The Assassination of John
F. Kennedy: The Lone
Instructor: M. Villani
Dallas: November 22, 1963
• John F. Kennedy, the 35th
President of the United States, Below is a photo of President
was suffering from low Kennedy and his wife Jackie
approval rates in the American arriving in Dallas earlier in the
South. day on November 22.
• He decided to go on a short tour
of Texas in November 1963 to
try and turn the state’s attitude
towards him around.
• On November 22, President
Kennedy rode in a motorcade
through Dallas, Texas with his
wife, as well as Texas Governor
John Connally and his wife,
The Motorcade’s Route
• The motorcade was set to take a
path through downtown Dallas
to the Trade Mart in order to
give an address at a luncheon at
12:30 PM that day.
• To get to the freeway that
allowed the motorcade to reach
the Trade Mart, it had to drive
through Dealey Plaza, past the
Texas School Book Depository.
• Before the car carrying
Kennedy could make it onto the The path that the motorcade
freeway, tragedy struck Dallas. took through Dealey Plaza.
President Kennedy Is Shot
This grainy image from the • As the Kennedy motorcade
famous Zapruder film shows passed along Elm Street, shots
Kennedy reacting to being hit were fired at the moving
by a bullet. vehicle.
• Mass chaos ensued, as people
who had just been gleeful to see
the President were running in
horror from a gunman.
• No one was sure where the
shots came from, but they were
sure that the President had been
Lee Harvey Oswald
• Born October 18, 1939, Lee
Harvey Oswald was a 24-year-old •
man who, after struggling through
parts of his life in America and
Russia, had settled in Dallas, with a
job at the Texas School Book
• The building for the depository was
located at the corner of Houston
and Elm Streets, where Kennedy’s
motorcade made a left turn.
• Oswald is regarded as the most
likely candidate to be the killer of
John F. Kennedy.
How He Shot Kennedy
• The way that Oswald was able
to set up a shot on Kennedy was
through his job at the
• He snuck a Mannlicher-
Carcano rifle and bullets into
the depository and brought
them to the 6th floor, where he
set up a spot to aim at the car.
• The spot was surrounded by
cardboard boxes and located at
such a place so that Oswald
could point the rifle down Elm
Street towards the motorcade’s
Officers Tippit & McDonald
• After the shooting, Oswald fled
• He came across Dallas police
officer J.D. Tippit, father of
three, who recognized Oswald
from a police description.
• Scared, Oswald shot Tippit with
a .38 caliber revolver, and ran
to the Texas Theater.
• At the theater, he was
apprehended by Officer Nick
McDonald, who was almost
Officer McDonald, later on
the day of the crime.
• Based on reports coming in
throughout the day, as well as
discovered evidence in the
depository, Oswald was
• The police, as well as a great
portion of the media, quickly
assumed Oswald to be the
• Further investigation of
photographs also showed that
the rifle found at the crime
scene (shown at right) belonged
• Lee Harvey Oswald was
officially charged with the Ruby shooting Oswald.
murder of J.D. Tippit, although
speculation raged that he was
the killer of President Kennedy.
• Two days after the assassination
of Kennedy, a Dallas nightclub
owner named Jack Ruby took
matters into his own hands.
• While Oswald was being
moved to a different police
station, Ruby snuck in and shot
him in the stomach, killing him.
• The Warren Commission, led
by Supreme Court Chief Justice
Earl Warren, was a group put
together by the federal
government to officially
investigate the assassination of
John F. Kennedy.
• The results of the report were
published in October 1964,
nearly a year after the killing.
• The report stated that the
Warren Commission found Lee
Harvey Oswald to be the lone
assassin of John F. Kennedy.
Computer Simulation of the Assassination
• The report stated the belief of Below is a created 3D image of
the commission that one or two how the single bullet could
bullets did all of the damage to have potentially hit both men.
President Kennedy as well as
Governor Connally, who
suffered minor injuries.
• Many Americans were skeptical
of the findings.
• The “single-bullet theory” is
one of the most controversial
ideas about the Kennedy
assassination, and is generally
regarded to be untrue.
• Shortly after the fateful day, • Many books and movies have
various conspiracy theories been made touting different
began to surface. conspiracy theories.
• Many Americans believed that
foreigners had a role in the
• Countries such as Russia and
Cuba were not on the best terms
with the U.S., and it was
believed that they had major
political incentives to have
Kennedy dead, such as the Bay
of Pigs incident for Cuba.
• Some witnesses, such as Jean
Hill, from Dealey Plaza on the
day of the crime reported seeing
a “puff of smoke” from the
grassy knoll on the motorcade’s
• Some of those witnesses even
said they were able to see
movement behind a fence.
• This has led to the multiple
gunman theory, the most
commonly accepted theory
about the assassination today.
The House Select Committee
• A 1976 Detroit Free Press poll
found that about 87% of Americans
didn’t believe in the lone gunman
• A second investigative committee,
the House Select, published a
report in 1979 determining the
assassination to be a “probable
• It also came to the conclusion that
there was a 95% chance that a shot
had been fired from the grassy
knoll, based on acoustical evidence
taken from the scene of the crime.
