‘President Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas’

Gov. Connally of Texas also shot by sniper as motorcade moves through city today

November 15, 2013

President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. This is the original account from The Washington Reporter from that day, exactly as it appeared then.

DALLAS (UPI)- President Kennedy was assassinated today in a burst of gunfire in downtown Dallas.

Texas Gov. John Connally was shot down with him.

The President was killed by a bullet in the head while riding in an open car through the streets of Dallas.

His wife was in the same car, but was not hit. She cradled the President in her arms as he was carried to a hospital where he died.

Vice President Lyndon Johnson was in the same motorcade and was immediately surrounded by Secret Service men until he could take the oath of office as president.

The President, his limp body cradled in the arms of his wife, was rushed to Parkland Hospital.

The governor was also taken to Parkland.

Clint Hill, a Secret Service agent assigned to Mrs. Kennedy, said “he’s dead,” as the President was lifted from the rear of a White House touring car, the famous “bubbletop” from Washington. He was rushed to an emergency room in the hospital.

The incident occurred just east of the triple underpass facing a park in downtown Dallas. Connally lay on the floor of the rear seat.

It was impossible to tell at once where Kennedy was hit, but bullet wounds in Connally’s chest were plainly visible, indicating the gunfire might possibly have come from an automatic weapon.

There were three loud bursts.

Dallas motorcycle officers escorting the President quickly leaped from their bikes and raced up a grassy hill.

At the top of the hill, a man and woman appeared huddled on the ground.

In the turmoil, it was impossible to determine at once whether the Secret Service and Dallas police returned the gunfire that struck down Kennedy and Connally.

It was difficult to determine immediately whether the First Lady and Mrs. Connally were injured.

Both women were in the car.

Both women were crouched down over the inert forms of their husbands as the big car raced to the hospital.

Mrs. Kennedy was on her knees on the floor of the rear seat with her head toward the President.

Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was in a car behind the President’s.

There was no immediate sign that he was hurt. In fact, there was no evidence at all at what might have happened to Johnson since only the President’s car and its Secret Service follow-up car went to the hospital.

A screaming motorcycle escort led the cars there.

The President had landed only a short time before at Dallas Love Field and was driving to the trade mart to deliver a luncheon speech organized by three Dallas organizations.

The largest turnout of the current Texas tour was on the streets to greet Kennedy.

At 12:50 p.m. CST, acting White House Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff was asked whether the President was dead.

“I have no word now,” Kilduff replied.

A few minutes later, Rear Am. George Burkley, USN, the White House physician, rushed into the emergency room where President and Connally were taken.

The motorcade was so strung out as the result of the speedy Secret Service departure from the scene of the shooting, that members of the Kennedy staff were from 15 minutes to a half hour behind in reaching the hospital.

It was impossible under the tension at the hospital to assemble a clearcut story of the incident because the burst of gunfire took only seconds.

Some of the Secret Service agents thought the gunfire was from an automatic weapon fired to the right rear of the Chief Executive’s car, probably from the grassy knoll to which motorcycle policemen directed their attention as they raced up the slope.

UPI White House Reporter Merriam Smith was in a radiotelephone “pool” car about eight car lengths behind the President.

He and three other colleagues, along with Kilduff, raced to the hospital behind the President’s car and arrived at the emergency entrance before litters were brought up to remove the President and the governor from their car.

When the President was taken into the emergency room, a call was sent out immediately for some of the top surgical specialists in Dallas.

A call was also sent for a Roman Catholic priest.

Blood was splattered over the limousine, which had been flown in specially to carry the President in a welcoming parade. The driver was Secret Service man Bill Greer.

A second priest was escorted in a few moments later.

At the height of the emergency room drama, a weeping woman bearing a small bloody child rushed into the hospital, where a nurse and an intern went quickly to her side.

Mrs. Kennedy apparently was safe. Mrs. Connally was also safe, it appeared. Both women were stunned.

The Secret Service men, who are constantly at the President’s side, unloosened automatic weapons and drew pistols but it was too late.

The shooting occurred just east of an underpass facing a public park in downtown Dallas.

Moments after the shooting, Kennedy lay slumped over in the back seat of the car, face down. Connally lay on the floor of the rear seat.

There was one report that Kennedy had been wounded in the head, Connally in the chest.

Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy was heard to scream as she reached for her husband.

The President was in Texas on a two-day visit, one of whose purposes was to buck up Democratic presidential strength.

Both wives waited outside the emergency room of the hospital. Anxious members of the White House staff assembled.

The President had landed only a short time before at Dallas Love Field, and was driving to Trade Mart to deliver a luncheon speech.

The streets were lined by crowds, the biggest turnout of the Texas tour.

Both the body and glass bubble of the car are proof against most gunfire, but the top was down so the President could wave to the crowds.

The President, 46 years old, was shot once in the head. Connally was hit in the head and wrist.

Police found a foreign-make rifle. Sheriff’s officers were questioning a young man picked up at the scene.

The President was conscious as he arrived at the hospital. Father Huber from Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church was called, and administered the last rites of the church.

Vice President Johnson, who now becomes president of the United States, was in a car behind the Kennedys and Connallys.

He was sworn into office as soon as possible.

Johnson rushed to the hospital and was whisked away by Secret Servicemen. His hereabouts were being kept secret.

President Kennedy was shot in the right temple.

“It was a simple matter of a bullet right through the head,” said Dr. George Burkley, White House medical officer.

The identity of the assassin or assassins was not immediately known.

Sheriff’s officers took a young man into custody at the scene and questioned him behind closed doors.

A Dallas television reporter said he saw a rifle being withdrawn from a window on the fifth or sixth floor of an office building shortly after the gunfire.

Kennedy was shot at 1:25 p.m. EST. He died at approximately 2 p.m. EST.

As always, the President was surrounded by Secret Service men and had an escort of Dallas motorcycle police.

Gov. Connally was reported in satisfactory condition at the hospital.

Johnson left the hospital moments after he was informed of the President’s death.

Traveling behind a police escort with his wife, Lady Bird, Johnson headed under heavy guard for seclusion somewhere in midtown Dallas.

Presumably, Johnson and his staff will go right to work on plans for taking a formal oath of office to succeed the slain President.



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