The morning of Kennedy’s arrival in Dallas, Oswald kissed his daughters, newborn Audrey and twenty-month-old June goodbye. He left all the money he had, $170, on a dresser, telling his wife Marina to buy whatever she and the children needed. Secretly he left his wedding ring in a teacup.
 
He then drove to the Texas School Book Depository with a co-worker, carrying a package wrapped in brown paper that he said contained curtain rods. By 8 AM, Oswald was at work, fulfilling orders as usual, including the retrieval of books from boxes stored on the sixth floor.
 
At 12:30 in the afternoon, Kennedy’s motorcade, en route from the airport to a business luncheon at the Dallas Trade Mart, turned right onto Houston Street, heading toward the book depository. In the limousine with the president and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy were Texas Governor John Connally and his wife Nellie.
 
In the southeast corner of the sixth floor, Oswald stacked boxes so that he would not be noticed. Then he took the same rifle he’d used to try to assassinate General Edwin Walker seven months before and positioned himself at the open window with a perfect view of the motorcade.
 
The president’s limousine turned left onto Elm Street just in front of the depository. Among the crowds lining the streets, a few noticed a man with a rifle perched in the window of the book depository, but assumed he was there to protect the president. Amid the cheers of the crowd, a loud bang sounded.
 
No one was hit, but hearing the shot, Governor Connally turned to his right. Within three seconds, another shot was fired, and this one hit Kennedy at the base of his neck, passed through him, and hit Connally in the back. “My God!” the governor said. “They’re going to kill us all!”
 
Realizing something was wrong, Jacqueline Kennedy turned toward her husband, but seconds later a third shot hit the president in the back of the head, exploding blood, brain matter, and skull fragments all over the limousine.
 
“They’ve killed my husband,” the first lady was heard to say. “I have his brains in my hand.” She then climbed out of her seat and onto the trunk of the limousine. Meanwhile, Secret Service agent Clint Hill climbed onto the back of the car to protect the first lady. “My God,” she cried, “they have shot his head off.”
 
Acting on tips that shots came from the book depository, police officer Marrion Baker quickly began searching the building with depository supervisor Roy Truly. In the second floor lunchroom, they came across Oswald holding a bottle of Coca-Cola. Baker asked Truly if Oswald was an employee, Truly said yes, and they moved on.
 
Three minutes after the shooting, Oswald exited the depository by the front door, just before police sealed off the building. The rifle left behind on the sixth floor was quickly found, and soon a description of the man spotted in the window during the shooting was broadcast to all area police.
 
Just over an hour after the shooting, Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit spotted Oswald walking through a neighborhood three miles from where the president was shot. He exchanged some words with him through the window of his patrol car.
 
As Tippit got out of his car and approached Oswald with his gun still holstered, Oswald drew his revolver and shot Tippit three times in the chest. Tippit collapsed, then Oswald shot him a final time in the head.
 
There were several witnesses to Tippit’s murder, one of whom believed he heard Oswald mutter, “Poor, dumb cop” as he fled the scene while reloading his gun. Another witness used the patrol car’s radio to call for help.
 
A few blocks away, Oswald ducked into a movie theater without buying a ticket. Spotted by a shoe salesman across the street from the theater, the police were notified of the man’s description and soon surrounded the theater.
 
Oswald was captured at 1:45 PM, sitting by himself during a showing of the movie War Is Hell. “Well, it’s all over now,” he said, before trying to punch a policeman and draw his revolver. He was quickly overpowered and beaten down.
 
Interrogated for hours at police headquarters, Oswald repeatedly denied shooting Tippit or President Kennedy. Confronted with his Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, he denied owning any rifles. Affirming he was a Marxist, he said he had no reason to kill Kennedy, as he would be replaced by someone who would continue his policies.
 
At midnight, Oswald was paraded in front of the press gathered at the police station.  “They've taken me in because of the fact that I lived in the Soviet Union,” Oswald told reporters. “I'm just a patsy.” Posing as a member of the press that night was a local strip club owner named Jacob Rubenstein, better known as Jack Ruby.
 
Distraught over the president’s assassination, Ruby hung around police headquarters all weekend, carrying his .38 caliber revolver in his pocket. On Saturday, he had no chance to get close to Oswald as he was shuttled back and forth between interrogations and police lineups.
 
But on Sunday morning, as Oswald was being lead out of the basement garage of the police headquarters before live TV cameras, the fifty-two-year-old Ruby stepped out of the crowd and shot Oswald in the chest, shouting, “You killed my president, you rat!”
 
The twenty-four-year-old Oswald was soon pronounced dead. Questioned by police about his motive, Ruby said he wanted to spare the first lady the agony of a trial, and later added, “I guess I just had to show the world that a Jew has guts.”
 
After President Kennedy’s autopsy, his brain, several tissue samples, and blood slides were turned over to the Kennedy family. In 1966, they were discovered to be missing. It is likely that they were disposed of by Robert Kennedy so it would not come out that his brother had Addison’s disease and had been taking steroids to treat it.




all images copyright 2103 by Brendan Powell Smith
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