JFKThere are only three significant questions left unanswered in the assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy which occurred in Dallas, Texas, on November 22nd, 1963.

First is Lee Harvey Oswald’s motive.

Why’d he do it? We’ll never know for sure because Oswald never confessed and he died two days later, taking that secret to his grave.

Second – where was Oswald going after the assassination?

LHO photoHe left the scene, went home, grabbed his revolver, and was walking south on a Dallas street when intercepted by Officer JD Tippit. Oswald shot Tippit and continued fleeing before getting cornered in a theatre where he attempted to shoot the arresting officers. Clearly he was planning to live another day.

The third question – what happened to the missing bullet?

This can now be reasonably explained, although it’s taken a half century to figure it out.

LHO Rifle -Lt DayEvidence clearly shows that Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots from his 6.5 mm Mannlicher-Carcano rifle which was recovered from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. Conspiracy theorists – give it a rest. Oswald was the trigger man and he acted alone. Not one single piece of evidence exists to refute this because non-events leave no evidence. It never happened any other way than Oswald acting alone.

The problem with the three shot evidence is that only two bullets were recovered. One has never been accounted for.

So what happened to it?

Let’s look at the firearms evidence in the JFK homicide case.

First of all, you have to weigh the ear-witness reports. The vast majority of witnesses stated that three gunshots were heard. Some claimed that one, two, and as many as nine shots were heard, but you’re going to get that variation with the hundreds of people that were present in Dealey Plaza when Kennedy was shot.

JFK Snipers nest 6You’ve got to give credibility to the witnesses who were closest to the muzzle. There were three Texas School Book Depository workers directly below the sixth floor, southeast window (sniper’s nest) where Oswald fired from. They were unshakable and unanimous that three shots rang out.

Their testimony is corroborated (backed-up) by the fact that three expended shell casings were found in the snipers nest. These three casings were forensically matched as being fired from Oswald’s Carcano ‘to the exclusion of all other firearms’ as the categorical term goes.

JFK Cartridges 510What’s clearly telling is the location in which these casings were found and photographed. In all my reading and research, I can’t find any official comment on the meaning of the casing pattern, although it’s obvious when you simply think about it. Two casings are grouped together, and the third is by itself about five feet from where Oswald pulled his trigger.

JFK 3 Cartridges Clear photoTo further understand the significance, you have to know that Oswald piled a small fortress of book boxes around the sniper’s nest to conceal himself, creating a cardboard wall. When he ejected the casings from his bolt action rifle, they flew through the air at a 90 degree angle from the barrel and struck the wall of boxes to Oswald’s right, then ricocheted to rest on the floor.

Hmmm… two were together and one was off by itself. It’s obvious that Oswald’s barrel position changed between the lone cartridge and the group of two.

So how does this explain the missing bullet?

Let’s look at the two shots that were accounted for.

CE399The first bullet that hit Kennedy, known in assassination terminology as The Single Bullet Theory, got him through the back of the shoulder/ base of the neck, exited his throat, then entered Texas Governor John Connally’s back. In a rapidly diminishing velocity, it traversed Connally’s chest, blew out below his right nipple, continued on to smash his wrist, and lodge in Connally’s thigh. It remained intact, as full metal jacket bullets are designed to do when they penetrate soft mediums like cloth and flesh, and was recovered on Connally’s stretcher at Parkland Hospital. This bullet is also known as The Magic Bullet.

JFK CE567The second bullet that hit Kennedy blasted his head apart. It fragmented into multiple pieces, as full metal jackets are designed to do when they hit a hard medium like bone at a high velocity. Less than fifty percent of this round was recovered. By the way, both of these bullets were ballistically linked to being fired from Oswald’s Carcano ‘to the exclusion of all other firearms’.

These two shots were recorded on the famous Zapruder film which shows them occurring 4.88 seconds apart with both trajectories in the same line to the sniper’s nest window.

Ergo. The two tightly grouped casings came from these two shots because the angle of ejection, ricochet, and rest pattern are similar.

So why was the third casing so far apart?

Simple. It was fired from a different angle.

Let’s think this thing out, then look at some more physical and witness evidence.

JFK Houston StIf you were Oswald, intent on shooting the President, would you expose yourself to the eyes-front approach of the motorcade as it approached you from the south on Houston St.?  (Remember, Oswald was unstable, but he was calculating.)  An approaching target, when you’re in a vertical vantage point, is a tough target to hit (Remember, I was a sniper so I know what I’m talking about). It’s common sense that he’d wait until JFK’s limo rounded the corner onto Elm St. and was nearly stopped right in front of him. That’s the most logical time to squeeze-off a shot.

