shots and her re-entry into the building for many persons to have left the building...Mrs. Hawkins advised that she was born September 6, 1934.” 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.
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 running in the Zapruder film. (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, published 6-3-79) "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.
Now, so much has been made of Rosemary Willis and her running in the Zapruder film, few realize that she started out running in a different film entirely, the Dorman film. Here, she races up to and passes a still-unidentified woman in blue at the top of the fountain. The headless figure on the east wall of the fountain at the beginning of the clip is Howard Brennan. (This is another fine gif by Gerda Dunckel.)
Now here is that exact same sequence filmed from the other side, and from a distance. This is but one of the many fascinating sequences of the Bell film.
Now, here, in the Martin film, Rosemary continues on her run. She passes the walkway on the west side of the fountain in sync with JFK's limousine. The man running on the walkway is presumed to be her father, Phil Willis. The boy on the wall is presumed to be Amos Euins. (This gif was created by Robin Unger.)
And now here, finally, is Miss Rosemary Willis in the Zapruder film, in some very fine gifs by Gerda Dunckel, as usual.... Note that, in opposition to what's been widely asserted, Miss Willis does not come to a sudden halt after Z-160. Note also that she jerks her head to the left circa Z-205.
Did she hear a sound in that direction? Or was she just checking on the President?
Rosemary and Time
Now, one can not discuss Ms. Willis's recollections without noting that to many she is an incredibly important witness. Yes, unfortunately, those pushing that the first shot rang out circa frame 160 use young Rosemary as proof the first shot was fired circa frame 160.
But they usually lie when doing so. In one of the many misleading statements in his hugely influential book, Case Closed, Gerald Posner writes “By frame 187, less than 1.5 seconds later (that is, after Posner’s proposed moment for the first shot) the (Zapruder film) enhancement clearly shows she (Rosemary Willis) had stopped, twisted completely away from the motorcade, and was staring at the School Book Depository." Well, as you can see by looking at her legs in the slide above, Miss Willis didn't come to a stop until frame 202. Posner was bluffing (aka lying).
The long-term effects of this bluff have been palpable. That Willis stopped immediately after a shot fired circa frame 160 of the Zapruder film has become so widely accepted among single-assassin theorists that no one even blinked when someone as supposedly evidence-based as Larry Sturdivan inaccurately asserted (in his book, The JFK Myths, no less) that "At frame 165, Rosemary rapidly begins to slow her running steps and comes to a complete stop before frame 190."
But don’t take my word for it. Richard Trask, a fair-minded single-assassin theorist, conducted a book-length study of the Zapruder film entitled National Nightmare on Six Feet of Film, in which he concluded that Miss Willis turned and faced the direction of her parents, with the school book depository in the background, "around Z200". At the bottom of this page, moreover, was an image of Z193, with a caption declaring that Miss Willis was still running in this frame.
Heck, even the HSCA, which concluded the first shot came at 160, and was searching for evidence for this shot, believed Miss Willis continued running past Posner's stopping point of 187. The HSCA report dealing with this issue, posted online by researcher Barb Junkkarinen, reads, in part, “there was not a reaction on the part of anyone except Governor Connally to a sharp noise or other attention-seizing distraction. However, a young girl, recently identified as the daughter of Willis (who made one of the important still photographs of the Presidential limousine) can be seen running or trotting across the grass beyond the far curb of the street where the limousine was traveling. She appears to be running in the same direction as the motion of the limousine, from about frame 165 to beyond frame 190. At frame 190 she begins a sudden stop, and by frame 195 she has turned, sharply to her right. However, her position at the time she stops is about 10 to 12 feet behind and to the left of the limousine. So, the position of her head after completing the turn, at frame 195, indicates that she is looking back up the street in a direction well behind the limousine itself. This action can be interpreted as a response to some sharp noise or other noticeable distraction.”
In short, then, Ms. Willis is a one-woman Rorschach Test. Those wishing to believe the first shot was fired circa Z-160 see her slowing down after Z-160 as some sort of proof. Those wishing to believe the shot came later, on the other hand, assume she was slowing down on her own, and heard a shot just as she stopped.
In the long run, then, (pun intended) it may just be that what she did after she stopped was more important than what she did before she stopped. As shown above, she turned her head to the left, and looked in the direction of the grassy knoll.
Now here's a broader view of the landscape explored above. This shows the relative locations of some of the south Elm witnesses circa Z-184, just before the first shot rang out.
Robert Croft is to Rosemary Willis’ right in the image above. He can be seen snapping a picture at frame 161 of the Zapruder film, and in the gif above. This photograph is frame 18 on his roll of 22 frames. (11-23-63 FBI Airtel Denver to Washington, as found in the files of Malcolm Blunt) "Robert Earl Croft...interviewed 11/23/63. He is Mormon missionary who was in Dallas, Texas, 11/22/63. While awaiting a train for Denver, Croft advised he took four photographs of Presidential motorcade, the last of which he states believed taken simultaneously with the shot which killed the President...Laboratory is requested to develop this film immediately..." (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.
Here, then, is an un-cropped color version of Croft's famous photo, taken around Z-161. It bears repeating that the only identified witness in this photo is Maurice Orr, at the far right.
Phil Willis was Rosemary Willis’ father and he can be seen to Robert Croft’s right, steeping back on the curb around Z-160 and snapping his famous picture at Z-202 (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.
Now here is a frame from the Dorman film showing some of the all-too many unidentified witnesses along Elm Street. The only ones identified in this image are the two men at left, by the sprocket hole (Pierce Allman at right, and Terrence Ford at left), and the girl in the middle with the gold dress looking down the street, (presumably at the limo). That girl is Rosemary Willis' sister, and the youngest person to testify before the Warren Commission, Miss Linda Willis.
Linda Willis was Rosemary Willis’ older sister. She can be seen in the Dorman film and Zapruder film. (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.
Marilyn Willis was the mother of the Willis girls and the wife of Phil Willis. She watched the shooting from the wall back behind the witnesses in the image above. (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).
Jerry Broseh is a little-known witness. So little-known, in fact, that one can only guess from where he witnessed the shooting. Perhaps he's in the image above. Perhaps not. (11-23-63 article in the Dallas Morning News) "'I heard a shot and saw the president sort of slump down in the seat,' said Jerry Broseh, 19, of Grand Prairie." Analysis: too vague.
