Date: November 22, 1963
The Time: 12:30 PM
David Wallechinsky and Irving Wallace
John F. Kennedy was shot to death during a midday motorcade
in Dallas, Texas. It was a tragedy that shook the nation and
The presidential party had arrived at Love Field under a clearing
sky. Kennedy took time to shake hands with the spectators gathered
at the airport to greet him; the crowd seemed amiable and receptive
to the President, who was apprehensive about this visit to Texas.
The Secret Service had been lining up the automobiles for the
upcoming parade through the streets of the city. Each car was
tagged with a small square of paper bearing a number which indicated
the planned position of that particular car in the motorcade.
Kennedy was to ride in the open 1961 Lincoln Continental limousine
marked with the number "7." But the limousine was
placed 2nd in line, due apparently to a mix-up.
When the parade started, the Lincoln (sans bubble-top because
of Kennedy's own request to leave it off if the weather was
nice) was preceded by a 1963 Ford sedan bearing Dallas Police
Chief Jesse Curry and other local officials. Directly behind
the presidential limousine was the Secret Service's follow-up
car a 1959 Cadillac. Although the press vehicle (usually directly
in front of the President's car to facilitate photographing
the President) was numbered "6," it was lined up last
(14th) in the motorcade. For this reason the photographers in
that vehicle were unable to photograph any footage of the assassination
that was about to occur--footage that would have been of great
The parade proceeded from Love Field through the central part
of Dallas. The entourage was approaching the end of its ride
to the World Trade Center, where Kennedy was to speak that day.
As the 8,000-lb. presidential vehicle lumbered off of Houston
Street, making a left turn onto Elm Street, it nearly had to
stop completely in negotiating the turn. The motorcade was now
in Dealy Plaza.
Mr. Abraham Zapruder was stationed on Elm Street, perched atop
a block of granite some 72' from the middle of the street. He
was holding his 8-millimeter Bell & Howell movie camera
which was set on "telephoto" to film the President
as he rode by. This film became the single most important piece
of evidence in the case of the assassination of President Kennedy,
as Zapruder was the only one of several photographers to capture
the incident from an angle clearly showing Kennedy. He had test-shot
a few frames of his secretary in his office. She was now bracing
him so that he would not fall from his vantage point on the
piece of stone.
First Zapruder filmed 2 motorcycles as they rolled down the
street to clear the way for the President's parade. He knew
that Kennedy's car would approach him at any moment. From the
instant the driver of Kennedy's car, Will Greer, slowed to make
the turn into Elm Street, until it disappeared beneath an overpass
at the end of the street, Zapruder filmed the car.
Zapruder film was purchased immediately after the assassination
for a large amount of money by Life magazine,but was never released
in its full form by that corporation. In 1975, Life returned
the film to the Zapruder family. The only copies that exist
officially were made for the Secret Service and the FBI. These
2 government copies are locked in the National Archives until
the year 2039 by virtue of Johnson's Executive Order 11130.
However, in 1967 New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison
accused a Mr. Clay Shaw of being a part of a conspiracy to kill
President Kennedy and the FBI copy was supoenaed as evidence
for the ensuing trial. At that time, Garrison obtained the film,
copied it, and thus became the source of the film for the many
researchers and investigators who now have copies. The film
is of even more importance when it is studied in the context
of the official report regarding the assassination, the Report
of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President
Kennedy, also called the Warren Commission because its chairman
was Chief Justice Earl Warren of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Zapruder's camera was running as the President's limousine approached
him. Kennedy can be seen waving to the crowd with his right
hand. Then he briefly disappears from camera view, as his vehicle
moves farther down the street behind a freeway1 sign when he
emerges from behind the sign in the Zapruder film, his hands
arc rising, fists clenched, in front of his neck, his elbows
pointing to the other side of the street. At this moment, he
has already been shot once. The 1st bullet entered the President's
back approximately 5½" below his collar line.
Another shot is now fired, and the Warren Commission has contended
that this 2nd bullet went wild, striking the curb near a spectator
named James T. Tague. That bullet sprayed Tague's foot and cheek
with chips of concrete from the curb and with fragments of lead.
