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John F. Kennedy assassination

John F. Kennedy assassination

Overview
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

, the thirty-fifth President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time (18:30 UTC
Coordinated Universal Time
Coordinated Universal Time is the primary time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time. It is one of several closely related successors to Greenwich Mean Time. Computer servers, online services and other entities that rely on having a universally accepted time use UTC for that purpose...

) on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza
Dealey Plaza
Dealey Plaza , in the historic West End district of downtown Dallas, Texas , is the location of the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963...

, Dallas, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

. Kennedy was fatally shot while traveling with his wife Jacqueline
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier "Jackie" Kennedy Onassis was the wife of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, and served as First Lady of the United States during his presidency from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. Five years later she married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle...

, Texas governor John Connally
John Connally
John Bowden Connally, Jr. , was an influential American politician, serving as the 39th governor of Texas, Secretary of the Navy under President John F. Kennedy, and as Secretary of the Treasury under President Richard M. Nixon. While he was Governor in 1963, Connally was a passenger in the car in...

, and the latter's wife, Nellie
Nellie Connally
Idanell Brill "Nellie" Connally was the First Lady of Texas from 1963 to 1969.-First Lady of Texas:Born in Austin, Texas, she was wife of John Connally, who served as Governor of Texas and later as Secretary of the Treasury.-Death of President Kennedy:At the time of her death in 2006, she was the...

, in a Presidential motorcade
Motorcade
A motorcade is a procession of vehicles. The term motorcade was coined by Lyle Abbot , and is formed after cavalcade on the false notion that "-cade" was a suffix meaning "procession"...

.

The ten-month investigation by the Warren Commission
Warren Commission
The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, known unofficially as the Warren Commission, was established on November 27, 1963, by Lyndon B. Johnson to investigate the assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963...

, 1963–1964, concluded that the President was assassinated
Assassination
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

 by Lee Harvey Oswald
Lee Harvey Oswald
Lee Harvey Oswald was, according to four government investigations,These were investigations by: the Federal Bureau of Investigation , the Warren Commission , the House Select Committee on Assassinations , and the Dallas Police Department. the sniper who assassinated John F...

 acting alone and that Jack Ruby
Jack Ruby
Jacob Leon Rubenstein , who legally changed his name to Jack Leon Ruby in 1947, was convicted of the November 24, 1963 murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy. Ruby, who was originally from Chicago, Illinois, was then a nightclub operator in Dallas, Texas...

 acted alone when he killed Oswald before he could stand trial.
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Encyclopedia
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

, the thirty-fifth President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time (18:30 UTC
Coordinated Universal Time
Coordinated Universal Time is the primary time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time. It is one of several closely related successors to Greenwich Mean Time. Computer servers, online services and other entities that rely on having a universally accepted time use UTC for that purpose...

) on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza
Dealey Plaza
Dealey Plaza , in the historic West End district of downtown Dallas, Texas , is the location of the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963...

, Dallas, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

. Kennedy was fatally shot while traveling with his wife Jacqueline
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier "Jackie" Kennedy Onassis was the wife of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, and served as First Lady of the United States during his presidency from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. Five years later she married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle...

, Texas governor John Connally
John Connally
John Bowden Connally, Jr. , was an influential American politician, serving as the 39th governor of Texas, Secretary of the Navy under President John F. Kennedy, and as Secretary of the Treasury under President Richard M. Nixon. While he was Governor in 1963, Connally was a passenger in the car in...

, and the latter's wife, Nellie
Nellie Connally
Idanell Brill "Nellie" Connally was the First Lady of Texas from 1963 to 1969.-First Lady of Texas:Born in Austin, Texas, she was wife of John Connally, who served as Governor of Texas and later as Secretary of the Treasury.-Death of President Kennedy:At the time of her death in 2006, she was the...

, in a Presidential motorcade
Motorcade
A motorcade is a procession of vehicles. The term motorcade was coined by Lyle Abbot , and is formed after cavalcade on the false notion that "-cade" was a suffix meaning "procession"...

.

The ten-month investigation by the Warren Commission
Warren Commission
The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, known unofficially as the Warren Commission, was established on November 27, 1963, by Lyndon B. Johnson to investigate the assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963...

, 1963–1964, concluded that the President was assassinated
Assassination
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

 by Lee Harvey Oswald
Lee Harvey Oswald
Lee Harvey Oswald was, according to four government investigations,These were investigations by: the Federal Bureau of Investigation , the Warren Commission , the House Select Committee on Assassinations , and the Dallas Police Department. the sniper who assassinated John F...

 acting alone and that Jack Ruby
Jack Ruby
Jacob Leon Rubenstein , who legally changed his name to Jack Leon Ruby in 1947, was convicted of the November 24, 1963 murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy. Ruby, who was originally from Chicago, Illinois, was then a nightclub operator in Dallas, Texas...

 acted alone when he killed Oswald before he could stand trial. These conclusions were initially supported by the American public; however, polls conducted from 1966 to 2004 found that as many as 80 percent of Americans have suspected that there was a plot or cover-up
Cover-up
A cover-up is an attempt, whether successful or not, to conceal evidence of wrong-doing, error, incompetence or other embarrassing information...

.

Contrary to the Warren Commission
Warren Commission
The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, known unofficially as the Warren Commission, was established on November 27, 1963, by Lyndon B. Johnson to investigate the assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963...

, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations
United States House Select Committee on Assassinations
The United States House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations ' was established in 1976 to investigate the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. and the shooting of Governor George Wallace. The Committee investigated until 1978, and in 1979 issued its final...

 (HSCA) in 1979 concluded that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. The HSCA found both the original FBI investigation and the Warren Commission Report to be seriously flawed. While agreeing with the Commission that Oswald fired all the shots which caused the wounds to Kennedy and Governor Connally, it stated that there were at least four shots fired and that there was a "high probability" that two gunmen fired at the President. No gunmen or groups involved in the conspiracy were identified by the committee, but the CIA, Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, organized crime and several other groups were said to be not involved, based on available evidence. The assassination is still the subject of widespread debate and has spawned numerous conspiracy theories
John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories
There has long been suspicion of a government cover-up of information about the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. There are also numerous conspiracy theories regarding the assassination that arose soon after his death and continue to be promoted today...

 and alternative scenarios.

Route to Dealey Plaza



President Kennedy's motorcade route through Dallas was planned to give him maximal exposure to Dallas crowds before his arrival, along with the vice president and the governor, at a luncheon with civic and business leaders in that city. The White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 staff informed the secret service that the president would arrive in Dallas via a short (13 minutes in the air) flight, from Carswell Air Force Base
Carswell Air Force Base
Carswell Air Force Base, was a United States Air Force Strategic Air Command base located about northwest central of Fort Worth, Texas, United States; the air force base is mostly within the Fort Worth city limits and has portions within Westworth and White Settlement...

 in Fort Worth, to Dallas Love Field airport. The Dallas Trade Mart had been preliminarily selected for the luncheon, and the final decision of the Trade Mart as the end of the motorcade journey was selected by Kennedy's friend and appointments secretary Kenneth O'Donnell
Kenneth O'Donnell
Kenneth Patrick O'Donnell , known as Kenny, was a top aide to U.S. President John F. Kennedy and part of the group of Kennedys' close advisors called the "Irish Mafia"...

, who would accompany him on the trip.