The photo below was taken by Jim Towner some 30 seconds or so after the first shot. The two men in the foreground, Pierce Allman on the left and Terrence Ford on the right, are just about to head over to the knoll to talk to the Newman family, who are surrounded by a swarm of photographers on the grass out behind camera car #1. The man in the white shirt in front of them is presumed to be Robert Edwards, who viewed the motorcade on Houston Street. The uniformed police officer on the left with his gun drawn is presumed to be Officer W.W. King. The man in the distance behind him is presumed to be service station attendant Hank Farmer.
Pierce Allman was standing with Terrence Ford. They can be identified in both the Dorman film (Ford on the left, Allman on the right), standing about 30 feet west of the southwest corner of Houston and Elm and Zapruder film, and then again in the Towner photo directly above. (11-22-63 report by Allman on WFAA radio, presumably around 12:40 PM) "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. There are two witnesses who were near the President's car at the time of the explosions who say that shots were fired from which upper window we do not know. We do not and can not confirm the reports at this time that the President has been shot. One witness says that he definitely was shot, that he was hit twice, that he saw the President slump in his seat. As I say, this is not confirmed at this time. From where I am the police have two witnesses. They are bringing them in now. I am in the Texas School Book Depository Building. They are bringing some witnesses in now. We will try to learn further and relay word to this station." (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 there by 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."
(BBC program The Day The President Died, transcript found in the Weisberg Archives. Purported to be from 11-22-63, but apparently recorded afterwards, as Allman describes things only visible in the Zapruder film. Broadcast on WBAI on 11-23-64) "They turned the corner and as they came by me I broke into applause. And just after they went by me there was a big loud BOOM. It was a reverberating explosion. It was not a sharp, flat crack one normally associates with a rifle and this is why it didn't even enter my mind at the time that it could be a shot. It was just a BOOM, a big, dull sounding explosion, rather like a shotgun fired in a concrete chamber that reverberates. No one sprang into action, there were mixed reactions, everyone was sort of looking around like I was, and then another very deliberate BOOM! And I looked and the President had slumped--I thought at the time he was ducking--but now I know of course that he was slumping. He had slumped forward, his left arm was thrown up. Mrs. Kennedy's left hand was on his left arm. The Governor and Mrs. Connally were in the jump seats, the little seats behind the front seat, and the Governor was half-turned, and it was the second shot that got him. The President--then there was another one of those dull, one of those booms. These were deliberately paced things. There was no haste, no panic, no automatic rapidity to them at all, just a Boom, Boom--BOOM! A very dramatic thing. I can't forget it at all. I keep hearing the shots. And on the third one the President then--instead of slumping forward it looked like he was--he jerked back or was thrown back a little bit. And Mrs. Kennedy then was halfway out of the seat and a Secret Service man--I presume he was--a Secret Service man was then over Mrs. Kennedy. And the car had stopped only momentarily and then immediately sped away at top speed. And there was a couple on the other side of the street who were on the ground, and immediately after this happened a policeman came toward me, drawing his gun. It was after the third shot that everything erupted, and guns appeared from all directions but they were afraid to fire, because of the crowd, and they didn't know where to fire, quite frankly. And a policeman threw me to the ground, and said "Hit the dirt," and I got up, immediately ran across the street because I thought this young couple had been hit, and I said "Are you all right?" And he was beating the ground with his fist, saying, "My God, they shot him! They shot him!" (5-11-78 interview with HSCA investigator Jim Conzelman, as presented in HSCA Record RG 233 and posted online by Bart Kamp) "After the limousine had passed, the witness heard three distinct reports. The President was positioned forward and to the side. The witness does not recall after which shot Mrs. Kennedy leaned toward the President. After the third report he recalls Mrs. Kennedy crawling onto the back of the limousine...The witness recalls the limousine traveling at a slow rate of speed. He does not recall the car slowing down after any particular report. The automobile maintained a constant slow speed...Approximately two minutes had elapsed from the time of the assassination to the time the witness entered the T.S. B.D. As he was running up the steps to the depository, he heard one of the black persons standing outside say 'the President had been shot. They got the side of his head.'" (12-14-91 AP article found in the Frederick Maryland News) "'Just as they turned (onto Elm) I heard the first explosion,' says Mr. Allman, who is now a public relations consultant. 'That is still the descriptive term. It was not a thin, brittle, sharp sound. It was a loud reverberating sound...While I was still wondering what was going on, a second and then a third.'" (November 1998 interview in Texas Monthly) “So, we walked over, ended up standing on the corner, directly opposite the School Book Depository Building, and I’m standing right next to Mr. Brennan…who ended up giving a lot of testimony to the Warren Commission…the first shot, that loud explosion—it wasn’t a sharp, flat crack sound at all, the first shot. It didn’t enter my mind at all that it was a shot. I thought, “now that was poor taste, this is firecrackers…”Then bam!, the second one. And you realized indeed that it was shooting, then the third shot…on the second shot, I glanced up, my gaze stopped one floor below on the depository building. I saw the three guys looking out the window, looking up. And I went back to the scene on the street and it was pretty obvious Kennedy had been hit… On about the second shot, we all got down and of course popped back up as the car sped off. As the car sped off, that's when the Secret Service man from the back had vaulted over and pushed Jackie back in the seat, she was trying to come up, and that's when the body assumed that grotesque position we saw on the way to Parkland. Then I ran across the street, spoke to the Newmans and said, 'Stop!' And why we were running that direction, I couldn't tell you. It was just sort of a flow. I stopped and said, 'Are you ok?' He said, 'Yeah, but they got the president. They blew the side of his head in.'”
(11-25-98 article in the Dallas Morning News) (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."