But the two shots that killed JFK happened when the limo was far west of the sniper’s nest and vanishing from Oswald’s sight picture.

So why didn’t he fire when he had the closest opportunity?

Well, he probably did.

The angle of ejection for the lone casing is entirely consistent with Oswald firing it at the first logical opportunity which was when the limo was closest to him and the security eyes were facing away.

So how did he miss?

JFK Traffic LightSimple again. As Oswald was following Kennedy in his cross-hairs, a traffic light came into play. Oswald squeezed off the first round, but it hit the metal housing on the light and fragmented.

jfk traffic light5This accounts for other evidence like where James Tague, a bystander five hundred and twenty feet to the west, was hit in the cheek by a piece of concrete curb that was sent flying by a lead fragment and where Virgie Rachley stated to have seen sparks fly from the pavement behind the limo when the first of three shots were fired. The simplest explanation is that these fragments were from the first, and missing, bullet.

JFK Signal lightEvidence of the strike exists in blowup photos from a Secret Service re-enactment in 1964 where you can see a defect in the traffic light housing. Unfortunately the light was replaced years ago and was never examined.

So, like Occam’s Razor states, the simplest explanation is usually the correct explanation.

To me, it’s obvious that the missing JFK bullet has a simple explanation.


  1. Don Robinson

    Hi Garry –
    Just wondering what your thoughts are regarding the violent backward head snap after the head shot that is clearly seen in the Zapruder film. Occam’s razor as well as Newton’s second law of motion would seem to indicate that the shot came from the right front, i.e., the grassy knoll.

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      Hi, Don and thanks for commenting. You have a very valid question which, on the surface, seems logical to question if the shot at Z313 came from the front right and the reactions seen in Z314-320 were a push back from a frontal impact. This has been extensively studied and the answer is that the motion is a neurological reaction combined with an aerodynamic force working against the body. Ken Rahn is a physicist who made a detailed explanation about the mechanics of the head shot. Here’s the link:

      In an enlarged look at the frame by frame stills, there is an obvious but slight forward movement of JFK’s head right at impact between Z313-Z314. This is consistent with a high-velocity bullet strike from the rear – the head was, in fact, pushed forward first and then he reacted by moving “back and to the left”.

      Something to keep in mind when making sense of the JFK assassination is the preponderance of the evidence as a whole and the lack of anything to support a frontal gunshot. There was absolutely no physical evidence of a frontal shot. Using the head snap as “evidence” is only an opinion of interpretation – it’s not the truth. The real evidence about the head shot is that a bullet entry wound with interior beveling was found in the back of JFK’s skull and the exit wound was in the right front. The bullet fragments that came from that wound were found forward in the limousine and they were 100% matched to Oswald’s rifle which was behind in the TSBD. It’s just as simple as that.

      1. Don Robinson

        Hi Garry –
        Much of the evidence for a shot from the rear is based on the apparent sudden forward movement of the head just before the backward snap. This, in turn, is based on the veracity of the Zapruder film. It’s true that the forward motion could be caused by a shot from the rear, but it could also be accounted for if frames had been removed from the film just before Z-313. There are other instances in the film of movements by people that seem much faster than would be possible, which could also be best explained by frames being removed. Film alteration may seem like tinfoil hat territory to many people, but a lot of research has been published on this subject and should be given due consideration. Doug Horne, a ranking member of the Assassinations Records Review Board, has shown that there are serious problems with the chain on custody of the film and the gaps in this chain could certainly allow for alteration.

        Anyway, it’s refreshing to see forums like the ones you run here where there are no flame wars of personal insults. Keep up the good work.

      2. Dick

        Hi Gary,

        First of all, thanks for the mathematical break down. I’m not great at math but I still was able to follow the gist of what you layed out.

        I always thought the heads snapping back as a result of a combination of two things. First, and it sounds a little gross, is that the tremendous amount of energy plus the expelled mass from the front of the head would create A “jet” like effect. Just as a rocket expels hot gases to propel itself in the opposite direction.

        And second, due to muscular and neurological reactions. Especially since the president was wearing a back brace and suffered fromunusual physical conditions which may have contributed to the body reaction of being pushed back.