Leaving from Dallas' Love Field, 45 minutes had been allotted for the motorcade to reach the Dallas Trade Mart at a planned arrival time of 12:15 PM. The actual route was chosen to be a meandering 10-mile route from Love Field to the Trade Mart which could be driven slowly in the allotted time. Special Agent Winston G. Lawson, a member of the White House detail who acted as the advance secret service agent, and secret service agent Forrest V. Sorrels, special agent in charge of the Dallas office, were most active in planning the actual route. On November 14, Lawson and Sorrels attended a meeting at Love Field and drove over the route which Sorrels believed best suited for the motorcade. From Love Field, the route passed through a portion of suburban Dallas, through the downtown area along Main Street, and finally to the Trade Mart via a short segment of the Stemmons Freeway. For the President's return to Love Field, from which he planned to depart for a fund-raising dinner in Austin
Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

 later in the day, the agents selected a more direct route, which was approximately 4 miles (some of this route would be used after the assassination). The planned route to the Trade Mart was widely reported in Dallas newspapers several days before the event, for the benefit of people who wished to view the motorcade.

To pass through downtown Dallas, a route west along Dallas' Main Street, rather than Elm Street (one block to the north) was chosen, because this was the traditional parade route, and provided the maximal building and crowd views. However, the Main Street route precluded a direct turn onto the Fort Worth Turnpike exit (which served also as the Stemmons Freeway exit), which was the route to the Trade Mart, because this exit was accessible only from Elm Street. The planned motorcade route thus included a short one-block turn at the end of the downtown segment of Main Street, onto Houston Street for one block northward, before turning again west onto Elm, in order to proceed through Dealey Plaza
Dealey Plaza
Dealey Plaza , in the historic West End district of downtown Dallas, Texas , is the location of the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963...

 before exiting Elm onto the Stemmons Freeway. The Texas School Book Depository
Texas School Book Depository
The Texas School Book Depository is the former name of a seven-floor building facing Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas . Located on the northwest corner of Elm and North Houston Streets, at the western end of downtown Dallas, its address is 411 Elm Street. The building is notable for its connection to...

 was situated at this corner of Houston and Elm.

On November 22, after a breakfast speech in Fort Worth, where Kennedy had stayed overnight after arriving from San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States of America and the second-largest city within the state of Texas, with a population of 1.33 million. Located in the American Southwest and the south–central part of Texas, the city serves as the seat of Bexar County. In 2011,...

, Houston
Houston, Texas
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

 and Washington, D.C. the day previously, the president boarded Air Force One which departed at 11:10 and arrived at Love Field 15 minutes later. At about 11:40, the presidential motorcade left Love Field for the trip through Dallas, which was running on a schedule about 10 minutes longer than the planned 45 minutes, due to enthusiastic crowds and an unplanned stop directed by the president. By the time the motorcade reached Dealy Plaza, however, they were only 5 minutes away from their planned destination.

Shooting in Dealey Plaza


At 12:30 p.m. CST, as Kennedy's uncovered limousine entered Dealey Plaza
Dealey Plaza
Dealey Plaza , in the historic West End district of downtown Dallas, Texas , is the location of the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963...

, Nellie Connally, then the First Lady of Texas, turned around to Kennedy, who was sitting behind her, and commented, "Mr. President, you can't say Dallas doesn't love you," which President Kennedy acknowledged.

From Houston Street, the presidential limousine made the planned left turn to put it on Elm Street to allow it to pass to the Stemmons Freeway exit. As it turned on Elm, the motorcade passed the Texas School Book Depository
Texas School Book Depository
The Texas School Book Depository is the former name of a seven-floor building facing Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas . Located on the northwest corner of Elm and North Houston Streets, at the western end of downtown Dallas, its address is 411 Elm Street. The building is notable for its connection to...

. As it continued down Elm Street, shots were fired at Kennedy; a clear majority of witnesses recalled hearing three shots. A minority of the witnesses did recognize the first gunshot blast they heard as a weapon blast, but there was hardly any reaction from a majority in the crowd or riding in the motorcade itself to the first shot, with many later saying they heard what they first thought to be a firecracker or the exhaust backfire
Back-fire
A Back-fire or backfire is an explosion produced by a running internal combustion engine that occurs in the air intake or exhaust system rather than inside the combustion chamber. The same term is used when unburned fuel or hydrocarbons are ignited somewhere in the exhaust system. A visible flame...

 of a vehicle just after the president started waving.

Within one second of each other, President Kennedy, Governor Connally, and Mrs. Kennedy, all turned abruptly from looking to their left to looking to their right, between Zapruder film
Zapruder film
The Zapruder film is a silent, color motion picture sequence shot by private citizen Abraham Zapruder with a home-movie camera, asU.S. President John F...

 frames 155 and 169. Connally, like the president a World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 military veteran (and unlike the president, a longtime hunter), testified he immediately recognized the sound of a high-powered rifle, then he turned his head and torso rightward attempting to see President Kennedy behind him. Connally testified he could not see the president, so he then started to turn forward again (turning from his right, to his left). Connally testified that when his head was facing about twenty-degrees left of center he was hit in his upper right back by a bullet, fired in a gunshot that Connally testified he did not hear the muzzle blast from. When Connally testified to this, the doctor who operated on him measured his head facing direction at twenty-seven degrees left of center. After Connally was hit he then shouted, "Oh, no, no, no. My God. They're going to kill us all!"

Mrs. Connally testified that right after hearing a first loud, frightening noise that came from somewhere behind her and to her right, she immediately turned towards President Kennedy and saw him with his arms and elbows already raised high with his hands already close to his throat. She then heard another gunshot and John Connally started yelling. Mrs. Connally then turned away from President Kennedy towards her husband, then another gunshot sounded and she and the limousine's rear interior were now covered with fragments of skull, blood, and brain matter.

According to the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations, as President Kennedy waved to the crowds on his right with his right arm upraised on the side of the limo, a shot entered his upper back, penetrated his neck, slightly damaged a spinal vertebra and the top of his right lung, exited his throat nearly centerline just beneath his larynx, then nicked the left side of his suit tie knot. He then raised his elbows and clenched his fists in front of his face and neck, then leaned forward and towards his left. Mrs. Kennedy (already facing him) then put her arms around him in concern. Governor Connally also reacted after the same bullet
Single bullet theory
The single bullet theory was introduced by the Warren Commission in its investigation of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to explain what happened to the bullet which struck Kennedy in the back and exited through his throat...

 penetrated his back just below his right armpit, creating an oval entry wound, impacted and destroyed four inches of his right, fifth rib bone, exited his chest just below his right nipple creating a two-and-a-half inch oval sucking-air chest wound, then entered just above his right wrist, impacted and cleanly shattered his right radius bone, exited just below the wrist at the inner side of his right palm, and entered his left inner thigh. The Warren Commission theorized that the "single bullet" struck between Zapruder frames 210 and 225, while the House Select Committee theorized it occurred exactly at Zapruder frame 190.