(11-3-13 article in The Guardian, for which 4 witnesses were interviewed) "The motorcade came by and then 'boom’, the sound that I’ll never forget, then two more shots. I could not tell how badly Kennedy was hit, but I knew I had to get to a phone to call the station, and the depository was the nearest building. I ran across the street and there was a couple there and the man said: 'They got away. The president, they blew away the side of his head.’” (11-17-13 article in the Los Angeles Times) "Allman, from his vantage point, watched Kennedy's arms twitch and spring up toward his chin. He heard the first lady scream, "Oh, my God!" and saw her crawl onto the back of the limo. Allman looked up at the book depository. He thought he could see a rifle barrel protruding from a window. He headed for the grassy knoll and then changed his mind, thinking, 'I've got to get to a phone.' He ran up the book depository steps, passing a man at the entrance. The stranger was thin, with dark hair and circles under his eyes. Allman asked where he could find a phone. The man jerked his thumb back toward the building as he left and said, 'In there.' Later, Allman learned the stranger's name: Lee Harvey Oswald." (L.A.Times.com video linked to 11-17-13 L.A. Times article) "That first sound was so enormous and then what followed was so fast, and yet I can remember, to this day, all of it." (Later) "They turned the corner and Boom. Everything then was happening in split seconds. Because my first reaction was that's not a shot--not in my hometown. And I turned and said that's a fire cracker. Boom, the next sound. It registered that those were shots. And the next shot it was almost a twitch. Jackie screamed. Without any interval almost, boom, a third shot. Kennedy then had a violent reaction to that sound and Jackie started up out of the back seat." (11-18-13 article on the shooting in the Richmond Times-Dispatch) “'The car turned, and boom — that first sound, that you never forget,' Allman said. 'It wasn’t the crack sound of a rifle. It was a loud boom sound.'” (Appearance in the Discovery Channel Program JFK: The Lost Tapes, first broadcast 11-21-13) (Describing the first shot) "And then as they turned the corner...Boom. It was obvious that the President had been hit." (Later) "And then there was a third shot, when he began toppling forward and Jackie screamed." (11-22-13 article in The New York Post) "He had a newsman’s knack for knowing where to be. Pierce Allman was working as the program manager at the WFAA TV station in Dallas when President Kennedy came to town. While he wasn’t assigned to cover the event, Allman recalled that “I thought at the last minute, I think I’ll stroll over and see this.” “There was a great air of anticipation, a lot of excitement,” said Allman, 79, “I was a Republican, but I really liked the guy. I really admired him. I thought he was a harbinger of things to come, a new breed of politician.” Allman and a colleague walked the four blocks from the station to Dealey Plaza, stopping “across from the front door to the Book Depository.” As the motorcade approached, Allman was struck that the handsome president and his gorgeous young wife “just looked like a first couple ought to look.” “I was so captivated I hollered out something like, ‘Hey, welcome to Dallas, Mr. President!’” he said. “And then they turned a corner and there was that first shot. I’ll never forget that sound.” Allman watched in horror as Kennedy was hit, first leaning to the left, then snapping forward and leaning to the left again as Jackie started screaming. “I thought, I’ve got to get to a phone. We didn’t have any portable equipment,” he said. “I ran down the street a little bit, and right across the street a couple with two little kids were flat on the ground.” “I said, ‘Are you OK?’ The guy rolled over and said, ‘Yeah, but they got the President. They blew the side of his head in.’” Allman said he then went into the Book Depository and called his station, spending the next 45 minutes detailing the historic event he had just witnessed."
(November 2013 interview in Dealey Plaza posted on youtube, 12-6-13) (He is standing by the west end of the fountain on the south side of Elm Street across from the depository, facing north) "As they turned, I think I took a couple of steps over and said something like 'Hey, welcome to Dallas, Mr. President.' And they turned the corner and then BOOM. Y'know, just, they were..." (He starts to point down the street to his left. His interviewer then interjects "They were at the point marked with X's, right?" As he points further to his left, Allman responds) "Well, yeah, that's the second shot and the third shot." (As he points slightly to the right of where he had just been pointing, but still well to his left) "The first shot they were right about with the lamp post. And, y'know, you hear it, and it was coming from straight in front and above. And, y'know, your reaction is 'That's not a shot. That doesn't happen in your home town. Well, I guess it's a firecracker.' And then BOOM. And then it was obvious what was happening. I had glanced up on the first shot. The guys were hanging out of the fifth floor up there, looking, y'know, up. And to this day I couldn't tell you if I saw the rifle barrel or not. But on the second shot it was obvious that, it was pretty obvious that Kennedy had been hit. But he didn't slump forward. His hands sorta went up, y'know, like this to his chin, and he went a little bit that way. And Jackie was coming out of her seat and screaming. And then just in a matter of a split second, a third shot. And Kennedy then went back and forth." (10-2-14 Living History interview with The Sixth Floor Museum) "They came by, and I turned and I was so carried away I hollered out something like "Welcome to Dallas, Mr. President!" And then they turned the corner and Boom." (Later) "When the first shot happened--it really didn't--no one around me recognized it as a shot. Connally said later that he did because he was a hunter. But it wasn't a sharp sound that a rifle makes; it was loud. I turned to Terry and said something about y'know 'That's firecrackers?' and... But during the first shot I looked up and across. That's where the sound was coming from. Well, okay there's the fifth floor and the sixth floor window... Till this day I couldn't tell you whether I saw a rifle or not. But there were three guys hanging out of that fifth floor window, and they were looking up and pointing. And this is all at a glance...The total time from when the limo turned until it went left under the triple underpass was 18 or 19 seconds, and the shots were 6 and a half to 7 seconds. So I glanced up and then glanced down. And the second shot. And Kennedy didn't have a violent reaction. His right arm was on the frame of the car and he just sort of turned and both arms and hands went up in this sort of reaction. And Jackie sort of leaned forward and the car kept progressing. The car never slowed down...And then the third shot hit and it was pretty evident that he was hit...I didn't see the moment of the disintegration of the skull. But the split second after, when he went forward, went to the side...On the second shot, Kennedy was wearing a back brace...and he didn't topple over...On the third shot, he did topple over. Jackie was screaming." (On talking to Bill Newman just after the shooting) "'Y'know,' he said. 'they got the President. They blew the side of his head in.'" (On his first radio report over the phone) "From my vantage point, on the second shot, I couldn't tell if he was hit, or if it was a solid hit...Third shot, yeah. Evidently, it hit, but what? I felt totally ill at ease going on the air saying the President has been shot twice..." (On his encounter with Oswald by the telephone just before Oswald left the building) "He was totally calm." (Max Holland's discussion of the youtube video posted on 12-6-13 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 dishonest use of Allman as a witness for a shot fired before Zapruder started filming is discussed in Chapter 19c.)