        1. Garry Rodgers Post author

          Thanks for your comment, Dick. It’s nice to hear from someone who uses reason compared to some of the conspiracy theorists that show up here. 🙂

      3. Billy Joe Roe

        I have a slightly different analysis regarding the reactions of head shot based on my basic but admittedly limited understanding of mechanics.You certainly have more experience in these matters but I thought I would offer my largely intuitive analysis. The president can be seen leaning forward and to his left after being hit by a bullet that entered his back and exited out his throat before striking Connolly. His head is turned somewhat left and is pointed downward with his chin nearly touching his chest. An off-center shot from the TSBD would be expected to force his head immediately downward with his neck acting as a pivot point. Being struck any even slightly to the right would result in some leftward movement as with a billiard ball. The chin would be forced down into his chest but bounce backwards from the kinetic energy. The bullets energy would not be expected to overcome the weight of his seated position and skeletal structure with legs fin front that would all act to resist forward movement and his head would bounce back and left from the combination of forces. His back brace may also have been a factor in limiting more crumpling. The forward head movement is quite evident in the film to be a pivoting motion. The forward movement captured on the film may not have been the extreme limits since the camera frame rate of 18.3 frames per second may not have coincided with the maximum movement (likely imo). The effect can be imagined simply when considering a ball attached with a spring to a heavy weight like a bag of oats. When the ball is first struck with sufficient force (baseball bat?) it would move in the direction of the force but bounce back. Sit down in a comfy chair and place your head in a similar position to what the Presidents appears at frame 212 and it should be clear. The forward motion can really only be observed when comparing frames 312 and 313 so many observers only see the back and to the left motion.

        1. Garry Rodgers Post author

          There’s sure been a pile of discussion over the force reactions from the head shot. I’ve read so many arm-chair opinions about how the reactions fit or don’t fit with the obvious fact that JFK was hit in the back of the head by a bullet fired by Oswald. The reality is that what’s seen on Z312, 313 and on is exactly what happened. From there, the science can be explained by those knowledgeable enough to understand it. The best guy is Larry Sturdivan who wrote The JFK Myths and he explains the energy transfer and neurological reactions clearly. As he puts it, the energy expended by the bullet was exactly sufficient to move the head slightly forward as seen between 313/314 and then the “back and to the left” was a natural physiological reaction from someone whose central nervous system was unplugged.

          Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Billy Joe. I appreciate sensible people talking about the JFK murder. You wouldn’t believe how many CT nutcases I vet who try to comment on this site.

  2. Mark

    After all of these years, and why I have felt as theories grew in number and complexity, it usually is ALWAYS the opposite: Human nature in its pure, simple form, with simple reasons and explanations.

    Any research as to the traffic signal light/frame eventual location? Cities dump these, and sometimes place in city-managed dumping grounds for possible re-use.

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      Hi, Mark – You’re evoking Occam’s Razor where the simplest explanation is usually correct. The JFK Assassination is a classic case of evoking Occam – one lone nut, one rifle, three shots, a dead president, and a change of history. Nothing more complicated than that. As for the original traffic light – it looks like it was changed out, discarded, and lost forever. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Gerry Simone

    With all due respect Mr. Rodgers, James Tague’s final testimony was that he was struck by the 2nd bullet, not the 1st, as Max Holland’s scenario involving the traffic light is based. Also, there are no witness reports that anybody heard or saw this happen (you’d think that someone would’ve heard a metal ping as well as swaying of the fixture). David Von Pein also provides evidence that the hole in the traffic light was not considered to have been made by a bullet based on a study.

    Even if this happened, there’s the difficulty of a fragment reaching James Tague over 400 feet away (the Warren Commission found it unlikely that even a fragment from the head shot could reach or deflect to mark the curb and/or hit James Tague, which is from a shorter distance than a first shot miss).

    I also disagree with many of your other points but thank you for this opportunity to comment on just one aspect you raised.

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      Gerry – Read Tague’s WC testimony – What’s really sad about you conspiracy theorists is that you so want there to be something other than the simple and truthful situation of Oswald acting alone and shooting Kennedy (no matter how you dissect the shots) so you dismiss or distort the facts. It’s 53 years now – time to grow up and accept that there was no conspiracy.

  4. Gary Simon

    Garry, frame 313 of the Zapruder film, has what seems to be a dramatic sunlit flare…perhaps the
    track of a bullet, or the sunlit reflection of a bullet, appearing over Jackie Kennedy’s head, emanating
    from 1:00PM in the frame directly to the President’s head. If it were the track of a bullet, it would seem
    to be coming from the opposite side of Elm Street, opposite the grassy knoll (i.e. from the direction of Main Street). But, I’ve seen discussion, in the literature, that this is a light flare resulting from a bullet (or fragment of a bullet) hitting the windshield…but the light phenomenon seems to exhibit direction, starting from the top of the frame, heading directly to the President’s head, coinciding with, or a bit prior to, the head shot impact of the third shot from the TSBD. Have you seen this, and know what it is?