According to the Warren Commission, a second shot struck at Zapruder film frame 313 (the Commission made no conclusion as to whether this was the second or third bullet fired) when the Presidential limousine was passing in front of the John Neely Bryan
John Neely Bryan
John Neely Bryan was a Presbyterian farmer, lawyer, and tradesman in the United States and founder of the city of Dallas, Texas.- Early life :...

 north pergola
Pergola
A pergola, arbor or arbour is a garden feature forming a shaded walkway, passageway or sitting area of vertical posts or pillars that usually support cross-beams and a sturdy open lattice, often upon which woody vines are trained...

 concrete structure (the House Select Committee concluded that the final shot was the fourth shot). They each concluded that this shot entered the rear of President Kennedy's head (the House Select Committee determined the entry wound to be four inches higher than the Warren Commission), then exploded out a roughly oval-shaped hole from his head's rear and right side. Head matter, brain, blood, and skull fragments, originating from Kennedy, covered the interior of the car, the inner and outer surfaces of the front glass windshield and raised sun visors, the front engine hood, the rear trunk lid, the followup Secret Service car and its driver's left arm, and motorcycle officers riding on both sides of the president behind him. Mrs. Kennedy then reached out onto the rear trunk lid. After she crawled back into her limousine seat, both Governor Connally and Mrs. Connally heard her say more than once, "They have killed my husband," and "I have his brains in my hand."

United States Secret Service
United States Secret Service
The United States Secret Service is a United States federal law enforcement agency that is part of the United States Department of Homeland Security. The sworn members are divided among the Special Agents and the Uniformed Division. Until March 1, 2003, the Service was part of the United States...

 agent Clint Hill
Clint Hill
Clinton J. Hill is a former United States Secret Service agent who was in the presidential motorcade during the assassination of John F. Kennedy. After Kennedy was shot, Hill ran from the car immediately behind the presidential limousine and leapt onto the back of it, holding on while the car...

 was riding on the left front running board
Running board
A running board is a car or truck accessory part, a narrow step fitted under the side doors of the vehicle. It aids entry, especially into high vehicles. Typical of vintage cars which had much higher ground clearances than today's cars, it is also used as a fashion statement on vehicles that would...

 of the followup car, immediately behind the Presidential limousine. Hill testified he heard one shot, then, as documented in other films and concurrent with Zapruder frame 308, he jumped off into Elm Street and ran forward to try and get on the limousine and protect the president. (Hill testified to the Warren Commission that after he jumped into Elm Street, he heard two more shots)
After the president had been shot in the head, Mrs. Kennedy began to climb out onto the back of the limousine, though she later had no recollection of doing so. Hill believed she was reaching for something, perhaps a piece of the president's skull. He jumped onto the back of the limousine while at the same time Mrs. Kennedy returned to her seat, and he clung to the car as it exited Dealey Plaza and accelerated, speeding to Parkland Memorial Hospital
Parkland Memorial Hospital
Parkland Memorial Hospital is a hospital located at 5201 Harry Hines Boulevard, just west of Oak Lawn in Dallas, Texas . It is the main hospital of the Dallas County Hospital District and serves as Dallas County's public hospital.- History :The original hospital opened in 1894 in a wooden...

.

Others wounded


Governor Connally, riding in the same limousine in a seat in front of the President and three inches more to the left than the president, was also critically injured but survived. Doctors later stated that after the governor was shot, his wife pulled him onto her lap, and the resulting posture helped close his front chest wound (which was causing air to be sucked directly into his chest around his collapsed right lung).

James Tague
James Tague
James "Jim" Thomas Tague was a witness to the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. He received a minor wound on his right cheek during the assassination. He is the only person, in addition to Kennedy and Texas Governor John B...

, a spectator and witness to the assassination, also received a minor wound to his right cheek while standing 531 feet (161.8 m) away from the Depository's sixth floor, far-eastern window, 270 feet (82.3 m) in front of and slightly to the right of President Kennedy's head facing direction, and more than 16 feet (4.9 m) below the president's head top. Tague's injury occurred when a bullet or bullet fragment with no copper casing struck the nearby Main Street south curb. When Tague testified to the Warren Commission and was asked which of the three shots he remembered hearing struck him, he stated it was the second or third shot; when the Warren Commission attorney pressed him further, Tague stated he was struck concurrent with the second shot.

Aftermath in Dealey Plaza




The Presidential limousine was passing a grassy knoll on the north side of Elm Street at the moment of the fatal head shot. As the motorcade left the plaza, police officers and spectators ran up the knoll and from a railroad bridge over Elm Street (the Triple Underpass), to the area behind a five-foot (1.5 m) high stockade fence atop the knoll, separating it from a parking lot. No sniper was found. S. M. Holland, who had been watching the motorcade on the Triple Underpass, testified that "immediately" after the shots were fired, he went around the corner where the overpass joined the fence but did not see anyone running from the area.
Lee Bowers
Lee Bowers
Lee Edward Bowers, Jr. was a key witness to the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas in 1963. At the moment of the assassination he was operating the Union Terminal Company's two-story interlocking tower, overlooking the parking lot just north of the grassy knoll and west of the Texas...

, a railroad switchman sitting in a two-story tower, had an unobstructed view of the rear of the stockade fence atop the grassy knoll during the shooting. He saw a total of four men in the area between his tower and Elm Street: a middle-aged man and a younger man, standing 10 to 15 ft (3 to 4.6 m) apart near the Triple Underpass, who did not seem to know each other, and one or two uniformed parking lot attendants. At the time of the shooting, he saw "something out of the ordinary, a sort of milling around," which he could not identify. Bowers testified that one or both of the men were still there when motorcycle officer Clyde Haygood ran up the grassy knoll to the back of the fence. In a 1966 interview, Bowers clarified that the two men he saw were standing in the opening between the pergola and the fence, and that "no one" was behind the fence at the time the shots were fired.

Meanwhile, Howard Brennan
Howard Brennan
Howard Leslie Brennan was a witness to the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963...

, a steamfitter who was sitting across the street from the Texas School Book Depository, notified police that as he watched the motorcade go by, he heard a shot come from above, and looked up to see a man with a rifle make another shot from a corner window on the sixth floor. He had seen the same man minutes earlier looking out the window. Brennan gave a description of the shooter, which was broadcast to all Dallas police at 12:45 p.m., 12:48 p.m., and 12:55 p.m.

As Brennan spoke to the police in front of the building, they were joined by Harold Norman and James Jarman, Jr., two employees of the Texas School Book Depository who had watched the motorcade from windows at the southeast corner of the fifth floor. Norman reported that he heard three gunshots come from directly over their heads. Norman also heard the sounds of a bolt action rifle and cartridges dropping on the floor above them.

Estimates of when Dallas police sealed off the entrances to the Texas School Book Depository range from 12:33 to after 12:50 p.m.

Of the 104 earwitnesses in Dealey Plaza who are on record with an opinion as to the direction from which the shots came, 54 (51.9%) thought that all shots came from the direction of the Texas School Book Depository, 33 (31.7%) thought that all shots came from the area of the grassy knoll or the Triple Underpass, 9 (8.7%) thought all shots came from a location entirely distinct from the knoll or the Depository, 5 (4.8%) thought they heard shots from two locations, and 3 (2.9%) thought the shots came from a direction consistent with both the knoll and the Depository.

Additionally, the Warren Commission said of the three shots they concluded were fired that "a substantial majority of the witnesses stated that the shots were not evenly spaced. Most witnesses recalled that the second and third shots were bunched together."

Lee Harvey Oswald




Lee Harvey Oswald, reported missing to the Dallas police by Roy Truly, his supervisor at the Depository, was arrested approximately 70 minutes after the assassination for killing a Dallas police officer, J. D. Tippit
J. D. Tippit
Tippit attended a Veterans Administration vocational training school at Bogata, Texas, from January 1950 until June 1952. He was then hired by the Dallas Police Department as a patrolman on July 28, 1952...

. According to witness Helen Markam, Tippit had spotted Oswald walking along a sidewalk in the residential neighborhood of Oak Cliff
Oak Cliff
Oak Cliff is a community in Dallas, Texas, United States that was formerly a separate town located in Dallas County; Dallas annexed Oak Cliff in 1903...