• Dallas resident Abraham
Zapruder famously captured
Kennedy’s assassination on his
Bell & Howell 8mm video
camera (diagram at right). It is
the best and most commonly
used video of the day’s events.
• The video, aside from a portion
where the motorcade goes
behind a standing road sign,
shows the motorcade’s ride
down Elm Street, as well as all
of the shots hitting Kennedy.
The Shot That Killed Kennedy
• It is to be noted that the
Zapruder film had three
“jumps” or shakes in the
• Those who believe in the lone
gunman theory believe that
each shake represents a shot by
Oswald, and the shake is
because of the chilling sound to
• This theory was later tested
through a CBS investigation.
• Originally, researchers of the This image shows where a
Kennedy assassination had potential grassy knoll assassin
come to the determination that, could have shot from, which
based on Oswald’s location in would disprove the lone
relation to the motorcade, he gunman theory.
would have had only 5.5
seconds to take three shots,
making deadly hits unlikely.
• A reevaluation of the scene
proved there to be a timeframe
of 8.5 seconds for Oswald to
shoot, allowing more accurate
shots to be taken.
CBS Testing: Part 1
• For their own investigation of • This proved that it was indeed
the assassination, CBS did possible for Oswald to be a lone
certain tests related to the gunman, as the accuracy
crime. questions were answered with
• One test done was to see if it this CBS test.
was truly possible to make 3
accurate shots with the same Below is a recreated view that
model rifle that Oswald used. Oswald could have had on the
• The results of the test showed 4 motorcade.
of 11 shooters making at least 2
of 3 hits on a moving target,
with one marksman making 3
CBS Testing: Part 2
• A second test, also conducted The image below is a blurry
by CBS, was done to see how frame from the Zapruder film,
close to the shots Abraham inferring that a shot had been
Zapruder’s shakes were. taken.
• Two men were given cameras
similar to Zapruder’s and told
to follow a moving target as
shots were fired at the same
time that Oswald’s shots would
have been fired.
• With each shot, both men
flinched in perfect time to the
jumps on the film, showing that
there were only three shots on
The Bullet’s Path
• Believers of the multiple gunman • However, what is not often
theory use images such as the known is that Kennedy’s
one below to show that it would second row seat was much
have been impossible for higher than Connally’s, as seen
Kennedy and Connally to have below, making it much more
been hit the way they were by likely for bullets to hit them and
just one shooter. cause the injuries they did.
• The Zapruder film’s frame of • They say that because of the
Kennedy’s head exploding is way that Kennedy’s head
the biggest case that believers exploded, to the back and left,
of the multiple gunman theory that there must have been a shot
have to support their claims. from the front.
• However, this is inconclusive,
as many investigators have
stated that despite the way
Kennedy’s head was blown up,
the shot could have come from
either the front or the back of
Why Oswald Did It
• Lee Harvey Oswald was a pro- Oswald handing out pro-Cuba
Castro man, wildly against literature.
American foreign policy under
John F. Kennedy.
• This is a major reason that
people believe Oswald had
incentive to shoot Kennedy,
because Kennedy had tried to
• Lee Harvey Oswald had also
associated with Russia, making
his anti-American sentiments
• Although the multiple gunman This crack in the limousine’s
theory is the most commonly windshield suggests, based on
accepted one in regards to the the crack pattern, that there was
JFK assassination today, it is at least one shot from the front.
still not viable to select it as the
final solution to the case.
• Most of the collected evidence
on the case favors the lone
• Also, most of the testimony of
those who saw the “puff of
smoke” ended up being
generally regarded as
misremembered or wrong.
• Some Americans believe that
Oswald was part of either a federal
or foreign conspiracy to kill
• Some believe that the CIA or FBI
had a role in the killing; others
believe that foreign leaders like
Fidel Castro ordered the
• The classic graphic novel
Watchmen plays with these
theories, “revealing” that JFK was
killed by a government operative.
Since it is a work of fiction,
however, it is not to be regarded as
• Based on the evidence, Lee
Harvey Oswald acted alone in
killing the 35th President of the
United States, John F. Kennedy.
• This determination can be
reached because the evidence
collected in regards to this case
supports that theory over all
• There is not enough evidence to
suggest multiple killers in this
The case of John F. Kennedy’s assassination will most
likely never be solved, but Lee Harvey Oswald will
always be the prime suspect.
Title slide: http://sydwalker.info/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/jfk.jpg
Slide 1: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/dallas01.jpg, http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/
Slide 2: http://knowledgerush.com/wiki_image/6/6b/Dealey-plaza-annotated.png,
Slide 3: http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/november/22/newsid_2451000/2451143.stm,
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Slide 8: http://www.solstice.us/russell/16questions.html,
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Slide 13: http://www.history-matters.com/archive/contents/contents_hsca.htm,
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Slide 16: http://tommcmahon.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/08/27/knoll2.jpg, http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/dealey.htm
Slide 17: http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/images/SOH_1061.jpg
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