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      Hi Gary, To the best of interpretations, what’s being seen here is portions of JFK’s skull bone that were blown off by the force of the bullet impact. You see them first appear in Z313 and then have moved away in Z314. There might also be a bit of freeze-frame distortion happening as the Zapruder film was shot at 18 frames per second and this impact happened in a lot less than 1/18 of a second. It certainly is not a bullet path and the evidence is 100% conclusive that only one bullet hit JFK in the head and that it came from Oswald’s 6.5mm Carcano that was fired from the TSBD. Here are enhanced versions of Z-Frames 313 and 314. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Bob King

    I have always wondered why the Virgie Rachley testimony about seeing sparks behind the limo early in the assassination sequence has not been given more currency. Seeing sparks on the pavement that coincided with the first explosive sound is not likely to be something she imagined or invented. Plus, a bullet (or part of a bullet) striking pavement would give off a different sound that would explain why MANY witnesses took the first shot to be a firecracker.

    Placing the first shot much earlier in the assassination sequence gives Oswald more time to operate the bolt action and take fresh aim twice. And it is easy to see how the shots get easier as the sequence progresses. In the first shot, Oswald has to hit a target that is moving from left to right across his field of vision, and at very close range as seen through a sniper scope. Not surprising that he could have missed (although I agree an intervening obstruction might have been required for him to miss the limousine entirely). By the third shot, the limo is moving directly away from Oswald, making JFK appear to be a stationary target in the crosshairs.

    Secondly, as I understand it, Gov. Connally showed many people the bullet scar under his shoulder blade, and that it was oblong as opposed to circular. This alone tends to corroborate a tumbling bullet having just exited JFK’s throat. I don’t see this fact highlighted nearly enough.

    It’s ironic that the Warren Commission, whose purpose was to calm the conspiracy hysteria, did the exact opposite. While they got the big things right (two lone nuts, single-bullet theory), they got enough things wrong (sequence of the shots) that the effect was more questions raised than answered. And we see with hindsight that the WC did not get the benefit of everything known by the FBI and the CIA, for internal ass-covering reasons.

    Finally, the failure to get a Dallas County autopsy was a key element in the conspiracy theories that linger today. Looking back, I don’t see why Dr. Earl Rose wasn’t dispatched to fly back to DC with the body to a) maintain the chain of evidence and b) participate in the Bethesda autopsy. Seems that would have been an elegant solution to the brouhaha at Parkland.

    Thanks for the great post and the original thinking.

    Bob King
    New Braunfels, Texas

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      Hi Bob – Thanks for the rational, well-thought-out comment. That’s a very good point about Earl Rose not being taken back to DC. In all my researching I’ve never heard if this was optioned and looking at it, it would have made perfect sense. I suspect that the whole Kennedy team was in such distress that foresight such as this wasn’t in the picture.

      I’ve been meaning to do a blog post on the Single Bullet Theory (should be Single Bullet Fact). It’s so simple when you think about it with an open mind and there is no other rational explanation. Also, Connally’s wound descriptions were clearly described by the doctors who operated on him and are entirely consistent with a tumbling bullet.

      I think the biggest failure of the Warren Commission was to stack it with lawyers and politicians rather than with forensic expertise. But, in the end, they got it right and their conclusion will stand the test of time.

      Thanks for stopping by, Bob. It’s nice to have someone intelligent respond to a JFK post. You should see some of the idiotic, almost visceral comments that I get here from conspiracy theorists. I just trash them and move on.

      1. Billy Joe Roe

        I recall reading that one of the Secret Service Agents (Kellerman?) did offer to have a Dallas doctor (Coroner?) to accompany them back to Washington and remain with the Presidents body. This was as they were “negotiating” at Parkland Hospital when told the body could not leave. The offer was rejected and the agents ultimately muscled their way out.

        1. Garry Rodgers Post author

          There’s some truth to this as I understand. I read an account from Secret Service Agent Roy Kellerman that the SS was blocked by Parkland pathologist Dr. Earl Rose who also had coroner power. Rose demanded he do an autopsy at Parkland as the law dictated. Kellerman phoned Dallas DA Henry Wade to get authority to take JFK’s body back to Washington and avoid the time of a Dallas autopsy. Wade informed Kellerman it was illegal under Texas law to remove a body from the state without a coroner’s consent. Kellerman asked what the punishment was. Wade said there was a $100 fine. Apparently, Kenny O’Donnell whipped out a hundred bucks and gave it to Rose, saying “Here you go.” The SS then did force their way past Rose and technically stole Kennedy’s body. I can sure see it happening.