, three miles from Dealey Plaza. Officer Tippit had earlier received a radio message which gave a description of the suspect being sought in the assassination and called Oswald over to the patrol car. Helen Markam testified that after an exchange of words, Tippit got out of his car and Oswald shot him four times. Oswald was captured in a nearby movie theater
Texas Theatre
The Texas Theatre is a movie theater and Dallas Landmark located in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas, Texas. It gained historical fame for being the place Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of President John F. Kennedy and Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit, was arrested after a brief fight...

 after he was seen sneaking into the theater without buying a ticket.

Oswald resisted, attempting to shoot the arresting officer, M.N. McDonald, with a pistol, and was struck and forcibly restrained by the police. He was charged with the murders of Kennedy and Tippit later that night. Oswald denied shooting anyone and claimed he was a patsy
Scapegoat
Scapegoating is the practice of singling out any party for unmerited negative treatment or blame. Scapegoating may be conducted by individuals against individuals , individuals against groups , groups against individuals , and groups against groups Scapegoating is the practice of singling out any...

 who was arrested because he had lived in the Soviet Union. Oswald's case never came to trial because two days later, while being escorted to a car for transfer from Dallas Police Headquarters to the Dallas County Jail, he was shot and killed by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby
Jack Ruby
Jacob Leon Rubenstein , who legally changed his name to Jack Leon Ruby in 1947, was convicted of the November 24, 1963 murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy. Ruby, who was originally from Chicago, Illinois, was then a nightclub operator in Dallas, Texas...

, live on American television. Arrested immediately after the shooting, Ruby later said that he had been distraught over the Kennedy assassination.

Carcano rifle



A 6.5 x 52 mm Italian Carcano
Carcano
Carcano is the frequently used name for a series of Italian bolt-action military rifles and carbines. Introduced in 1891, this rifle was chambered for the rimless 6.5x52mm Mannlicher-Carcano Cartuccia Modello 1895 cartridge. It was developed by the chief technician Salvatore Carcano at the Turin...

 M91/38 bolt-action rifle was found on the 6th floor of the Texas Book Depository by Deputy Constable
Constable
A constable is a person holding a particular office, most commonly in law enforcement. The office of constable can vary significantly in different jurisdictions.-Etymology:...

 Seymour Weitzman and Deputy Sheriff Eugene Boone soon after the assassination of President Kennedy. The recovery was filmed by Tom Alyea of WFAA-TV
WFAA-TV
WFAA, channel 8, is an ABC-affiliated television station serving the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex, one of the top ten media markets in North America. The station is the flagship of Belo Corporation and the largest ABC affiliate not owned and operated by the network...

. This footage shows the rifle to be a Carcano, and it was later verified by photographic analysis commissioned by the HSCA that the rifle filmed was the same one later identified as the assassination weapon. Compared to photographs taken of Oswald holding the rifle in his backyard, "one notch in the stock at [a] point that appears very faintly in the photograph" matched, as well as the rifle's dimensions.

The previous March, the Carcano rifle had been bought by Oswald under the name "A. Hidell" and delivered to a post office box
Post Office box
A post-office box or Post Office box is a uniquely addressable lockable box located on the premises of a post office station....

 Oswald rented in Dallas. According to the Warren Commission Report, a partial palm print of Oswald was also found on the barrel of the gun, and a tuft of fibers found in a crevice of the rifle was consistent with the fibers and colors of the shirt Oswald was wearing at the time of his arrest.

A bullet found on Connally's hospital gurney
Gurney
A gurney, known as a trolley in British medical context, is the U.S. term for a type of stretcher used in modern hospitals and ambulances in developed areas. A hospital gurney is a kind of narrow bed on a wheeled frame which may be adjustable in height. For ambulances, a collapsible gurney is a...

, and two bullet fragments found in the presidential limousine, were ballistically matched
Ballistic fingerprinting
Ballistic fingerprinting refers to a set of forensic techniques that rely on marks that firearms leave on bullets to match a bullet to the gun it was fired with...

 to this rifle.

Kennedy declared dead in the emergency room



The staff at Parkland Hospital's Trauma Room 1 who treated Kennedy observed that his condition was "moribund
Moribund
Moribund refers to a literal or figurative state of near-death.Moribund may also refer to:* "Le Moribond", a song by Jacques Brel which became better known for its rewritten English-language version, "Seasons in the Sun"...

", meaning that he had no chance of survival upon arriving at the hospital. Dr. George Burkley, the President's personal physician, determined the head wound was the cause of death. Dr. Burkley signed President Kennedy's death certificate.


At 1:00 p.m., CST (19:00 UTC), after all heart activity had ceased and after a priest administered the last rites, the President was pronounced dead. "We never had any hope of saving his life," one doctor said. The Rev. Oscar L. Huber, the priest
Priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

 who administered the last rites to Kennedy told The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

that the President was already dead by the time Huber had arrived at the hospital, and he had to draw back a sheet covering the President's face to administer the sacrament of Extreme Unction
Anointing of the Sick (Catholic Church)
Anointing of the Sick is a sacrament of the Catholic Church that is administered to Catholics who because of sickness or old age are in danger of death, even if the danger is not proximate...

. Kennedy's death was officially announced by White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 Acting Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff
Malcolm Kilduff
Malcolm MacGregor "Mac" Kilduff, Jr. was a United States journalist, best known for making the public announcement of the death of U.S. President John F...

 at 1:33 p.m. CST (19:33 UTC). Governor Connally, meanwhile, was taken to emergency surgery, where he underwent two operations that day.

A few minutes after 2:00 p.m. CST (20:00 UTC), and after a confrontation between Dallas police and Secret Service agents, Kennedy's body was placed in a casket and taken from Parkland Hospital and driven to Air Force One
Air Force One
Air Force One is the official air traffic control call sign of any United States Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the United States. In common parlance the term refers to those Air Force aircraft whose primary mission is to transport the president; however, any U.S. Air Force aircraft...

. The casket was then loaded aboard the airplane through the rear door, where it remained at the rear of the passenger compartment, in place of a removed row of seats. The body was removed before a forensic examination could be conducted by the Dallas County coroner (Earl Rose), which violated Texas state law(the murder was a state crime and occurred under Texas legal jurisdiction). At that time, it was not a federal offense to kill the President of the United States, although it was a federal crime to conspire to injure a federal officer while he was acting in the line of duty.

Vice-President Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

 (who had been riding two cars behind Kennedy in the motorcade through Dallas and was not injured) became President of the United States upon Kennedy's death. At 2:38 p.m. Johnson took the oath of office
Lyndon B. Johnson 1963 presidential inauguration
The first inauguration of Lyndon B. Johnson as the 36th President of the United States occurred on November 22, 1963 under extraordinary circumstances. The inauguration marked the commencement of the first term of Lyndon B. Johnson as President, following the assassination of President John F...

 on board Air Force One just before it departed from Love Field.

Autopsy




The autopsy
John F. Kennedy autopsy
The autopsy of President John F. Kennedy was performed, beginning at about 8 p.m. and ending at about midnight EST, on November 22, 1963, the day of his assassination, at the then Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. The choice of autopsy hospital in the Washington, D.C. area was made at...

 was performed, beginning at about 8 p.m. and ending at about midnight
Midnight
Midnight is the transition time period from one day to the next: the moment when the date changes. In the Roman time system, midnight was halfway between sunset and sunrise, varying according to the seasons....