(2-17-16 Living History interview with The Sixth Floor Museum) "They turned the corner and then Boom. First shot. It doesn't go through your mind that it's a shot. At first. I glanced up at the fifth floor and there's three guys hanging out the window looking up at the sixth floor. And I glanced up at the sixth floor briefly. Remember now we are in a timed sequence from the time the car turns until it leaves the triple underpass. It's about 21 seconds. So we are now looking at about an 8-11 second time sequence. I had actually turned to the guy sitting next to me saying 'Yeah, that's firecrackers' and then (claps hands) the second shot. At the second shot Kennedy's right arm was on the right side of the limo and on the shot he sort of twitched and both hands went up like this and then back down and Jackie leaned over and sort of propped him up...I couldn't tell if that was a hit...I 'm glancing at the folks behind him and when I glanced at the car again I did not see his head explode. It was just a split second after when he slumped forward and Jackie got up out of her seat." (What Bill Newman said after Allman asked him if he was okay) "Yeah, but they got the President. They blew the side of his head in." (11-21-18 appearance on Travel Channel program Mysteries at the Museum) (He is standing in the location from which he viewed the motorcade.) "The moment they turned the corner--that's when the first sound hit. And that's a sound you never forget. It was loud. It was a big sound. I thought "My God, did somebody bring firecrackers.?" The car had been right here (he points directly across the street) for the first shot. And then it had gone just a few feet further. And then the second shot...I couldn't tell on the second shot if he was hit. He went sort of like that (he grabs his neck) but he didn't topple and he didn't slump. I was glancing just a real quick eye survey of the crowd. And when I swung back...(The program's narrator, Don Wildman, then describes the head shot.) (Later, when asked where the shots came from.) "In front of me and up." (He then points to the sniper's nest.) (When describing what Bill Newman told him just after the shooting.) "They blew the side of his head in."
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. It seems clear then that Allman changed his views regarding the first shot after reading Posner, or Bugliosi, or both.
Still, Allman is 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 earliest 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 just before the Thornton Freeway sign. This lamp post was adjacent to Kennedy's location at Zapruder frame 190, 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. That this confused the aged Allman is confirmed, moreover, by Allman's subsequent appearance on the Travel Channel, where he claimed for the first and only time the first shot was fired when the limo was directly in front of him. Probable first shot hit 190-224. Last two shots possibly bunched together (with the last shot after the head shot.)
Terrence 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." (2-18-64report 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.
Hugh Betzner was on Elm Street, 30 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 Street. I 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.” (snippet from a 1969-1971 interview with Gil Toff, as presented on a 2013 YouTube video in which Toff asks for money in exchange for his releasing his interview tapes) (On the head shot) "It was like, uhh, putting a firecracker in a Chrysanthemum, and blowing the Chrysanthemum apart or something." 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.
Here is a crop from Betzner's photo, around Z-186. He said he took this a split second before the first shot was fired. (Note: the man in front of Betzner is believed to be Terrence Ford.)
And here is a crop from Phil Willis' photo, around Z-202, which he said was taken just after the first shot was fired.
Well, this confirms it, right? We have a line of witnesses heading from west to east where the first part of the line all says the first shot was fired before the presidential limousine reached them, the second part of the line all says the first shot was fired when the limousine was almost directly in front of them, and the third part of the line is unanimous in that the first shot was fired after the limousine had already passed them. This gives us a rough line on the street telling us when the first shot was fired. And now we have two photographers, one of whom said the first shot was fired just before he took his picture, and the other who said it was fired just after he took his picture. And the two pictures depict Kennedy within less than 20 feet on the street, and within 16 frames of the Zapruder film.
And, to top it off, the divide between their photos just so happens to align perfectly with the divide between the witness statements.
It should be readily obvious, then, that the first shot was fired somewhere between Z-186 and Z-202, and not at Z-160, as proposed by the HSCA and most single-assassin theorists, and suggested possible by the Warren Commission.
Let us continue, then, on the road back to Houston.
Although Amos Euins, a small 15 year-old on the day of the assassination, would come to claim he viewed the motorcade from the eastern wall of the fountain (that is, the wall closest to Houston Street), no photographs or footage show him in this location. As a consequence, one can only presume this is Euins, sitting atop the western wall of the fountain, in the Bell film.
Now here he is a second later, in the Martin film...
And here is Euins a few minutes after the shooting, after he ran over to the grassy knoll to speak to the nearest police officer, and tell him he saw someone shooting from the sixth floor of the depository building. This traffic officer, D.V. Harkness, who'd been riding a three-wheeler, then turned around and drove Euins back to the school book depository. Here they are after their turn onto Houston. (This comes from the Dallas Cinema Associates movie.)
Euins was then questioned on the Houston side of the building, while members of the media listened in. The sign near the front entrance in the Bell film above (facing Elm Street) has a twin around the corner facing Houston Street. That's what we see below, in an image taken from the Cooper film. In any event, the light/dark combo of the clothing and the fact Euins can't be seen where he claims to have been proves that yessiree it's Euins in the Martin and Bell films, in the clips shown above.
To complete our photo essay, however, we need to look at two more photos. The photo below, taken by Jim Murray, shows that Euins was then put in a police car, for safe-keeping, until the Dallas Police could figure out what to do with him. No other witness was treated in such a manner. Many of them were told simply that they should walk over to the Sheriff's Dept. offices at Houston and Main and make a statement. It is presumed, moreover, that some just chose to go home. Not Euins.
And here is our final photo. This comes from a rarely-scene segment of the Alyea film, filmed from the fifth or sixth floor of the depository while the building was being searched. Evidently, Alyea spotted a round-up of witnesses below, and thought this was of interest. The man in the dark suit is presumed to be Dallas County Deputy Sheriff Eddie Walthers. Amos Euins stands in front of him, understandably looking back over his shoulder. The other identifiable witnesses are Howard Brennan at Decker's left, and Charles Brehm (with his son Joe) at Decker's right.
