Assassination of John F. Kennedy Part 2 Zapruder and the Path of the Bullets

About the assassinaton of United States President John F. Kennedy, history of the event including the Zapruder film and the path the bullets took according to the Warren Commission.

The Victim: JOHN F. KENNEDY, 35th President of the U.S.

The Zapruder film was purchased immediately after the assassination for a large amount of money by Life magazine, but was never released in its full form by that corporation. In 1975, Life returned the film to the Zapruder family. The only copies that exist officially were made for the Secret Service and the FBI. These 2 government copies are locked in the National Archives until the year 2039 by virtue of President Lyndon Johnson's Executive Order 11130. However, in 1967, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison accused a Mr. Clay Shaw of being part of a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy and the FBI copy was subpoenaed as evidence for the ensuing trial. At that time, Garrison obtained the film, copied it, and thus became the source of the film for the many researchers and investigators who now have copies. The film is of even more importance when it is studied in the context of the official report regarding the assassination, the Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, also called the Warren Commission because its chairman was Chief Justice Earl Warren of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Zapruder's camera was running as the President's limousine approached him. Kennedy can be seen waving to the crowd with his right hand. Then he briefly disappears from camera view, as his vehicle moves farther down the street behind a freeway sign. When he emerges from behind the sign in the Zapruder film, his hands are rising, fists clenched, in front of his neck, his elbows pointing to either side of the street. At this moment, he has already been shot once. The 1st bullet entered the President's back approximately 5 1/2" below his collar line.

Another shot is now fired, and the Warren Commission has contended that this 2nd bullet went wild, striking the curb near a spectator named James T. Tague. That bullet sprayed Tague's foot and cheek with chips of concrete from the curb and with fragments of lead.

The Warren Commission also stated that a 3rd bullet was fired, striking Kennedy in the head and killing him. The majority of witnesses agreed that the last shot fired hit Kennedy in the head, although there was much dispute as to the direction from which that bullet came.

It has been the position of the commission that one man, Lee Harvey Oswald, was stationed at the easternmost window on the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building, which is located on Elm Street. It has also been the official government opinion that Oswald acted alone in murdering John F. Kennedy and that there was no conspiracy of any kind behind the crime. A rifle was found on the 6th floor of the building. This 6.5-mm. bolt-action, clip-fed, 1938 Mannlicher-Carcano belonged to Oswald. Keeping in mind the Warren Commission's hypothesis that the 2nd shot went astray near Tague, and that the last bullet was the fatal shot striking the head, only one bullet is left as the cause of all other gunshot damage. Only 3 shots at most could have been fired using this rifle in the 5.6 seconds that elapsed from the last possible moment that Kennedy could have received the 1st wound (when he emerges, hit, from behind the sign in the Zapruder film), to the easily recognizable moment of the last fatal shot to the head (Kennedy reacts violently in the film at the moment of impact).

Sitting directly in front of the President in the Lincoln limousine was Gov. John B. Connally of Texas. He was sitting in one jump seat and his wife, Nellie, was in the jump seat next to him, directly in front of Mrs. Kennedy. Governor Connally was hit in the back, the bullet exiting from the right side of his chest, transiting his right wrist, and lodging in his left thigh. If the Commission is right about the number of bullets, the same bullet that struck Connally must have struck Kennedy 1st. That is to say, the bullet that hit Kennedy in the back would have had to exit from his body and go on to strike Connally.

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