 EST at the then Bethesda Naval Hospital
National Naval Medical Center
The National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, USA — commonly known as the Bethesda Naval Hospital — was for decades the flagship of the United States Navy's system of medical centers. A federal institution, it conducted medical and dental research as well as providing health care for...

 in Bethesda, Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

. The choice of autopsy hospital in the Washington, D.C. area was made at the request of Mrs. Kennedy
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier "Jackie" Kennedy Onassis was the wife of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, and served as First Lady of the United States during his presidency from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. Five years later she married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle...

, on the basis that John F. Kennedy had been a naval officer.

Funeral



The state funeral
State funeral of John F. Kennedy
The state funeral of John F. Kennedy took place in Washington, DC during the three days that followed his assassination on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas....

 took place in Washington, DC during the three days that followed the assassination.

The body of President Kennedy was brought back to Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 and placed in the East Room of the White House
East Room
The East Room is the largest room in the White House, the home of the president of the United States. It is used for entertaining, press conferences, ceremonies, and occasionally for a large dinner...

 for 24 hours. On the Sunday after the assassination, his coffin was carried on a horse-drawn caisson
Caisson (military)
A limber is a two-wheeled cart designed to support the trail of an artillery piece, or the stock of a field carriage such as a caisson or traveling forge, allowing it to be towed. A caisson is a two-wheeled cart designed to carry artillery ammunition...

 to the U.S. Capitol
United States Capitol
The United States Capitol is the meeting place of the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States. Located in Washington, D.C., it sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall...

 to lie in state
Lying in state
Lying in state is a term used to describe the tradition in which a coffin is placed on view to allow the public at large to pay their respects to the deceased. It traditionally takes place in the principal government building of a country or city...

. Throughout the day and night, hundreds of thousands lined up to view the guarded casket. Representatives from over 90 countries attended the state funeral on Monday, November 25. After the Requiem Mass at St. Matthew's Cathedral
Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle
The Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington D.C., most commonly known as St. Matthew's Cathedral, is the seat of the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington. As St...

, the late president was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, is a military cemetery in the United States of America, established during the American Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, formerly the estate of the family of Confederate general Robert E. Lee's wife Mary Anna Lee, a great...

 in Virginia.

Recordings of the assassination


No radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 or television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 stations broadcast the assassination live because the area through which the motorcade was traveling was not considered important enough for a live broadcast. Most media crews were not even with the motorcade but were waiting instead at the Dallas Trade Mart in anticipation of Kennedy's arrival. Those members of the media who were with the motorcade were riding at the rear of the procession.

The Dallas police were recording their radio transmissions over two channels. A frequency designated as Channel One was used for routine police communications. A second channel, designated Channel Two, was an auxiliary channel, which was dedicated to the president's motorcade. Up until the time of the assassination, most of the broadcasts on this channel consisted of Police Chief Jesse Curry's announcements of the location of the motorcade as it wound through the streets of Dallas.
President Kennedy's last seconds traveling through Dealey Plaza were recorded on silent 8 mm film
8 mm film
8 mm film is a motion picture film format in which the filmstrip is eight millimeters wide. It exists in two main versions: the original standard 8mm film, also known as regular 8 mm or Double 8 mm, and Super 8...

 for the 26.6 seconds before, during, and immediately following the assassination. This famous film footage was taken by garment manufacturer and amateur cameraman Abraham Zapruder
Abraham Zapruder
Abraham Zapruder was an American manufacturer of women's clothing. He was filming with a home-movie camera as U.S. President John F...

, in what became known as the Zapruder film
Zapruder film
The Zapruder film is a silent, color motion picture sequence shot by private citizen Abraham Zapruder with a home-movie camera, asU.S. President John F...

. Frame enlargements from the Zapruder film were published by Life magazine
Life (magazine)
Life generally refers to three American magazines:*A humor and general interest magazine published from 1883 to 1936. Time founder Henry Luce bought the magazine in 1936 solely so that he could acquire the rights to its name....

 shortly after the assassination. The footage was first shown publicly as a film at the trial of Clay Shaw
Trial of Clay Shaw
On March 1, 1967, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison arrested and charged New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw with conspiring to assassinate President Kennedy, with the help of Lee Harvey Oswald, David Ferrie, and others. On January 29, 1969, Shaw was brought to trial in Orleans Parish...

 in 1969, and on television in 1975. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, an arbitration panel ordered the US government to pay $615,384 per second of film to Zapruder's heirs for giving the film to the National Archives. The complete film, which lasts for 26 seconds, was valued at $16 million.

Zapruder was not the only person who photographed at least part of the assassination; a total of 32 photographers were in Dealey Plaza. Amateur movies taken by Orville Nix
Orville Nix
Orville Orhel Nix was a witness to the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963...

, Marie Muchmore
Marie Muchmore
Marie M. Muchmore was one of the witnesses to the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. A color 8 mm film that Muchmore photographed is one of the primary documents of the Kennedy assassination...

 (shown on television in New York on November 26, 1963), and Charles Bronson (not the actor
Charles Bronson
Charles Bronson , born Charles Dennis Buchinsky was an American actor, best-known for such films as Once Upon a Time in the West, The Magnificent Seven, The Dirty Dozen, The Great Escape, Rider on the Rain, The Mechanic, and the popular Death Wish series...

) captured the fatal shot, although at a greater distance than Zapruder. Other motion picture films were taken in Dealey Plaza at or around the time of the shooting by Robert Hughes, F. Mark Bell, Elsie Dorman, John Martin Jr., Patsy Paschall, Tina Towner, James Underwood, Dave Wiegman, Mal Couch
Mal Couch
Malcom Ollie Couch, Jr. was the founder and president of the Tyndale Theological Seminary. He is also an author of many books, and has written 40 documentaries on Bible prophecies and biblical issues....

, Thomas Atkins, and an unknown woman in a blue dress on the south side of Elm Street. Still photos were taken by Phillip Willis
Phillip Willis
Phillip LaFrance Willis was a close witness to the assassination of President Kennedy....

, Mary Moorman
Mary Moorman
Mary Ann Moorman was a witness to the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. She is best known for her photograph capturing the presidential limousine a fraction of a second after the fatal shot.-Biography:...

, Hugh W. Betzner Jr., Wilma Bond, Robert Croft, and many others. The lone professional photographer in Dealey Plaza who was not in the press cars was Ike Altgens
Ike Altgens
James William "Ike" Altgens was an American photographer and field reporter for the Associated Press. Based in Dallas, Texas, in 1963, Altgens took arguably the most famous photograph of the in-progress assassination of President John F...

, photo editor for the Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 in Dallas.

An unidentified woman, nicknamed the Babushka Lady
Babushka lady
In the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Babushka Lady is a nickname for an unknown woman who might have photographed the events that occurred in Dallas' Dealey Plaza at the time President John F. Kennedy was shot...

 by researchers, might have been filming the presidential motorcade during the assassination. She was seen apparently doing so on film and in photographs taken by the others.

Previously unknown color footage filmed on the assassination day by George Jefferies was released on February 20, 2007 by the Sixth Floor Museum, Dallas, Texas. The film does not include depiction of the actual shooting, having been taken roughly 90 seconds beforehand and a couple of blocks away. The only detail relevant to the investigation of the assassination is a clear view of Kennedy's bunched suit jacket, just below the collar, which has led to different calculations about how low in the back Kennedy was first shot (see discussion above).

