BULLETS AND MISSED SHOTS IN
@All Rights Reserved
Revised on 4/28/2001
With the discovery that the single-bullet
theory is very probably a physical impossibility, it is perhaps appropriate to
review the evidence of extra bullets and misses in
Extra Bullets and Weapons
* Among the files released by the
Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) between 1994 and 1996 was an FBI
evidence envelope (FBI Field Office Dallas 89-43-1A-122). Although the envelope
was empty, the cover indicated it had contained a 7.65 mm rifle shell that had
been found in
* Other documents released by the ARRB
discuss a Johnson semi-automatic 30.06 rifle that was apparently suspected of
having been used in the assassination. One can infer from the documents that
the rifle might have even been found in
It's my opinion that the reason he [the FBI agent] wanted to see Mr. Payne was because Payne's fingerprints undoubtedly were all over that rifle from his having handled it many times. It's also my opinion that unless that particular rifle had been found [near the scene of the crime] or in some way involved in this whole thing [the assassination], that the FBI would have no interest in it. (HSCA 180-10107-10443)
This rifle had quite a history. It was used
in CIA-connected anti-Castro raids in
* In 1975 a maintenance man named Morgan,
while working on the roof of the
The term "extra misses" implies
that one miss has already been documented. This miss is the bullet which struck
Warren Commission (WC) supporters strain to explain this mark. Most of them now deny it was made by a bullet. Instead, they say, it was caused by a fragment. But the closest bullet they can produce from which this fragment could have come is the missile that struck the President in the head at frame 312 in the Zapruder film. However, the mark on the curb was over 200 feet from the limousine's position at Z312. In addition, a fragment from the head shot would have just finished plowing through a human skull, and, to make matters worse, would have had to somehow fly over the limo's support bar and windshield just to clear the car.
Another theory has been advanced by Gerald Posner in his book Case Closed. Posner opines that the sixth-floor gunman fired at around Z160, that this missile struck a branch of the intervening oak tree, that the lead core separated from the bullet's jacket as a result of striking the tree branch, and that this lead fragment traveled over 400 feet and struck the curb! Even many WC supporters reject this forced, unlikely theory. The WC stated that the sixth-floor gunman would have had a clear view of the limousine until Z166 (see also CE 889).
Now, let us consider some of the accounts of
extra misses striking in
* Dallas policeman J. W. Foster, who was positioned on top of the triple underpass, saw a bullet strike the grass on the south side of Elm Street near a manhole cover, about 350 feet from the TSBD. He reported this to a superior officer and was instructed to guard the area (Shaw and Harris 72-75; Marrs 315).
Journalists and bystanders were kept at a distance from the spot where the bullet landed. An unidentified blond-haired man in a suit was photographed bending down, reaching out his left hand toward the dug-out point on the ground as if to pick up something, standing back up, apparently holding a small object in his hand, and then putting his hand in his pocket (Shaw and Harris 73-74). The hole made by the bullet was even photographed, and the picture appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on 11/23/63.
In his WC testimony, Officer Foster denied a bullet was recovered from near the manhole cover, though he did not explain what the man in the suit picked up and put into his pocket. Foster did, however, say that a bullet "had hit the turf there at that location [near the manhole cover]."
Contemporary press accounts reported that a bullet was retrieved from the dug-out hole in the grass near the manhole cover. For example, when the Fort Worth Star-Telegram published a photo of the hole in the grass, it included the following caption:
One of the rifle
bullets fired by the murderer of President Kennedy lies in the grass across
The next day the Dallas Times Herald, in referring to the hole in the grass, reported:
Dallas Police Lt. J. C. Day of the crime lab estimated the distance from the sixth-floor window . . . to the spot where one of the bullets was recovered at 100 yards.
Newsman Richard Dudman said the following
about this miss and the recovered bullet in the 12/21/63 issue of the
On the day the President was shot I happened to learn of a possible fifth [bullet]. A group of police officers were examining the area at the side of the street where the President was hit, and a police inspector told me they had just found another bullet in the grass.
