precluded by his own examination, that there was a wound in the back of the President’s neck, and Dr. Shaw said he had heard that there was. Such a fact would ease the befuddlement caused by the difficulty of imagining Mr. Kennedy being shot in the front of the neck by a sniper behind him. BUT THE SUSPICION there just might have been a second sniper was difficult entirely to allay. Some officials knowledgeable about guns agree here that gunpowder smells emanate from a weapon, not from its fired bullets’ place of impact. Sen. Yarborough, who said at Parkland hospital, while wait _ ing for confirmation of the President’s death, that “You could smell powder on our car nearly all the way here,” is a hunter and ran with a gun as a boy in the East Texas woods. Oswald and his rifle were reportedly six stories high and perhaps 75 yards behind the President’s car at the time of the shooting. Yarborough’ was in the third car of the motorcade, with then Vice President and Mrs. Johnson. Some officials questioned here could not explain why Sen. Yar borough would smell gunpowder. Dr. Perry said, “I’m inclined to discount olfactory sensations at a time when something like this is happening. As well as illusions of sight, there are olfactory illusions which occur.” Other details suggest either the confusions, in senses and in emotions, which prevailed at that assassination scene, or the possibility that the first shot came from nearer the underpass, and not from the building where Oswald was. Three. Dallas officers, traffic patrolmen J. M. Smith and W. E. Barnett and accident investigator E. L. Smith, were stationed at the bend from Houston onto Elm near the depository building, Patrolman Smith said. There were no other officers between them and the underpass, but were two officers patrolling the trestle over the underpass, according to Barnett. Patrolman Smith, interviewed while he was standing traffic duty on a downtown street corner, recalled that he could not figure out where the shots were coming from. “A woman came up to me in hysterics. She said ‘They’re shooting at the President from the bushes.’ I just took off,” he said. A cement arch stands between the depository building and the underpass. On the underpass side of the arch, there is a fence that lets through almost no light, and is neck-high; an oak tree behind the fence makes a little arbor there. A man standing behind the fence, further shielded by cars in the parking lot behind him, might have had a clear shot at the President as his car began the run downhill on Elm Street toward the underpass. Patrolman Smith ran into this area. “I found a lot of Secret Service menI suppose they were Secret Service menand deputy sheriffs and plainclothes men,” he said. He was so put off by what the woman had saidhe didn’t get her namethat he spent some time checking cars on the lot, he said. He caught the smell of gunpowder there. he said: “a faint smell of itI could tell it was in the air . . . a faint odor of it.” The wind was blowing toward him from the building 350 or 400 yards away, and he guessed that the gunpowder smell had been blown down into the area from the window. FOUR WORKERS in the society section of the Dallas Morning News were standing about mid-way between the depository and the cement arch. They were therefore in an excellent position to see what happened. Although one of them wrote what she saw in the Dallas News of Nov. 23, naming her three co-workers, they agreed late last week that none of them had been interviewed by the F.B.I. They are Ann Donaldson, 26, News society editor ; Mary 0. Woodward, 24, the paper’s food consultant; Maggie Brown, 22, a society copy editor; and Aurelia Alonzo, 24, a society reporter. All are single. They had decided to use their lunch hour to watch the President pass by. , Where they were standing is important to the accounts they gave. They were just about midway between the depository building and the arch. The building was on their left and the arch on their right; behind them, as they were of course facing the street. The first shot, Miss Woodward wrote in the News, was “a horrible, ear-shattering noise coming from behind us and a little to the right.” This would mean it came from the arch or from behind the fence beside it, under the oak tree; not from the depository. Miss Woodward stood by her account. The President’s car, had passed them when the first shot sounded out, said Miss Brown. The sound, she said, “came to my right. It was, you know, down by the President. The sound was down there. That’s what I heard, right down there around him. That’s where we first thought it was.” Officer Barnett said two officers were patrolling the trestle, and no one could have shot down onto the President’s party from behind the railing on the trestle without being seen by the officers. “He had just passed by and smiled at us,” Miss Alonzo said. “The sound seemed to be coming from above our heads. I wasn’t sure.We looked up behind us. There are some trees, there are some cement structures. . . . I don’t know whether I was just confused,” she said. Miss Donaldson said the four girls were standing next to a lamp post, right in front of the man who took the 8mm films of the President’s car during the shooting. She had seen her own group’s picture in Life Magazine, she said. Standing below the tree in front of the depository, and 50 or 70 yards from the car when it was hit, she said, the sound came from “somewhere behind me and then it sort of echoed all around.” Misses Donaldson and Woodward attest that the first shot seemed not to hit anyone in the President’s car. WHERE was Jack Ruby at this time? He has given as his main motive , for shooting Oswald, his intense indignation about Kennedy’s death. He is not represented as having gone to the motorcade to watch the President pass by. He could have easily done so if he had wanted to, because he was just four blocks away, in the advertising offices of the Dallas News, during the noon hour when the President was shot. At 12:10 p.m. the News reported, Ruby walked into the paper’s display advertising office to place an ad. According to Donald Campbell, an advertising representative, what a ‘lousy business’ he was in, but said, ‘if I’d get in some other business I’d have the same headaches, or maybe more of them.’ Campbell confirmed that he left the office about 12:20 p.m. leaving Ruby there. Campbell said no one in the office had come forward as to Ruby’s whereabouts between 12:20 and 12:30 or so p.m.; but of course there could have been some who saw Ruby then that Campbell did not know about. Georgia Mayor, a secretary in the advertising department, said, “I saw him at 12:30 or 12:35. I came back from lunch between 12:30 and 12:35. He was sitting there in that chair,” by her desk. The exact time of the President’s shooting may not be known. One source here says it was perhaps 12:25 or 12:27; some reports say 12:30. Based on a remark that is reported to have been made over the motorcade intercom just before the shooting, the time was 12:31. THE FACTS, of course, have been promised to a candid world, and should, but may never, answer all the questions. For instance, the two women’s belief they saw Mr. Kennedy look around after the first shot suggests not merely the possibility there was a second sniper, about which great skepticism is justified; it suggests much more plausibly another and more plausible possibility, that the first shot missed. An officer is known to have examined, twenty minutes after_ the shooting, a chipped place on the Main Street curb near the Triple Underpass, on a line from the fatal window toward where the car passed. He saw that it was a fresh chipping, and perceived clear traces of lead. The most reliable information in Dallas as we left to put out this issuea phrase that protects sources and glosses over a necessary indefiniteness, with the facts still officially secretis that the President was hit only once, and his neck injury was an exit, not an entry wound. How, then, can Sen. Yarborough’s, and Officer Smith’s, smelling gunpowder be ex plained? The gases ejected from the rifle muzzle could have carried that far, one wise old hand in Dallas law enforcement asserts. R.D. December 13, 1963 9
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