Dallas Police


After arresting Oswald and collecting physical evidence at the crime scenes, the Dallas Police held Oswald at the police headquarters for interrogation. Oswald was questioned all afternoon about both the Tippit shooting and the assassination of the President. He was questioned intermittently for approximately 12 hours between 2:30 p.m., on November 22, and 11 a.m., on November 24. Throughout this interrogation Oswald denied any involvement with either the assassination of President Kennedy or the murder of Patrolman Tippit. Captain Fritz of the homicide and robbery bureau did most of the questioning, keeping only rudimentary notes. Days later he wrote a report of the interrogation from notes he made afterwards. There were no stenographic or tape recordings. Representatives of other law enforcement agencies were also present, including the FBI and the Secret Service, and occasionally participated in the questioning. Several of the FBI agents present wrote contemporaneous reports of the interrogation.

During the evening of November 22, the Dallas Police Department performed paraffin
Paraffin
In chemistry, paraffin is a term that can be used synonymously with "alkane", indicating hydrocarbons with the general formula CnH2n+2. Paraffin wax refers to a mixture of alkanes that falls within the 20 ≤ n ≤ 40 range; they are found in the solid state at room temperature and begin to enter the...

 tests on Oswald's hands and right cheek in an apparent effort to determine, by means of a scientific test, whether Oswald had recently fired a weapon. The results were positive for the hands and negative for the right cheek. However, because of the unreliability of these tests, the Warren Commission did not rely on the results of the test in making their findings.

Oswald provided little information during his questioning. Frequently, however, he was confronted with evidence which he could not explain, and he resorted to statements which were found to be false. Dallas authorities were not able to complete their investigation into the assassination of Kennedy because of interruptions from the FBI and the murder of Oswald by Jack Ruby
Jack Ruby
Jacob Leon Rubenstein , who legally changed his name to Jack Leon Ruby in 1947, was convicted of the November 24, 1963 murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy. Ruby, who was originally from Chicago, Illinois, was then a nightclub operator in Dallas, Texas...

.

FBI investigation


The FBI was the first authority to complete an investigation. On November 24, 1963, just hours after Oswald was fatally shot, FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover
J. Edgar Hoover
John Edgar Hoover was the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States. Appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation—predecessor to the FBI—in 1924, he was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, where he remained director until his death in 1972...

, said that he wanted "something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin
Assassination
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

." On December 9, 1963, only 17 days after the assassination, the FBI report was issued and given to the Warren Commission. Then, the FBI stayed on as the primary investigating authority for the commission.

The FBI stated that only three bullets were fired during the Kennedy assassination; the Warren Commission agreed with the FBI investigation that only three shots were fired but disagreed with the FBI report on which shots hit Kennedy and which hit Governor Connally. The FBI report claimed that the first shot hit President Kennedy, the second shot hit Governor Connally, and the third shot hit Kennedy in the head, killing him. In contrast, the Warren Commission concluded that one of the three shots missed, one of the shots hit Kennedy and then struck Connally, and a third shot struck Kennedy in the head, killing him.

Criticism of FBI


The FBI's murder investigation was reviewed by the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1979. The congressional Committee concluded:

  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation adequately investigated Lee Harvey Oswald prior to the assassination and properly evaluated the evidence it possessed to assess his potential to endanger the public safety in a national emergency.
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a thorough and professional investigation into the responsibility of Lee Harvey Oswald for the assassination.
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation failed to investigate adequately the possibility of a conspiracy to assassinate the President.
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation was deficient in its sharing of information with other agencies and departments.

Criticism of Secret Service


Sgt. Davis, of the Dallas Police Department, believed he had prepared stringent security precautions, in an attempt to prevent demonstrations like those marking the Adlai Stevenson visit from happening again. The previous month, Stevenson, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, was assaulted by an anti-UN demonstrator. But Winston Lawson of the Secret Service, who was in charge of the planning, told the Dallas Police not to assign its usual squad of experienced homicide detectives to follow immediately behind the President's car. This police protection was routine for both visiting presidents and for motorcades of other visiting dignitaries. Police Chief Jesse Curry
Jesse Curry
Jesse Edward Curry was chief of the Dallas Police Department at the time John F. Kennedy was assassinated while traveling through a motorcade in downtown Dallas, and his alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was gunned down by Jack Ruby while Oswald was in police custody.As he was to recount in his...

 later testified that had his men been in place, they might have been able to stop Oswald before he fired a second shot, because they carried submachine guns and rifles.

Warren Commission




The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, known unofficially as the Warren Commission, was established on November 29, 1963, by Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

 to investigate the assassination. Its 888-page final report was presented to President Johnson on September 24, 1964, and made public three days later. It concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald
Lee Harvey Oswald
Lee Harvey Oswald was, according to four government investigations,These were investigations by: the Federal Bureau of Investigation , the Warren Commission , the House Select Committee on Assassinations , and the Dallas Police Department. the sniper who assassinated John F...

 acted alone in the killing of Kennedy and the wounding of Texas Governor
Governor of Texas
The governor of Texas is the head of the executive branch of Texas's government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Texas Legislature, and to convene the legislature...

 John Connally
John Connally
John Bowden Connally, Jr. , was an influential American politician, serving as the 39th governor of Texas, Secretary of the Navy under President John F. Kennedy, and as Secretary of the Treasury under President Richard M. Nixon. While he was Governor in 1963, Connally was a passenger in the car in...

, and that Jack Ruby
Jack Ruby
Jacob Leon Rubenstein , who legally changed his name to Jack Leon Ruby in 1947, was convicted of the November 24, 1963 murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy. Ruby, who was originally from Chicago, Illinois, was then a nightclub operator in Dallas, Texas...

 acted alone in the murder of Oswald. The Commission's findings have since proven controversial and been both challenged and supported by later studies.

The Commission took its unofficial name—the Warren Commission—from its chairman, Chief Justice
Chief Justice of the United States
The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the United States federal court system and the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Chief Justice is one of nine Supreme Court justices; the other eight are the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States...

 Earl Warren
Earl Warren
Earl Warren was the 14th Chief Justice of the United States.He is known for the sweeping decisions of the Warren Court, which ended school segregation and transformed many areas of American law, especially regarding the rights of the accused, ending public-school-sponsored prayer, and requiring...

. According to published transcripts of Johnson's presidential phone conversations, some major officials were opposed to forming such a commission, and several commission members took part only with extreme reluctance. One of their chief reservations was that a commission would ultimately create more controversy than consensus, and those fears proved valid. The Commissions were printed off at Doubleday book publishing company located in Smithsburg, Maryland
Smithsburg, Maryland
Smithsburg is a town in Washington County, Maryland, United States. Its population was 2,146 at the 2000 census and latest 2008 estimates are at 2,908. Smithsburg is close to Fort Ritchie army base and just west of the presidential retreat Camp David....

.

Ramsey Clark Panel


In 1968, a panel of four medical experts appointed by Attorney General
United States Attorney General
The United States Attorney General is the head of the United States Department of Justice concerned with legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States government. The attorney general is considered to be the chief lawyer of the U.S. government...

 Ramsey Clark
Ramsey Clark
William Ramsey Clark is an American lawyer, activist and former public official. He worked for the U.S. Department of Justice, which included service as United States Attorney General from 1967 to 1969, under President Lyndon B. Johnson...

 met in Washington, D.C. to examine various photographs, X-ray films, documents, and other evidence pertaining to the death of President Kennedy. The Clark Panel determined that Kennedy was struck by two bullets fired from above and behind him, one of which traversed the base of the neck on the right side without striking bone and the other of which entered the skull from behind and destroyed its upper right side.