      2. Billy Joe Roe

        They got most of it right but in it’s written report, the Warren Commission failed to agree on the SBT and left it unresolved, deciding it was unnecessary for them to make that determination (some members would not accept it). I find Dale Myers computer animation analysis of the single bullet model to be the clearest explanation of the three shots. As you say, it really seems remarkably simple. But it is understandable how people could initially assume that the President and Governor Connolly had been struck by separate bullets especially given Governor Connolly’s account. But it just seems so clear in the Zapruder film that JFK and Connolly are struck at frame 224 that it is difficult for me to understand how they couldn’t recognize that. I presume that they were often looking more at still blowups as opposed to focusing on the film. Did they have a first generation copy? The digital HD version now available to the public has made it much easier to give closer detailed analysis to anyone who is interested. I believe the Commission had already begun it’s hearings before the single bullet theory had even been suggested. I do expect there was some pressure on investigators to arrive at a predetermined result pushed by Hoover who IMO was likely aware of the threat Oswald might pose to the President.

        1. Garry Rodgers Post author

          I’m with you about how the WC members struggled with the SBT. A main flaw in the WC was they didn’t employ many forensic people to interpret evidence or properly x-exam expert witnesses and allow them to expand on how their opinions of the ballistic dynamics. Dale Myers has the best presentation of how the Single Bullet Fact worked. Another credible publication is The JFK Myths by Larry Sturdivan who gave the ballistic evidence at the 1978 HSCA hearings. As for Oswald being on the FBI radar for a JFK threat, I don’t see any evidence it was there. I’m, sure Hoover never heard of LHO till his arrest.

  6. Jack

    Enjoyed reading your informative website, Mr. Rodgers, though we disagree on what really happened on that fateful day in November, 1963. Best regards to you.

  7. John Corbett


    I came across your blog while googling for some other information regarding the JFK assassination. For the most part, I am very impressed by your analyis, although I am not completely sold on your belief the first shot hit the traffic light. It is a reasonable possibility but just one such possibility. I do disagree with a statement you made in reply to Brian when you wrote, “I still have a problem on how LHO could have completely missed that monstrous target of the limo from that distance (approx 75-80′) while he struck JFK accurately from 189′ on the second shot and 265 on the third. “. If Oswald’s target was the limo he would have had no trouble hitting it but it’s safe to say he was not trying to shoot the limo. He was trying to shoot the guy on the extreme right hand side of the limo and if that shot missed slightly to the right of his intended target, the bullet would completely miss the limo. I do agree that that first nearly vertical shot would have been the most difficult for reasons you alluded to. It would have been made even more difficult by the fact he was firing out the bottom of a window with a very low sill and to get the proper verticality for that shot, he likely would have had to rise up out of the kneeling position he probably assumed for the subsequent shots. This would also effectively make the boxes he stacked for a rifle rest useless for that purpose. On top of that he would have been trying to track his target as it made a 110 degree turn from Houston on to Elm and he might also have rushed that first shot trying to squeeze off a round before his target disappeared under the tree. With all the factors working against him, it’s easy to understand why he might have missed that first shot whether or not that shot hit an intervening obstruction.

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      Hi John. Thanks for your respectful comment. You’re right about the theory of the traffic light. It is only a theory, but it’s the best one that I’ve heard. I’ll agree with you that LHO was not trying to hit the limo – he was trying to hit JFK who just happened to be in the limo. The barrel angle of the first shot – assuming that it was done just after the limo rounded the 110 degree turn – would have been steep and likely would have been done from a higher than kneeling position. There are a number of video re-enactments which demonstrate this, however there was certainly enough window opening to allow a sight picture from a higher shooting position. I disagree, though, with your statement “that a shot missed slightly to the right of his intended target, the bullet would completely miss the limo.” I’ve just looked at the Secret Service re-enactment video & stills which were taken from a camera installed in the sniper’s nest window and it’s clear that if LHO missed slightly to the right, there was still a huge amount of the limo left to strike. Here’s the link to the youtube video The footage to watch is between 15:10 and 15:16. Hope this helps.

    2. Kenneth Scearce

      Garrry, I just subscribed to your excellent blog. Brian Roselle (Brian posted some comments below) and I have a presentation on a theory about the probable timing of the first shot – that it was just a moment before the Zapruder film starts. The theory is very much consistent with your explanation of the significance of the shell pattern. Hope you will read our work – and hope you fund it interesting. BTW I’m in Seattle – but wish I could live in Vancouver!