The Warren Commission also stated that a 3rd bullet was fired,
striking Kennedy in the head and killing him. The majority of
witnesses agreed that the last shot fired hit Kennedy in the
head, although there was much dispute as to the direction from
which that bullet came.
It has been the position of the commission that one man, Lee
Harvey Oswald, was stationed at the eastern most window on the
6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building, which
is located on Elm Street. It has also been the official government
opinion that Oswald acted alone in murdering John F. Kennedy
and that there was no conspiracy of any kind behind the crime.
A rifle was found on the 6th floor of the building. This 6.5-mm
bolt-action, c1ip fed, 1938 Mannlicher-Carcano belonged to Oswald.
Keeping in mind the Warren Commission's hypothesis that the
2nd shot went astray near Tague, and that the last bullet was
the fatal shot striking the head, only one bullet is left as
the cause of all other gunshot damage. Only 3 shots at most
could have been fired using this rifle in the 5.6 seconds that
elapsed from the last possible moment that Kennedy could have
received the 1st wound (when he emerges, hit, from behind the
sign in the Zapruder film), to the easily recognizable moment
of the last fatal shot to the head (Kennedy reacts violently
in the film at the moment of impact).
Sitting directly in front of the President in the Lincoln limousine
was Gov. John B. Connally of Texas. He was sitting in one jump
seat and his wife, Nellie, was in the jump seat next to him,
directly in front of Mrs. Kennedy. Governor Connally was hit
in the back, the bullet exiting from the right side of his chest,
transiting his right wrist, and lodging in his left thigh. If
the Commission is right about the number of bullets, the same
bullet that struck Connally must have struck Kennedy 1st. That
is to say, the bullet that hit Kennedy in the back would have
had to exit from his body and gone on to strike Connally.
If Oswald was firing from the 6th floor of the building, the
angle of trajectory would be 17 degrees, 43 minutes, 30 seconds,
in a downward direction. That bullet entered Kennedy's back,
5½" from his collar line--yet the only wound on
the President's body, in addition the wound in his head and
the entry wound his back, was a small slit in his throat. The
Warren Commission theorized that this slit was caused by the
exit of the bullet that entered Kennedy's back and continued
on to hit Governor Conally. But since this bullet struck no
bone in the President's body which might have deflected it's
angle of trajectory but exited in an upward direction, it seems
very apparent that the single bullet theory of the Warren Commission
is a geometric impossibility.
This fact, coupled with the time element involved, suggests
there was more than one gunman in Dealey Plaza that fateful
day. The time lapse was determined by a frame-by-frame analysis
of the Zapruder film. When Kennedy emerged from behind the sign
in the film, he had already been shot. This is frame #225. When
he disappeared in the film, at frame #207, he was waving to
the crowd naturally. He could not have been hit at any time
prior to moving behind the the sign. John Connally testified
that he heard the shot that hit Kennedy, turned around and looked
over his right shoulder, and was then hit by a subsequent bullet.
His testimony is substantiated by the Zapruder film, which shows
him looking over his shoulder and then, before he can look over
the other shoulder (as he claimed he was attempting to do),
his is shot at a point no sooner than frame #235. Zapruder's
camera operated at 18.3 frames per second. The 10 frames between
the latest point Kennedy could have been hit (frame #225) and
the earliest point Connally is struck (frame #235), represents
a time value of .546488 secondsjust over a half second.
A bullet fired from the Oswald weapon and passing through the
neck of John Kennedy, as the Warren Commission claimed that
this one did, would move at a speed of 1.772' to 1.779' per
second according to the Warren Report and the FBI expert's testimony.
Since it is impossible that a bullet virtually waited in midair
for that half second, simple mathematics casts substantial doubt
on the Commission's conclusion that one bullet caused all 7
wounds in Kennedy and Connally.