Rockefeller Commission


The U.S. President's Commission on CIA activities within the United States was set up under President Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

 in 1975 to investigate the activities of the CIA
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 within the United States. The commission was led by Vice President Nelson Rockefeller
Nelson Rockefeller
Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller was the 41st Vice President of the United States , serving under President Gerald Ford, and the 49th Governor of New York , as well as serving the Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower administrations in a variety of positions...

, and is sometimes referred to as the Rockefeller Commission.

Part of the commission's work dealt with the Kennedy assassination, specifically the head snap as seen in the Zapruder film
Zapruder film
The Zapruder film is a silent, color motion picture sequence shot by private citizen Abraham Zapruder with a home-movie camera, asU.S. President John F...

 (first shown to the general public in 1975), and the possible presence of E. Howard Hunt
E. Howard Hunt
Everette Howard Hunt, Jr. was an American intelligence officer and writer. Hunt served for many years as a CIA officer. Hunt, with G...

 and Frank Sturgis
Frank Sturgis
Frank Anthony Sturgis , born Frank Angelo Fiorini, was one of the Watergate burglars.-Early Life and Military Service:...

 in Dallas. The commission concluded that neither Hunt nor Sturgis were in Dallas at the time of the assassination.

Church Committee


Church Committee
Church Committee
The Church Committee is the common term referring to the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church in 1975. A precursor to the U.S...

 is the common term referring to the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a U.S. Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 committee chaired by Senator Frank Church
Frank Church
Frank Forrester Church III was an American lawyer and politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as a United States Senator from Idaho from 1957 to 1981....

, to investigate the illegal intelligence gathering by the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 (FBI) after the Watergate
Watergate scandal
The Watergate scandal was a political scandal during the 1970s in the United States resulting from the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and the Nixon administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement...

 incident. It also investigated the CIA and FBI conduct relating to the JFK assassination.

Their report concluded that the investigation on the assassination by FBI and CIA were fundamentally deficient and the facts which have greatly affected the investigation had not been forwarded to the Warren Commission by the agencies. It also found that the FBI, the agency with primary responsibility on the matter, was ordered by Director Edgar Hoover
J. Edgar Hoover
John Edgar Hoover was the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States. Appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation—predecessor to the FBI—in 1924, he was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, where he remained director until his death in 1972...

 and pressured by unnamed higher government officials to conclude its investigation quickly. The report hinted that there was a possibility that senior officials in both agencies made conscious decisions not to disclose potentially important information.

United States House Select Committee on Assassinations



The United States House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) was established in 1976 to investigate the assassinations of Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. and the shooting of Governor George Wallace
George Wallace
George Corley Wallace, Jr. was the 45th Governor of Alabama, serving four terms: 1963–1967, 1971–1979 and 1983–1987. "The most influential loser" in 20th-century U.S. politics, according to biographers Dan T. Carter and Stephan Lesher, he ran for U.S...

. The Committee investigated until 1978, and in 1979 issued its final report, concluding that President John F. Kennedy was very likely assassinated as a result of a conspiracy
Conspiracy (crime)
In the criminal law, a conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to break the law at some time in the future, and, in some cases, with at least one overt act in furtherance of that agreement...

. However, the committee noted that it believed that the conspiracy did not include the governments of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 or Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

. It also stated it did not believe the conspiracy was organized by any organized crime
Organized crime
Organized crime or criminal organizations are transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for monetary profit. Some criminal organizations, such as terrorist organizations, are...

 group, nor any anti-Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

 group, but that it could not rule out individual members of any of those groups acting together.

The House Select Committee on Assassinations suffered from being conducted mostly in secret, and then issuing a public report with much of its evidence sealed for 50 years under Congressional rules. In 1992, Congress passed legislation to collect and open up all the evidence relating to Kennedy's death, and created the Assassination Records Review Board
Assassination Records Review Board
The Assassination Records Review Board was created as a result of an act passed by the US Congress in 1992, entitled the "President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act." The Act mandated the gathering and release of all US Government records related to the Assassination of John F....

 to further that goal.

Sealing of assassination records


All of the Warren Commission's records were submitted to the National Archives
National Archives and Records Administration
The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent agency of the United States government charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records and with increasing public access to those documents, which comprise the National Archives...

 in 1964. The unpublished portion of those records was initially sealed for 75 years (to 2039) under a general National Archives policy that applied to all federal investigations by the executive branch of government, a period "intended to serve as protection for innocent persons who could otherwise be damaged because of their relationship with participants in the case.” The 75-year rule no longer exists, supplanted by the Freedom of Information Act
Freedom of Information Act (United States)
The Freedom of Information Act is a federal freedom of information law that allows for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States government. The Act defines agency records subject to disclosure, outlines mandatory disclosure...

 of 1966 and the JFK Records Act
President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992
The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, or the JFK Records Act, is a public law passed by the United States Congress, effective October 26, 1992. It directed the National Archives and Records Administration to establish a collection of records to be known as the...

 of 1992. By 1992, 98% of the Warren Commission records had been released to the public. Six years later, at the conclusion of the Assassination Records Review Board
Assassination Records Review Board
The Assassination Records Review Board was created as a result of an act passed by the US Congress in 1992, entitled the "President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act." The Act mandated the gathering and release of all US Government records related to the Assassination of John F....

's work, all Warren Commission records, except those records that contained tax return
Tax return (United States)
Tax returns in the United States are reports filed with the Internal Revenue Service or with the state or local tax collection agency containing information used to calculate income tax or other taxes...

 information, were available to the public with only minor redactions
Sanitization (classified information)
Sanitization is the process of removing sensitive information from a document or other medium, so that it may be distributed to a broader audience. When dealing with classified information, sanitization attempts to reduce the document's classification level, possibly yielding an unclassified...

. The remaining Kennedy assassination related documents are scheduled to be released to the public by 2017, twenty-five years after the passage of the JFK Records Act. The Kennedy autopsy photographs and X-rays were never part of the Warren Commission records and were deeded separately to the National Archives by the Kennedy family in 1966 under restricted conditions.

Several pieces of evidence and documentation are described to have been lost, cleaned, or missing from the original chain of evidence (e.g., limousine cleaned out on November 24, Connally's clothing cleaned and pressed, Oswald's military intelligence file destroyed in 1973, Connally's Stetson hat and shirt sleeve gold cufflink missing).

Jackie Kennedy's blood-splattered pink and navy Chanel suit that she wore on the day of the assassination is in climate controlled storage in the National Archives. Jackie wore the suit for the remainder of the day, stating "I want them to see what they have done to Jack" when asked aboard Air Force One to change into another outfit. Not included in the National Archives are the white gloves and pink pillbox hat she was wearing.

Assassination Records Review Board


The Assassination Records Review Board
Assassination Records Review Board
The Assassination Records Review Board was created as a result of an act passed by the US Congress in 1992, entitled the "President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act." The Act mandated the gathering and release of all US Government records related to the Assassination of John F....

 was not commissioned to make any findings or conclusions. Its purpose was to release documents to the public in order to allow the public to draw its own conclusions. From 1992 until 1998, the Assassination Records Review Board gathered and unsealed about 60,000 documents, consisting of over 4 million pages. All remaining documents are to be released by 2017.

