John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated on Friday, November 22, 1963, at 12:30 p.m. in Dallas, Texas, while riding in a presidential motorcade through Dealey Plaza. Kennedy was riding with his wife Jacqueline, Texas Governor John Connally, and Connally’s wife, Nellie when he was fatally shot. Governor Connally was seriously wounded in the attack. The motorcade rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital where President Kennedy was pronounced dead about thirty minutes after the shooting; Connally recovered from his injuries.
Former U.S. Marine Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested by the Dallas Police Department 70 minutes after the initial shooting. Oswald was charged under Texas state law with the murder of Kennedy as well as that of Dallas policeman J. D. Tippit, who had been fatally shot a short time after the assassination. At 11:21 a.m. Sunday, November 24, 1963, as live television cameras covered his transfer to the Dallas County Jail, Oswald was fatally shot in the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters by Dallas nightclub operator Jack Ruby. Oswald was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital where he soon died. Ruby was convicted of Oswald’s murder, though it was later overturned on appeal, and Ruby died in prison in 1967 while awaiting a new trial.
After a ten-month investigation, the Warren Commission concluded that Oswald assassinated Kennedy, that Oswald had acted entirely alone, and that Ruby had acted alone in killing Oswald. Kennedy was the eighth US President to die in office and the fourth (following those of Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley) and most recent to be assassinated. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson automatically became President upon Kennedy’s death.
In contrast to the conclusions of the Warren Commission, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) concluded in 1979 that Kennedy was “probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy”. The HSCA agreed with the Warren Commission that the injuries that Kennedy and Connally sustained were caused by Oswald’s three rifle shots, but they also determined the existence of an additional gunshot based on the analysis of a dictabelt audio recording and therefore “… a high probability that two gunmen fired at [the] President.” The Committee was not able to identify any individuals or groups involved with the possible conspiracy. In addition, the HSCA found that the original federal investigations were “seriously flawed” with respect to information-sharing and the possibility of conspiracy. As recommended by the HSCA, the acoustic evidence indicating conspiracy was subsequently re-examined and rejected.
In light of the investigative reports determining that “reliable acoustic data do not support a conclusion that there was a second gunman,” the U.S. Justice Department concluded active investigations and stated “that no persuasive evidence can be identified to support the theory of a conspiracy in … the assassination of President Kennedy. However, Kennedy’s assassination is still the subject of widespread debate and has spawned numerous conspiracy theories and alternative scenarios. Nonetheless, polls conducted from 1966 to 2004 found that up to 80 percent of Americans have suspected that there was a plot or cover-up by the CIA..
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