Amos Euins. Beyond the confusion as to Euins' location during the shooting, 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. As far as I know, I had never seen this man before.” (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 of some 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.) (March 1964 account of Dallas Morning News reporter Kent Biffle, reporting on the witnesses he saw and heard in Dealey Plaza just after the shooting on 11-22-63, published in an 11-19-78 Dallas Times Herald article, and 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, broadcast 6-25-67) (When asked what he saw) "When he come around, and when I was standin' here, I happened to look up and I seen a pipe, you know. So I never did paid no attention thinking it might be a pipe, you know, just a pipe stickin' out. So it was stickin' out about a foot, about that high, you know." (When asked where he saw this pipe) "It was about on the sixth floor, right below the banister." (1967 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." (10-21-77 interview with HSCA investigators Al Maxwell and Clarence Day) "I walked down to the far end of Elm Street, and I got there by the little pool--there's a little pool right there in the front. So I got there and I sat down. And after I sat down a few minutes, then people began to get up and scream and holler and whatnot...So I came out by the curb, you know, because I really wanted to see...I was trying to see and I was kind of bouncing up and I could see the reflection from the building over there--just kept shining...it just kind of caught my eye a little bit and I looked up there. And you could kind of see--in a way you could kind of see somebody staring...at the time I didn't pay it a whole lot of mind...But you could see something sticking out--but it was glossy, but it was moving. So I stepped back up on the curb...Then the shots rang out. Then everybody started--I didn't know what was going on...I looked at the building and it was gone. There wasn't nothing there. It wasn't sticking out no more..." (When asked if he saw any black clothes) "No, sir. In a way--the way the shadow was hitting--like I told the man, you couldn't tell whether it was a Negro or whether it was a white man. It was just more or less just like a shadow. You know, you could tell somebody was there." (When asked again about the shine on the gun) "It was more like a gloss, but you could tell somebody was handling it. You could see--you could kind of see a shadow, but you couldn't say whether it was a black person or a white person... (When asked if he saw the barrel of the gun) "Yes, it looked like a pipe really. That's what I told them..." (When asked if this was before or after shots were fired) "It was right before." (Later) I was trying to get up on the seat. And that's when the shots started. It had just went down the hill when I was trying to get up on the stand...I kneeled behind it...You could still see the deal sticking out the window." (On the rifle) I glanced down the street. I kinda turned to look and it was gone. It had absolutely just disappeared." (When asked how many shots he heard) "At least three." (When asked if it could have been more) "It could have been but I know I heard at least three. I heard three precisely." (When asked from where he thought the shots were fired) "Well, it's hard to say--it's really hard to say. But, I mean to my opinion--now, you know, even after so many years, I still wouldn't say--even if the guy who was up there--I don't believe they all came from there. It was just too fast. I mean it was just like somebody had a--you've heard an automatic (At this point he makes the sound powpowpowpow) It was just like that. It wasn't no pow...pow. It was right quick. It was fast..." (When asked if he thought any shots were fired from the building) "It's a possibility. It's a possibility...that a shot could have came from there. But it still was others." (When asked if he thought there was more than one gun firing) "Right. It had to be. It had to be...It was just pow-pow-pow [no spacing between]." (When asked again which window) "It was more or less the second floor from the top..."
(10-26-77 interview of D.V. Harkness 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, which Kennedy passed circa Z-200, 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.
Now here is a frame from the Dorman film showing Rosemary Willis mid-race, and a headless Howard Brennan on the wall. The rest of these witnesses are unidentified, but the three witnesses at right, from right to left starting with the man behind the streetlight, may very well be Lloyd Viles, Roberta Parker, and Dolores Kounas.
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
Now, here's a closer look at Jim, Pat, and Tina Towner in the Dorman film. Out in the street and right on the corner. The headless man in light clothing behind them is Hugh Betzner, who is taking a picture of them taking pictures. Everyone else in this image is unidentified.
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.
Roberta Parker may be the woman next to Viles in the image above. (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, 22H667) “I am a white female, born 6/23/08...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.
Mrs. Dolores Kounas may be the woman in blue next to the woman I've surmised is Parker. (11-25-63 FBI report based upon an 11-24-63 interview, 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 am a caucasian female, born October 16, 1931...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).
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.
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.
Tina Towner was with her parents 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 at 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." (11-22-13 article in The New York Post) "It wasn’t the story she wanted to share with her classmates.
Mary “Tina” Towner was 13 years old when her parents let her skip school to watch President Kennedy’s motorcade with them. The family got to Dealey Plaza about an hour early, and secured a shady spot under some trees where Tina planned to film the event with a Towner Varizoom 8-mm. movie camera while her dad took still photos. “I was excited. It was fun to be there. I was out of school and my dad was letting me take pictures,” she said. But after recording about 15 seconds of footage as Kennedy’s limo passed, the first gunshot sounded. “I looked up quickly; I was glancing to see who was throwing firecrackers out of a window,” she said. “A split second was all I had time for, because some man who was standing next to me pulled me down to the ground and held onto my arm until he felt it was safe to get up.” As sirens wailed and the crowd scattered, Tina and her mom stood by as her father ran off to snap some more pictures. When he returned, Towner — now Tina Pender — and her parents walked back to the family car in stunned silence, then listened to the news on the radio as they rode home. “The hardest part emotionally was going back to school and people started asking me questions about where I’d been, because some of them knew I’d gone to see the President in his motorcade,” said Pender, now 63. “And when I told them, and the teacher was listening, they were dumbfounded. They didn’t know what to say. The teacher was very upset.”
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.
South By Southwest
Note: the image above comes courtesy WFAA-TV. It shows two prime witnesses on the left (from L to R, Amos Euins and Charles Brehm), and another prime witness, Howard Brennan, with the hard hat, in the middle. The man between Brehm and Brennan is presumed to be Dallas County Sheriff Bill Decker.
Howard Brennan was, as shown above, sitting on the Houston side of the wall encircling the fountain at Houston and Elm. He can be seen in the Zapruder and Bell films 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." (Note that on the evening of the 22nd, around 7:00, Brennan was asked by Secret Service agent Forrest Sorrels to look at Oswald in a line-up. Although he said that, of the men in the line-up, Oswald looked most like the man he'd seen fire a rifle earlier that day, he nevertheless refused to identify him.) (11-23-63 FBI report based upon an 11-22-63 interview with agents Gaston C. Thompson and Robert C. Lish, 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...Brennan described the man with the rifle as a white male, who appeared to be in his early 30's, about 5'10" tall, and around 165 pounds in weight. He said this individual was not wearing a hat and was dressed in 'light color clothes in the khaki line.' He added this individual may have been wearing a light-weight jacket or sweater; however, he could not be positive about the jacket or sweater. He advised he attended a lineup at the Dallas Police Department on November 22, 1963, on which occasion he picked Lee Harvey Oswald as the person most closely resembling the man he had observed with a rifle in the window of the Texas School Book Depository. He stated, however, he could not positively identify Oswald as the person he saw fire the rifle.” (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) "A few of the people in the narrow grass triangle along the drive at this point looked back at the building after the first two shots. 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.'" (12-9-63 article in Newsweek) (On the shooter) "I can't identify him, but if I see a man who looks like him, I'll point him out." (12-14-63 memo of FBI agent Emory Horton, written in response to his reading the eyewitness statements collected by the Dallas County Sheriff's Office, which had then been supplied the Secret Service. Note: this memo was not provided the Warren Commission and can be found in the Weisberg Archives) "On interview Howard Leslie Brennan, 6814 Woodard, advised the SO representative that he saw the assassin before the motorcade arrived but did not relate this during subsequent interview by SA's of the Dallas Office. A lead should be assigned to have Brennan reinterviewed to clarify the above point. The agent to whom this lead is assigned will review pages 12, 13, and 14 of report of Robert P. Gemberling at Dallas dated 11/30/63 prior to conducting interview with Brennan." (12-18-63 FBI report on a 12-17-63 interview with Brennan conducted by Houston-based FBI agent Kenneth B. Jackson, CD205 p15) "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."