Special Agent Robert A. Frazier of the FBI testified as a firearms
expert be fore the Warren Commission. He stated that the bolt
action of the ancient Italian rifle took at least 2.3 seconds
according to tests run by expert riflemen. Therefore, it is
impossible that the weapon was fired twice within the half-second
time slot. This means there is no possibility that Kennedy was
hit by an earlier Oswald bullet at the moment of his disappearance
behind the freeway sign and that a later shot hit Connally,
because the time lapse between frames #207 (Kennedy's disappearance)
and #235 Connally's reaction is only 1.5 seconds and 2.3 seconds
would have been needed to fire 2 shots.
After the 1st shot, the President was leaning forward slightly,
his wife aware that he'd been the victim of a bullet. She had
moved closer to him and was looking at his face when a bullet
struck the President in the head, exploding in a pink-red glow
of blood, brain matter and skull fragments. Terrified, Mrs.
Kennedy then climbed from the seat of the limousine onto the
trunk but was stopped there by Secret Service Agent Clinton
J. Hill. Hill pushed Mrs. Kennedy back into the seat and shielded
her body with his own as the Lincoln roared off.
None of this escaped the watchful eye of Zapruder's camera,
making the Zapruder film an invaluable piece of hard evidence
worthy of note in the event of conflicting conclusions by member
of the Warren Commission.
It is a Newtonian law of motion that when an object is struck
by a missile, that object will move in the same direction as
that taken by the missile. This means that if Kennedy were hit
by a gunman (presumably Oswald) situated in a window 280·
behind him, his head would move forward from he impact of the
bullet. The Zapruder film clearly depicts the President's head
snapping BACKWARD with great violence. Applying the scientific
laws governing the situation there can be no doubt that Kennedy
is reacting to a bullet fired from a position in front of the
limousine. This is strong evidence that the lone assassin theory
of the Commission is fallacious.
It is interesting to note that a certain area in front of the
limousine at the time the fatal shot was fired was an excellent
vantage point for a gunman. It is referred to by Dallas residents
as the grassy knoll. At the top of this knoll, there is a wooden
fence. There is a very small space between the top of that fence
and the lowest foliage on the trees whic line the inside of
this fence. The knoll provides a spot where a gunman would be
hidden from sight.
Two police officers who flanked the presidential limousine on
motorcycles, Billy Martin and Robert Hargis, were so sure that
the fatal shot had come from the knoll that they went directly
up the embankment and peered over the fence. They saw a police
officer there and, thinking the area covered; the pair left
to orders on what to do next. Minutes later pictures were taken
of an officeror a man dressed as an officer leaving the
grassy area. His uniform was unlike those worn by the Dallas
Police Force. His weaponry and specifics also differed sharply
from those officers in Dealey Plaza that day, indicating that
this man was not an officer at all. This has yet to be fully
Witness Richard Carr was one of the closest observers of the
fatal shot. Carr indicated that the shot came over his right
shoulder or from the grassy knoll area. His testimony at the
Clay Shaw proceeding in 1969 included the following exchange:
Q: As a result of the conversations with the FBI, what did you
A: I done as I was instructed, I shut my mouth.
Q: Were you called to testify before the Warren Commission?
A: No, sir.
It seems that the investigatory work in this case not only failed
to meet the generally accepted standards for the gathering of
truth, but it also served to stifle a full disclosure. These
points of evidence seem to emphasize grave inconsistencies in
the official government account of the events of November 22,
1963. If, in fact, there was more than one gunman shooting at
the President, as the evidence seems to indicate, there is a
question as to why the plentiful clues were ignored by the Warren
Commission. One member of the Commission wrote an article for
Life magazine and also book which supported the conclusions
of the Warren Report-the lone-assassin Single-bullet theory.
This man is today the President of the U.S., Gerald R. Ford.
In determining the motives of the assassin and those of the
Warren Commission which failed to deal with the available evidence
in depth, an obligation that it had to the American people--we
are faced with problems. If we begin by suspecting that someone
had a possible interest in having the President dead in 1963,
we will find ourselves dealing with far too many people. And
obviously no person or group of persons will ever admit an antipathy
for the man in the face of a major investigation: de mortuis
nil nisi bonum (of the dead say nothing but good). Yet investigation
must come about if the facts of this case are ever to be made
public. And the American people have the right to a full disclosure
of this situation in which it is possible that someone murdered
a President of the U.S. and got away with it.