Richard Trask, dismissing all evidence to the contrary, argues that the blond-haired man did not pick up a bullet from the hole in the grass (Trask 497-498, 542-543). Trask rests his case almost totally on the fact that the two of the photographers who took pictures of the event, Jim Murray and Bill Allen, later denied that a bullet was found. But neither Murray nor Allen could say positively that a bullet was not found; rather, they simply did not believe that a bullet had been found. Nor did either of them explain exactly what it was that the unidentified man picked up and put in his pocket. Trask concedes that the photographic record of the event does not refute the accounts of a bullet being recovered from the hole in the grass. He also acknowledges that in the photos the left hand of the unidentified man in the suit is "cupped" after he stands up, which would certainly suggest he was holding something.
Allen said he didn't believe a bullet was
found because neither Walthers, Foster, nor the blond-haired
man specifically mentioned having just picked up a bullet after the man
stood up. But this was surely a rather weak reason for concluding the man
didn't pick up a bullet. Furthermore, as mentioned, when newsman Richard Dudman
entered the area at the side of
In the photos taken of this event, i.e., the
finding and removal of the bullet, one can see Officer Foster and a
civilian-clothed Deputy Sheriff Buddy Walthers standing over the spot where the
bullet landed, along with the unidentified man in the suit. It has been suggested
that the man was a federal agent of some kind. Given the man's dress and
appearance, this is not an unreasonable suggestion.
As mentioned, the identity of the blond-haired man is unknown. The recovered bullet was never entered into evidence, and its present whereabouts are not known.
* Officer Foster also reported that a bullet struck the concrete part of the abovementioned manhole cover. It is not known if this was the same missile that made the dug-out hole in the grass a few feet from the manhole cover. The bullet might have skipped off the manhole cover and then imbedded itself in the grass. Or, the mark on the concrete could have been made by a separate bullet, and thus would represent another miss fired from the same approximate location. The sewer cover and the hole in the turf were about 3-5 feet apart, and the latter was farther down the side of Elm Street (that is, it was slightly farther away from the TSBD than was the sewer cover).
About two and a half hours after the
Researchers have noted that the photo of the
mark indicates it did not come from
the TSBD. The mark can be seen on the twelfth photo page in the second set of
photographs in Harrison Livingstone and Robert Groden's book High Treason. One can readily see that
the angle of the mark does not line up with the Book Depository, but that it
does line up with the
* Just after President Kennedy's limousine
passed the front steps of the TSBD, five witnesses saw a bullet strike the
* Within a day or two of the assassination,
Less than a week after Aldredge informed the FBI of the mark's existence and location, he took a friend to see it. They found the mark, but saw that it had been altered--it had been filled in. Said Aldredge,
. . . we went to the site and found the mark, [which was] formerly about 1/4 inch deep, had been filled in with what appeared to be a mixture of concrete and asbestos. . . .
A crude attempt had been made to make the altered mark appear to be weather-worn to match the surrounding concrete.
In its report on the mark, the FBI admitted to locating it and described it as being approximately 4 inches long, 1/2 inch wide, and "dug out." And why did the FBI dismiss the significance of this mark? Because, explained the Bureau, it could not have been made by a shot from the window from which Oswald allegedly fired.
Would these misses require us to believe
that a veritable mob was shooting at Kennedy, as some WC defenders suggest? Not at all. Bullets fired lower elevations and from other
Groden, Robert and Harrison Edward
Livingstone, High Treason,
Marrs, Jim, Crossfire: The Plot that Killed
Posner, Gerald, Case Closed,
Roberts, Craig, Kill Zone: A Sniper Looks at
Shaw, J. Gary and Larry Harris, Cover-Up, Second Edition,
Summers, Anthony and Robbyn, "The Ghosts of November," Vanity Fair, December 1994, pp. 86-139.
Trask, Richard, Pictures of the Pain: Photography and the Assassination of President
Weisberg, Harold, Never Again: The Government Conspiracy in the JFK Assassination,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:† Michael
T. Griffith holds a Masterís degree in Theology from The Catholic Distance
University, a Graduate Certificate in Ancient and Classical History from American
Military University, a Bachelorís degree in Liberal Arts from Excelsior
College, and two Associate in Applied Science degrees from the Community
College of the Air Force.† He also holds
an Advanced Certificate of Civil War Studies and a Certificate of Civil War