John F. Kennedy Assassination

400 Elm St., Dallas, TX 95202

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Quick Facts

Killer(s): Lee Harvey Oswald,

Victim(s): John F. Kennedy,

Written by: Jewls Krueger

About This Location:

On Friday, November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy arrived Dallas Love Field airport via Air Force 1 and got in the back seat of the presidential limousine with his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy. The two were joined by Texas governor John Connally and John Connally's wife who sat in the row of seats in front of the Kennedys. John F. Kennedy was visiting Dallas for several reasons, one of which was to begin re-election efforts for the 1964 presidential election. To garner maximum exposure to crowds, a route was planned for the presidential motorcade to slowly make its way along a 10 mile route in central Dallas. Because one of the goals of the motorcade was to draw large crowds, the route was widely advertised.

At 12:30 p.m. CST, the presidential limo was heading west on Elm St through Dallas' Dealy Plaza. Abraham Zapruder was at Dealy Plaza and was recording the motorcade on silent 8mm film. Suddenly a shot rang out, though most people in Dealy Plaza did not react thinking that it was a firecracker. This bullet went through John F. Kennedy's neck, struck John Connally in the back and was ultimately lodged in John Connally's wrist. In the film from Zapruder, Kennedy appears to hold his hands over his neck in this moment. Two more shots rang out, one hitting John F. Kennedy directly in the back of the head, causing brain matter and blood to explode over the back of the limousine and Jackie Kennedy. Jackie Kennedy immediately reached over the back of the car for secret service agent Clint Hill, who boarded the back of the limousine as it sped off and rerouted to Parkland Memorial Hospital. John F. Kennedy was pronounced dead at 1:00pm CST. John Connally was rushed into surgery and survived.

Police immediately started to question people at Dealy Plaza and discovered that most of them reported the gunshots coming from above them in the direction of the Texas School Book Depository building. A supervisor at the building reported that employee Lee Harvey Oswald was missing, and another employee noted that Oswald had brought a large brown bag into the building that day, saying that it was "curtain rods". A search began for Oswald and he was spotted by police officer J. D. Tippit in the Oak Park neighborhood of Dallas, about 3 miles from Dealy Plaza. After attempting to talk to Oswald, Oswald shot Tippit 4 times with a high power rifle which proved fatal. A few minutes later, a store employee watched Oswald sneak into the Texas Theatre without paying for a ticket. The manager alerted the clerk a the theater who immediately called police. Police entered the theater and apprehended Oswald, who attempted to grab his pistol before he was subdued by officers.

Oswald, who was a high school dropout and Marine veteran, was charged for the murders of John F. Kennedy and officer J. D. Tippit, though he claimed that he was innocent and was only being charged because he had lived in the Soviet Union for a time. Two days later, Oswald was being transferred to the county jail when he was fatally shot by nightclub owner Jack Ruby. Ruby claimed he had killed Oswald to spare Jackie Kennedy from having to go through a trial against Oswald. Jack Ruby was charged with murder and sentenced to death, but died of lung cancer in 1967.

The John Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorial was erected just a few blocks from Dealy plaza in 1970.

Finding the Location

Dealy Plaza is in downtown Dallas, just east of the 35E Freeway. An X has been painted on Elm Street to show the exact location of the presidential limousine when Kennedy was shot. The Texas School Book Depository building is just north of Dealy Plaza, and now houses The Sixth Floor Museum about Kennedy and the assassination. The John Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorial is located just 1 block east of Dealy Plaza on Main St.