(1-6-64 FBI memo found in the Warren Commission's files) "Under date of January 6, 1964, the New York office advised that George Murray, National Broadcasting Company, New York, had stated that the Brennan previously referred to by him was identical to Howard Leslie Brennan. It should be noted that Mr. Murray had previously indicated that an individual, (FNU) Brennan, an employee of the Union Terminal Company in Dallas, had reportedly stated he heard shots from opposite the Texas School Book Depository and saw smoke and paper wadding come out of boxes on a slope below the railroad tressel at the time of the assassination. Investigation to identify a Brennan other than Howard Leslie Brennan met with negative results, and Howard Leslie Brennan has been previously interviewed." (NOTE: Murray was probably thinking of S.M. Holland, an employee of the Union Terminal Company who claimed he saw smoke come out from the trees atop the grassy knoll.) (1-10-64 FBI report, CD329, p7-8) "Mr. Brennan advised that on November 22, 1963, after finishing lunch at about 12:18 P.M., he sat on a retainer wall directly across from the Texas School Book Depository Building (TSBD), on Elm Street. While he was sitting there, he looked up at the TSBD building and noticed that there was a man standing in the sixth floor window, however, at this time, this man did not have a rifle. He said he then turned around and noticed that the man had left the window. Then he turned his head back toward the south where the presidential motorcade would come. 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." (As quoted in Red Roses from Texas, by Nerin Gunn, published February 1964) "H. L. Brennan, a turner, tells of having seen "a thin young man, healthy-looking, with a rifle, press the trigger twice...He wasn't in any hurry, that guy." (3-24-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 3H140-161) “I was more or less observing the crowd and the people in different building windows, including the fire escape across from the Texas Book Store on the east side of the Texas Book Store, and also the Texas Book Store Building windows. I observed quite a few people in different windows. In particular, I saw this one man on the sixth floor which left the window to my knowledge a couple of times." (When asked if he saw anyone else on that floor) "Not on that floor. There was no other person on that floor that ever came to the window that I noticed. There were people on the next floor down, which is the fifth floor, colored guys. In particular, I only remember two that I identified." (On the shooting) "Well, as the parade came by, I watched it from a distance of Elm and Main Street, as it came on to Houston and turned the corner at Houston and Elm, going down the incline towards the railroad underpass. And 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.” (When asked about his initial refusal to ID Oswald as the shooter--and what led him to change his mind.) "I believe some days later--I don't recall exactly--and I believe the Secret Service man identified hisself as being Williams, I believe, from Houston. I won't swear to that-whether his name was Williams or not...And he could have been an FBI. As far as I remember, it could have been FBI instead of Secret Service. But I believe it was a Secret Service man from Houston. And I--" (When asked what "Williams"--almost certainly Houston-based FBI agent Kenneth B. Jackson, the writer of the 12-18-63 report in which Brennan first ID'ed Oswald--told him) "Well, he asked me, he said, "You said you couldn't make a positive identification." He said, "Did you do that for security reasons personally, or couldn't you?" And I told him I could with all honesty, but I did it more or less for security reasons--my family and myself. (When asked to explain) "I believe at that time, and I still believe it was a Communist activity, and I felt like there hadn't been more than one eyewitness, and if it got to be a known fact that I was an eyewitness, my family or I, either one, might not be safe." (When asked what led him to change his mind) "After Oswald was killed, I was relieved quite a bit that as far as pressure on myself of somebody not wanting me to identify anybody, there was no longer that immediate danger." (3-24-64 afternoon testimony before the Warren Commission, 3H211) (When asked if he'd ever worked for the Union Terminal Company) "I have not" (When asked if he'd ever told anyone he'd heard shots from opposite the School Book Depository, or had seen smoke or wadding down by the railroad trestle during the shooting) "I did not."
Now here is Howard Brennan in the Bell film--sitting on a wall and watching Kennedy's limo pass before him. The girl in blue at right is Toni Glover.
(Interview with CBS, aired 9-27-64 and 6-25-67) “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.” (4-20-78 Outside Contact Report with the HSCA) "I called Mr. Brennan and told him he would be subpoenaed to appear before our committee on May 2. Prior to informing him of this fact, I asked him one more time to reconsider his decision not to allow us to question him at his home, in Texas. He stated that his position had not changed and that he would only speak to us if we brought him to Washington. I told him that he would be subpoenaed to testify before our committee on May 2. He asked what the expense arrangements would be and I told him that we would pay one day's expenses. I told him he could fly up the evening before and then fly back to Texas after testifying. At that point, after making it clear that he was ready, willing, and able to come if the arrangements suited him, he told me he would not come up if he had to fly in one day and fly home the next. In addition he told me that he was not a 'well man' and that he would only come if his wife could accompany him. I explained to him the rules by which our financial disbursements are governed and told him that we could not pay him more than one day's expenses. He told me that he would not come to Washington and that he would fight any subpoena. He stated he would avoid any subpoena by getting his doctor to state that it would be bad for his health to testify about the assassination. He further told me that even if he was forced to come to Washington he would simply not testify if did not want to." (Brennan's 1964 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 direction of 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...Mass confusion and hysteria set in and I must admit, I was feeling it too. People were screaming. Men and women dressed in their fine suits and dresses, fell to the ground, getting them dirty, but hopefully getting out of the line of fire. At that moment, no one but me seemed to know where the shots had come from. By now uniformed policemen and plain clothes police, who I assumed were Secret Service or F.B.I. Agents came running from every direction. I jumped from the wall to try to get out of the line of fire. I never saw so many guns in my life. Most of the police were running towards the triple underpass which perhaps was a hundred feet or so ahead of the motorcade. Some were running towards an area to the right, slightly raised, which has come to be called the “Grassy Knoll.” Much speculation has been raised about whether there was another gunman there who was trying to catch the President in a cross-fire. Having witnessed the whole scene, I can say with certainty there was only one gunman present that day and all shots were fired from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. It is easy to understand why many thought the shots were coming from the area of the underpass as the buildings and open area combine to produce an “echo” effect. Even as I hit the ground, my first instinct was to look back up to that man on the sixth floor. “Was he going to fire again?” I wondered. By now the motorcade was beginning to speed up and in only a couple of seconds the President’s car had disappeared under the triple underpass. To my amazement the man still stood there in the window! He didn’t appear to be rushed. There was no particular emotion visible on his face except for a slight smirk. It was a look of satisfaction, as if he had accomplished what he had set out to do. He seemed pleased that no one had realized where the shots were coming from. Then he did something that puzzled me. Very slowly and deliberately he set the rifle on its butt and just stayed there for a moment to savor what he had done, like a hunter who has “bagged his buck.” Then, with no sense of haste, he simply moved slowly away from the window until he disappeared from my line of vision."