      Ken Scearce

      1. Garry Rodgers Post author

        Hi Ken & thanks so much for subscribing and for the compliment. I just downloaded your paper and I’m really looking forward to reading this! It sure looks like you & Brian have put your work into this. Be back to you in a bit once I’ve had time to absorb this 🙂

  8. Brian Roselle


    I have also done some looking into the first shot timing and saw your page here while internet searching. I also see a number of other articles on your blog that I will have to look at, they look fascinating.

    Thought you might be interested in one other possible Occam’s razor that I saw for an early first shot, which was simply a near limo miss that impaled into the pavement. The timing for that would likely be ~½ second before the Z film restarted, which was a little after the limo got past the traffic light, but still before the tree. The Tague fragment in this case would have most likely been a fragment from the third bullet (the one you mentioned that >50% of was never found). I described the timing basis for this shot scenario on the page

    Thanks for sharing your research as well as posting all those topics; I’ll try to build up the nerve to read some of them 😉


    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Brian. You’re obviously very knowledgeable on the JFK case. I had a quick look at your analysis and I want to read this carefully before giving my thoughts. Be back in a bit & thanks again. Garry

      1. Garry Rodgers Post author

        Hi again, Brian. I took a good look at your site and your calculations. Good job and a lot of intelligent effort put into it. That’s an excellent composition of the Secret Service recreation, the Dorman film and the Zapruder frames. I highly recommend anyone interested in how the shots happened to check out Brian’s work at I take it you’re from a scientific background and not a conspiracy theorist 🙂

        We’ll never know for sure what happened to the missing first shot. Here’s a few more comments from my point of view. You could be right that the shot missed the limo and hit the pavement and your observations of the bystander reactions support your timing calculations at ‘Z124’. I still have a problem on how LHO could have completely missed that monstrous target of the limo from that distance (approx 75-80′) while he struck JFK accurately from 189′ on the second shot and 265 on the third. I also put weight on Virgie Rachley’s testimony that she saw sparks flying up from ‘behind’ the limo and in the ‘middle of the lane to the left of the limo’. If that were true, that would be a huge miss – also it was pretty close to the motorcycle escort. The sparks would be consistent with a copper jacket strike, which could have been a whole or a fragmented bullet.

        Couple things on the Tague fragment. If it were from the third bullet, the fragmented head shot, the angle of trajectory is puzzling – not from a bird’s eye view, but from an arc. It would have to have cleared the windshield, then travelled about 255′ dropping an elevation of about 11′ to contact the curb. That’s a pretty big curve. The gc/ms examination of the curb ‘smear’ revealed only lead, no copper or antimony, so it had to be from a fragment. Also, the evidence of police office Stavis (Steve) Ellis is very clear that he saw the curb strike right after the first shot, not the other two. Tague, himself, has been all over the map on the timing – He now says that it was the third, but then take into account that he didn’t even realize that he was struck until it was pointed out to him that his cheek was slightly bleeding. Further to the trajectory of the curb strike – if LHO completely missed the limo and his first round struck the pavement and fragmented, then the trajectory would be rather peculiar, again having a pretty big arc in travelling approx 520′.

        I’m not trying to prove you wrong, Brian. Your calculations could well be right. Here’s my take on the timing if the first shot did, in fact, hit the traffic light. I don’t know if you have the Secret Service survey material but it’s really helpful in extrapolating the Z film. In taking the calculated speed and timing of the limo to known points, the estimated Z film point that the limo would have passed the line of sight from the rifle to the traffic light would be as early as ‘Z90’ to as late as ‘Z104’, therefore at 18.3 fps, it was between 1.585 and 2.250 seconds before the Z film started. I’m with you on the second shot striking at Z223 and the head shot at Z313 (duh :). So if my traffic light theory is right, LHO had between 11.42 and 12.186 seconds to pull off two more shots. Piece of cake, as they say.

        1. Brian Roselle


          Thanks for getting back so quick, I realize what I referenced wasn’t the easiest reading. And unlike you, my writing skills have a ways to go!

          You are right in that my background is more of a technical one, and I have mostly looked into the first shot possible timing and have not delved into second or third shot details or other aspects of the case very much.

          I agree with you that examining the possibilities of the source/trajectory of the Tague fragment will lend insight into whether it was from a first shot that missed or a fragment of the third shot, and this data would help define the scenario better. Like you, I think that a fragment coming off the pavement then striking near Tague nearly 500 feet away does not seem the most likely. I have done limited analysis in this area but plan to look into it more, so thanks for providing some of the estimated distances and timing for the traffic light, that will help in comparing that scenario to the other.

          Thanks again in general for posting your thoughts on this subject and quickly reviewing, assimilating, and commenting on the new material. I’ll forward anything else I find that I think may be of interest to you.