Assassination conspiracy theories


There has long been suspicion of a government cover-up
Cover-up
A cover-up is an attempt, whether successful or not, to conceal evidence of wrong-doing, error, incompetence or other embarrassing information...

 of information about the assassination. There are also many conspiracy theories
Conspiracy theory
A conspiracy theory explains an event as being the result of an alleged plot by a covert group or organization or, more broadly, the idea that important political, social or economic events are the products of secret plots that are largely unknown to the general public.-Usage:The term "conspiracy...

 regarding the assassination that arose soon after his death and continue to be promoted today. Most put forth a criminal conspiracy
Conspiracy (crime)
In the criminal law, a conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to break the law at some time in the future, and, in some cases, with at least one overt act in furtherance of that agreement...

 involving parties as varied as the CIA
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

, the KGB
KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

, the American Mafia
American Mafia
The American Mafia , is an Italian-American criminal society. Much like the Sicilian Mafia, the American Mafia has no formal name and is a secret criminal society. Its members usually refer to it as Cosa Nostra or by its English translation "our thing"...

, the Israeli government
Politics of Israel
The Israeli system of government is based on parliamentary democracy. The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of government and leader of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in the Knesset. The Judiciary is independent of the executive...

, FBI
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 director J. Edgar Hoover
J. Edgar Hoover
John Edgar Hoover was the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States. Appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation—predecessor to the FBI—in 1924, he was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, where he remained director until his death in 1972...

, sitting Vice President
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

 Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

, Cuban President
President of Cuba
--209.174.31.28 18:43, 22 November 2011 The President of Cuba is the Head of state of Cuba. According to the Cuban Constitution of 1976, the President is the chief executive of the Council of State of Cuba...

 Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

, anti-Castro Cuban exile
Cuban exile
The term "Cuban exile" refers to the many Cubans who have sought alternative political or economic conditions outside the island, dating back to the Ten Years' War and the struggle for Cuban independence during the 19th century...

 groups, the Federal Reserve, or some combination of those entities.

Reaction to the assassination


The assassination evoked stunned reactions worldwide. Before the President's death was announced, the first hour after the shooting was a time of great confusion. Taking place during the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, it was at first unclear whether the shooting might be part of a larger attack upon the U.S., and whether Vice-President
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

 Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

, who had been riding two cars behind in the motorcade, was safe.

The news shocked the nation. Men and women wept openly. People gathered in department stores to watch the television coverage, while others prayed. Traffic in some areas came to a halt as the news spread from car to car. Schools across the U.S. dismissed their students early. Anger against Texas and Texans was reported from some individuals. Various Cleveland Browns fans, for example, carried signs at the next Sunday's home game against the Dallas Cowboys decrying the city of Dallas as having "killed the President."

The event left a lasting impression
Flashbulb memory
A flashbulb memory is a highly detailed, exceptionally vivid 'snapshot' of the moment and circumstances in which a piece of surprising and consequential news was heard. Flashbulb memory is an appropriate name for the phenomenon in that it suggests surprise, an indiscriminate illumination, and...

 on many Americans. As with the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

 before it and the September 11, 2001 attacks after it, asking "Where were you when you heard about Kennedy's assassination" would become a common topic of discussion.

Artifacts, museums and locations today


The plane
VC-137C SAM 26000
SAM 26000 was the first of two Boeing VC-137C United States Air Force aircraft specifically configured and maintained for use by the President of the United States. It used the callsign Air Force One when the President was on board, SAM 26000 otherwise.A VC-137C serial number 62-6000, SAM 26000 was...

 serving as Air Force One is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force
National Museum of the United States Air Force
The National Museum of the United States Air Force is the official museum of the United States Air Force located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base northeast of Dayton, Ohio. The NMUSAF is the world's largest and oldest military aviation museum with more than 360 aircraft and missiles on display...

 in Dayton, Ohio where tours of the aircraft are offered including the rear of the aircraft where Kennedy's casket was placed and the location where Mrs. Kennedy
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier "Jackie" Kennedy Onassis was the wife of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, and served as First Lady of the United States during his presidency from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. Five years later she married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle...

 stood in her blood stained pink dress while Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

 was sworn in as president. The 1961 Lincoln Continental limousine
SS-100-X
SS-100-X was the U.S. Secret Service code name for the Presidential limousine used by the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. It is the car that Kennedy was riding in when he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, in 1963...

 is at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

Equipment from the trauma room at Parkland Memorial Hospital
Parkland Memorial Hospital
Parkland Memorial Hospital is a hospital located at 5201 Harry Hines Boulevard, just west of Oak Lawn in Dallas, Texas . It is the main hospital of the Dallas County Hospital District and serves as Dallas County's public hospital.- History :The original hospital opened in 1894 in a wooden...

 where Kennedy was pronounced dead, including a gurney, was purchased by the federal government from the hospital in 1973 and stored by the National Archives at an underground facility in Lenexa, Kansas
Lenexa, Kansas
Lenexa is a city in the central part of Johnson County, located in northeast Kansas, in the central United States of America. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 48,190. As a satellite city of Kansas City, Kansas, Lenexa is included in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area...

. The First Lady's pink suit, the autopsy report and X-rays are stored in the National Archives facility in College Park, Maryland and access is controlled by a representative of the Kennedy family. The rifle used by Oswald, his diary, bullet fragments, and the windshield of Kennedy's limousine are also stored by the Archives. The Lincoln Catafalque
Catafalque
A catafalque is a raised bier, soapbox, or similar platform, often movable, that is used to support the casket, coffin, or body of the deceased during a funeral or memorial service. Following a Roman Catholic Requiem Mass, a catafalque may be used to stand in place of the body at the Absolution of...

, which Kennedy's coffin rested on while he lay in state in the Capitol, is on display at the United States Capitol Visitor Center
United States Capitol Visitor Center
The United States Capitol Visitor Center is a large underground addition to the United States Capitol complex which serves as a gathering point for up to 4,000 tourists and an expansion space for the US Congress. It is located below the East Front of the Capitol and its plaza, between the Capitol...

.

The three acre park within Dealey Plaza
Dealey Plaza
Dealey Plaza , in the historic West End district of downtown Dallas, Texas , is the location of the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963...

, the buildings facing it, the overpass, and a portion of the adjacent railyard including the railroad switching tower were designated part of the Dealey Plaza Historic District by the National Park Service on October 12, 1993. Much of the area is accessible to visitors including the park and grassy knoll. Though still an active city street, the spot where the presidential limousine was located at the time of the shooting is approximately marked with an X on the street. The Texas School Book Depository
Texas School Book Depository
The Texas School Book Depository is the former name of a seven-floor building facing Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas . Located on the northwest corner of Elm and North Houston Streets, at the western end of downtown Dallas, its address is 411 Elm Street. The building is notable for its connection to...

 now draws over 325,000 visitors each year to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza operated by the Dallas County Historical Foundation. There is a re-creation of the sniper’s nest on the sixth floor of the building.

Some items were intentionally destroyed by the U.S. government at the direction of Robert F. Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy
Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy , also referred to by his initials RFK, was an American politician, a Democratic senator from New York, and a noted civil rights activist. An icon of modern American liberalism and member of the Kennedy family, he was a younger brother of President John F...

 such as the casket used to transport Kennedy's body aboard Air Force One from Dallas to Washington which was dropped by the Air Force into the sea in an area which would be dangerous for looters to attempt to retrieve it. Other items such as the hat worn by Jack Ruby the day he shot Lee Harvey Oswald and the toe tag on Oswald's corpse are in the hands of private collectors and have sold for tens of thousands of dollars at auctions.

External links