Analysis: Brennan is famous, of course, for claiming he saw someone who he at first said could have been Oswald, and then later claimed actually was Oswald, firing the last shot from the sniper’s nest. Many supporters of the Warren Commission, including 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 but 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, moreover, by his talking to a UPI reporter, and describing the shooter, within 24 hours of the assassination, when Oswald was still very much alive. Brennan’s memoirs are also problematic. There, he claims the President and Connally were just a few feet away from him when the shots were fired, not 150 feet. There, he claims he heard three shots, not two, and saw two shots fired, not one. He also claims he saw these shots hit Connally and Kennedy. Well, this contradicts what he'd previously told the FBI--that he'd watched Kennedy disappear from view before the first shot was fired. It’s extremely doubtful, furthermore, that Brennan could have seen the Connallys react to the shots as described, as the Connallys were on the far side of the motorcycle escorts and the Kennedys from Brennan, on a downward slope. Based purely on his earliest statements, then, Brennan 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 Brennan heard the shot 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 testified to “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. Of course, Brennan later claimed he'd jumped down from the wall after the shooting was all over, so who really knows??? The man is not a reliable witness. Only heard two clear shots. Possible LPM scenario. Possible first shot hit 190.
Now here's Toni Glover and her famous blue raincoat in the Dorman film. Kennedy's limo is on Houston Street before her, heading for the turn onto Elm. From this angle you can see that another person is standing with Glover on the wall. Although Glover doesn't remember her mom climbing up onto the wall, we can presume this was her mother. A few other witnesses have been identified in this frame. The two men closest to the sprocket hole in the bottom left corner are presumed to be Robert Edwards and Ronald Fischer, and the man standing half in the street after taking a picture is presumed to be Hugh Betzner.
Toni Glover was an 11-year old girl in 1963. She claims to have watched the assassination from the pedestal along the east side of the fountain on 11-22-63. 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 Dunckel 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 Dunckel, 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 Dunckel'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."
Now note that Glover has her arms raised in the Dorman film above. Well, the subsequent seconds are captured in the Hughes film below (in another fine gif by Gerda Dunckel, of course). Glover lowers her arms just as JFK's limo turns down Elm Street in front of the school book depository.
Now note the massive crowd on the west side of Houston Street just south of Elm in the images above. While the witnesses in this crowd may not have seen much, they may very well have been able to isolate a shot from up high to their left from a sound in the distance back behind them. Unfortunately, a mere handful of these witnesses came forward.
(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." (11-17-12 appearance at the JFK Lancer Conference in Dallas) (Describing her emotions after the limo passed her position) "He came around the corner...and now we're getting into the bang part...There's a bang. Okay, there's a bang, whatever...At the time a second sound went out, if you lived in Texas you kinda started to go 'That kinda sounded like a gunshot. Y'know, this doesn't sound good.' And I turn around and I'm following the car as far as I can follow it...He went around the corner and his head exploded... When his head exploded, from my viewpoint, it was a bunch of gray stuff, that--shhh--came up. In my eye, a little of it glinted off the sun. It was wet...And so I yelled to my mom...'Mom, somebody threw fireworks in the car and the police are really really mad.'" (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) “Today, November 22nd, 1963, I was with Ronald Fischer, and we were on the corner at Elm and Houston, and I happened to look up there at the building, the Texas School Book Depository Building, and I saw a man at the window on the fifth floor, the window was wide open all the way; there was a stack of boxes around him, I could see. Bob remarked that he must be hiding from somebody. I noticed that he had on a sport shirt, it was light colored, it was yellow or white, something to that effect, and his hair was rather short; I thought he might be something around twenty-six, as near as I could tell. 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 what he saw before the president's arrival) "Nothing of importance except maybe one individual who was up there in the corner room of the sixth floor which was crowded in among boxes." (When asked what side of the sixth floor, to his left or right) "To my right...The corner window." (When asked to describe the man) "White man." (When asked tall or short) "I couldn't say." (When asked if he had anything in his hands) "No." (When asked if he could see his hands) "I don't remember." (When asked what kind of clothes he was wearing) "Light colored shirt, short sleeve and open neck." (When asked how much he could see) "From the waist on. From the abdomen or stomach up what..." (When asked fat or skinny) "Oh, about average. Possibly thin." (When asked if he could tell if he was light-skinned) "No." (When asked his hair color) "Light brown...That is what I would say; yes, sir." (When asked if he noticed anyone else on the floor) "No...I just didn't see any." (When asked if he saw anyone on the fifth floor) "No." (When asked why he said he saw someone on the fifth in his statement) "That has been straightened out since...they discussed it with me later and I took that back. That was the FBI...I went with them and I showed them the window, and I didn't count the bottom floor." (When asked how many floors in the building) "I think seven in all, seven floors. It is next to the top." (When asked if the man's hair was short or long) "Don't know." (When asked how long he looked at the man) "Just a few seconds." (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.
Above: Robert Edwards shortly after reporting what he saw to the Dallas Police. He is being escorted over to the Sheriff's Department to make a statement. His escort is presumed to be Dallas County jailer I.C. Todd, who witnessed the shooting from Houston Street and tried to help out his fellow lawmen in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.