          Best Regards,

          1. Garry Rodgers Post author

            It’s a pleasure to have intelligent debates like this on the JFK case, Brian. I’m sure you’ve had your discussions with the tinfoil hat crowd. I always ask the question “Have you read the Warren Report?” Invariably, the answer is “No. It’s all bullshit. Why would I waste my time on that garbage.”

            I’d like to know if you have any thoughts on where Oswald was going after the assassination. No doubt he was planning on living another day and had some sort of intention. In reading Dale Myers book ‘With Malice’ on the Tippit murder, he makes a good case that Oswald was walking towards Tippit on 10th towards Patton, then turned a 180 when he saw the police car approaching. This is likely what raised Tippit’s suspicion. LHO clearly shot Tippit out of self preservation, and then he ran in the same direction he was originally going in – towards the business district.

            My theory – and it’s only a theory – is that LHO was going to do a hold-up. He’d already murdered the President of the United States, so a two-bit robbery would be pretty minor stakes. He only had $13 on him, having given the majority of his cash to Marina the night before, and he probably expected that he’d get caught at the TSBD. So, he was in need of money to do what I suspect was his next step, and that was to catch a bus back to Mexico and try his luck at going to Cuba.

            Any thoughts by anybody out there?

          2. Brian Roselle

            It dawned on me the other day when I was organizing my files that I forgot to send you the Tague curb mark analysis from a third shot fragment I said I planned to look in to. Basically it was a modeling effort where I had to wrestle yucky ballistic equations. The gist of it all is that I could not show it was impossible. There were possible solutions (that in addition I think could be realistic) which could make the missing mass/fragment from z313 work for that scenario. However, although showing it could be possible may be suggestive, it’s not a proof. If interested in the summary it’s at:

            As I do this post I see two other quick comments from previous posts here I’d like to make:
            The link Ken Scearce referenced in his post needed to be relocated. It includes some shot timing history and insight supporting why the first shot occurred before the Zapruder film restarted at z133. It is currently at

            Relative to John Corbett’s comment on missing the limo, you are totally correct that going directly right (in a 3 o’clock direction) at that early limo position would still allow quite a bit of limo to strike. However he may be right about a miss going down and right (45 degrees from horizontal in a 4:30 o’clock direction). In that case it only had to miss by about 3 feet for a “minimum” limo miss (as a length reference, the traffic light was ~3 ft long). I have a small discussion which included this at:

            If you were able to do your presentation at the Conference on Forensic Research & Technology, I hope it all went well and was duly appreciated.
            Thanks and best regards,

          3. Garry Rodgers Post author

            Hi Brian, I have to say that I’m impressed with the depth that you’ve gone to in trying to solve this puzzle. You’re right that this cannot disprove that the Tague fragment came from the Z313 bullet. I have my doubts that a fragment could perform such a radical ballistic arc and still maintain enough kinetic energy to chip the concrete, but concede that it’s possible.

            Moving outside of the scientific realm and getting into that “unreliable” arena of eye-witness evidence, I’d say some weight has to be put on the statement of motorcycle officer Stavis (Steve) Ellis who was riding at the left side of the limo when the first shot occurred. His statement (although not cross-examined and he was never called to give evidence at any of the inquiries) is crystal clear that he saw the debris fly from the Tague curb impact and that it was after the first shot and before the next two. Here’s Ellis’s statement which I got from Ken Rahn’s site:


            I wouldn’t call the Tague strike a red herring (my words) as there’s no doubt that it is part of the Assassination ballistic evidence. That is clear. Whether it came from the missing first shot or the Z313 pieces is the question. The physical exhibit from the “smear” was destructed in the GCMS analysis (indicating only lead with no trace of copper or antimony) and was never subjected to NAA analysis so there’s no molecular fingerprint available to link it such as in 399 and the 842 Connelley wrist fragment or the Z313 groupings.

            I’d sure like to know where the Tague fragment came from. Personally, I highly suspect that it was from the first shot (which we agree was not recorded on the Z film) and the older I get, and the more I now see this whole JFK case more like a parlor game than a murder investigation, the more I apply the law of parsimony (Occam’s Razor) and try to see things in the simplest way. To me, there are only three significant unanswered questions in the entire story:

            1. What happened to the missing bullet?
            2. Where was LHO headed after the assassination?
            3. What was LHO’s real motive?

            At this point, pushing 52 years after the fact, we’ll only ever be able to speculate. Thanks so much for your common sense and diligent look into the facts, Brian. The JFK game needs more people like you! ~ Garry

  9. Peter Mulraney

    Garry, that’s the easy bit, focusing on the physical evidence and following it through to a logical conclusion.
    The bit that interests me when it comes to writing about crime is why people do the things that they do.

    What has always intrigued me about the JFK assassination is why Jack Ruby silenced Oswald.

    It’s when there are no clear answers that we get conspiracy theories because, I suspect, people can’t stand unresolved issues and they make up their own answer. The same reason why it’s important to resolve the tension created in a crime novel -readers want to know who did and why.

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      Hi Peter and thanks for your comment.

      There seems to be several reasons as to why Ruby murdered Oswald, but I’m convinced that there was no conspiracy or even sole intent on Ruby’s part to ‘silence’ Oswald – ie to keep him from talking, because there was nothing to talk about. The facts are clear that Oswald shot Kennedy and that he acted alone in an opportunity that was the product of a number of fateful events that aligned. Therefore, there was no reason for anyone to kill Oswald to silence him Also, there is no known link between Ruby and Oswald, however Jack Ruby had a number of contacts within the Dallas PD because of his nightclub businesses. There’s always been a question if one of the Dallas officers allowed Ruby access to the basement of the PD Headquarters, not for anything sinister – just because Ruby was a regular figure around the police. This was never resolved.

      Ruby gave a number of reasons over the years. He always maintained that it was spontaneous act and that he just wandered into the (poorly secured) police basement to see what was going on, coincidently just at the same time that Oswald was being transferred from the city jail to the county jail. Ruby stated that when he saw Oswald, he ‘snapped’ and shot Oswald to prevent Jackie Kennedy from having to go through the ordeal of a trial. Ruby also stated that he thought he’d be seen as a hero for it and that he wanted to show the world that “a Jew had guts”. (Ruby’s real name was Jacob Rubenstein.)

      These may be seen as self-serving statements, but you have to look at the evidence in its entirely. Ruby was known to have a hot-headed and unstable personality. During the two days between the Kennedy and Oswald shootings, Ruby was noted by many acquaintances to be in a deteriorating state of depression and instability during the Friday night, all day Saturday, and on the Sunday morning. Ruby was definitely at the Dallas police office on the Friday night mingling with the press and cops. The place was a total gong-show for security breaches (something that would never be allowed today). There’s speculation that Ruby was at the police HQ on Saturday, thereby suggesting Ruby was stalking Oswald, but this is virtually eliminated when you closely look at the timeline.

      What occurred on Sunday morning shows that the strands of fate were really what led to Oswald’s death. Oswald was scheduled to be transferred at 9:00 am. This was delayed by a last minute interview with a postal inspector. Ruby was at home doing his laundry. One of his strippers called him requesting that he wire her money from Dallas to Ft. Worth so she could make it to work that night. Ruby had to wait till his laundry was done to get fresh underwear (something he had a fetish about – and this was verified by his roommate) and then drove to the Western Union office in downtown Dallas, which was right across the street from police HQ.

      Ruby took his prized daschounds with him and left them in car, along with a couple thousand dollars cash in the trunk, and went inside to wire $50.00. This was verified by the time stamp on the transfer order at 11:17 am, 24 Nov 1963. Ruby was carrying his .38 revolver as he always did when carrying large amounts of cash (Also, this was Dallas, Texas, in 1963. Everybody carried guns.) Once he finished the transaction, he noticed there was still a large media crowd at the police HQ, so he walked across to see what was going on. (He’d been to HQ many times and was familiar with the layout) Someone told him that they were just about to transfer Oswald. At the same time, the police had an armored truck stuck on the basement ramp and the overhead door was open. Ruby simply walked down the ramp and into the crowd of reporters. The time was 11:21, four minutes after the Western Union time stamp and exactly the time that it would take to cover the distance.

      Now Oswald was also a contributor to the fate of this timing. He had been ready to transfer five minutes earlier, but he delayed the process to change his sweater (to black from a blue – which some feel may have been a symbolic play to the cameras). So the contact between Ruby and Oswald could not possibly have been anything but fate.

      I agree that people hate things to appear unresolved. In my opinion, the Warren Commission did a piss-poor job of selling their findings to the American people. They treated it like a legal judgement that was not appealable and had a pompous attitude ‘How dare anyone question the judgement of America’s men of highest integrity’. The JFK Assassination was a turning point in society’s faith in leadership – partly because it was the first live televised coverage of a major event and partly because the information in the Warren Report wasn’t readily available for thirty-five years until the internet arrived. The Warren Commission got the facts right but they got the resolution totally wrong. It’s no wonder so many people think there was a massive conspiracy, not just to kill JFK, but to silence Oswald


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