Ronald Fischer (11-22-63 statement to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, 19H475, 19H650) “Today, November 22nd, 1963, I was with Robert E. (Bob) Edwards, we were standing on the corner of Elm and Houston, on the southwest corner; about thirty seconds before the motorcade came by, Bob turned to me and said that there was a man on the fifth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building, at the window there, and I looked up and saw the man. I looked up at the window and I noticed that he seemed to be laying down there or in a funny position anyway, because all I could see was his head. I noticed that he was light-headed and that he had on an open-neck shirt, and that was before the motorcade rounded the corner. I noticed his complexion seemed to be clear, and that he was in this twenty's, appeared to be in his twenty's. I turned away and 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) (On the man he saw in the sixth floor window) "About 10 or 15 seconds before the first car came around that corner, Bob punched me and said, "Look at that guy there in that window." And he made some remark---said, "He looks like he's uncomfortable"--or something.And I looked up and I watched the man for, oh, I'd say, 10 or 15 seconds. It was until the first car came around the corner of Houston and Main. And, then, when that car did come around the corner, I took my attention off of the man in the window and started watching the parade. The man held my attention for 10 or 15 seconds, because he appeared uncomfortable for one, and, secondly, he wasn't watching-uh---he didn't look like he was watching for the parade. He looked like he was looking down toward the Trinity River and the triple underpass down at the end-toward the end of Elm Street. And--uh--all the time I watched him, he never moved his head, he never-he never moved anything. Just was there transfixed." (When asked to verify the window) "It was the corner window on Houston Street facing Elm, in the fifth or sixth floor...The Texas School Book Depository Building...It would have been---well, as you're looking toward the front of the building, it would have been to your right...It would have been the south side---the entrance...The east part of the south side...First window." (When asked again about the man) "I could see from about the middle of his chest past the top of his head...He was in the---as you're looking toward that window, he was in the lower right portion of the window. He seemed to be sitting a little forward. And he had--he had on an open-neck shirt, but it-uh--could have been a sport shirt or a T-shirt. It was light in color; probably white, I couldn't tell whether it had long sleeves or whether it was a short-sleeved shirt, but it was open-neck and light in color. Uh---he had a slender face and neck---uh---and he had a light complexion----he was a white man. And he looked to be 22 or 24 years old...His hair seemed to be---uh---neither light nor dark; possibly a light---well, possibly a---well, it was a brown was what it was; but as to whether it was light or dark, I can't say." (When asked if he had a thick head of hair) "I couldn't tell. He couldn't have had very long hair, because his hair didn't seem to take up much space---of what I could see of his head. His hair must have been short and not long." (When asked if he got a good look at his face) "I saw it at an angle but, at the same time, I could see I believe I could see the tip of his right cheek as he looked to my left...He looked to me like he was looking straight at the triple underpass...(down) Elm Street...Toward the end of Elm Street." (When asked if he saw his hands) "No." (Or if he was holding anything) "No; I couldn't see...There were boxes and cases stacked all the way from the bottom to the top and from the left to the right behind him. It looked---uh---it's possible that there weren't cases directly behind him because I couldn't see because of him. But---uh---all the rest of the window---a portion behind the window--- there were boxes. It looked like there was space for a man to walk through there between the window and the boxes. But there were boxes in the window, or close to the window there." (When asked if there was anyone else) "I couldn't see any other people in the windows. I don't remember seeing any others." (On the shooting) “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." (11-19-78 article in the Dallas Morning News) "Ronald B. Fisher of Mesquite was peering up from the street below at about the same time Powell was watching from the jail. Fisher recently told the new that David W. Belin, an assistant counsel of the Warren Commission, tried to 'intimidate' him into testifying the one man he was able to see didn't have the light-colored hair he insisted he did have. 'He (Belin) and I had a fight almost in the interview room over the color of the man's hair,' Fisher said. 'He wanted me to tell him the man was dark-headed and I wouldn't do it.' Oswald's hair 'doesn't appear to me in the photographs to be as light as the man that I saw,' Fisher said, 'and that's what Belin was upset about. I see it now, but I didn't see it at the time.' Fischer said he didn't see a rifle or another person but or another person in the window but it was 'entirely possible' from his point of view that he couldn't have seen another person. The man he saw was wearing 'some kind of a light-colored shirt, like maybe a T-shirt,' and 'all I could see-through the open part of the window...was from the middle o his chest up past the top of his head. I gazed at him little bit because he seemed so transfixed in the way he was sitting.' Fisher said 'He was so still...like he was heavily concentrating on something or like he was asleep sitting up.'" (7-9-98 video-taped interview with Mark Oakes) "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." (If he had an opinion as to the direction the shots had come from) "No." 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 acknowledgement he thought he'd heard four shots, suggests a different scenario. Probable first shot 190-224. Probably heard four shots.
John Martin Jr. filmed the limousine on Elm Street and Amos Euins on the western wall of the fountain from a nearby location on the east side of the fountain. (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.
Thomas Sills (6-30-08 oral history with the Sixth Floor Museum) (When asked how many shots he heard) "I'm gonna say three...You know, that's what I remember. I was nine years old and like I said, I mean it could've even been just two, but I didn't hear more than three." (When pointed out to him that he'd described hearing two shots, and asked if what he learned subsequent to 11-22-63 had led him to say three) "Yeah...It might've. It might have." (11-17-15 article on coppellstudentmedia.com website) "Coppell High School U.S history teacher, girl’s basketball and track coach Thomas Sills was nine years old on Nov. 22, 1963 when John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated in Dealey Plaza in Downtown Dallas...Sills and his father were standing across the reflecting pool between Elm Street and Houston Street. The presidential limo turned the corner where they were standing and entered Elm Street where the fatal shot was fired. The idea of a gunshot seemed crazy so he and the other people around him were not frightened, until the second shot rang out which caused President Kennedy to fall over and a shocking reaction from Jacqueline Kennedy. “Seeing his wife crawl up on the back [of the car]…at 9 years old I was thinking ‘what in the world is she doing?’” Mr. Sills said, “Well, she was actually [gathering] a piece of his brain. She was in shock, she thought he might need it later.” Analysis: Did he hear two shots? Or three shots? Too vague.
So let's see. We've worked our way across the plaza to the corner of Houston and Elm...from two different directions. And we've covered the Southeast corner, Northeast corner, and Southwest corners of Houston and Elm...
Well, that leaves one group of witnesses--those on the the northwest corner...that is, those who were in front of and within the school book depository when the fatal shots were fired.