Critical Moments From The Day Of Kennedy’s Assassination [TIMELINE]

JFK assassination

Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, 12:30 am: Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife Marina are not living together. While Oswald lives in a boarding house at 1026 N. Beckley Ave. in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas, Marina Oswald is living with Ruth Paine in Irving Texas. Unlike most weeks, Lee has showed up on Thursday evening instead of Friday evening. At 12:30am, Marina notices that Lee is still awake.

6:30am: Lee Harvey Oswald gets out of bed after a restless night and gets ready for work. Before he leaves the house, he takes off his wedding ring and leaves it in a cup on top of Marina’s dresser. He takes $US170 out of his wallet and leaves it with his wedding ring. He gets a ride into work at the Texas School Book Depository with Buell Wesley Fraizer. He is carrying something long and tells Fraizer they’re curtain rods for his room in the boarding house.

7:00am: President John F. Kennedy is at the Hotel Texas getting ready for his day. He will give a speech outside the hotel, give a speech to the Chamber of Commerce, and then leave Fort Worth for Dallas. After a motorcade through Dallas and a speech at the Trade Mart, the Kennedy’s will travel with the Johnson’s to Austin and then the Johnson Ranch for a weekend of rest. He has just picked up The Dallas Morning News. He sees the infamous “black border” ad which accuses Kennedy of treason. He also sees a prediction from Richard Nixon that Kennedy will be dropping Johnson from the ticket.

10:00am: As the weather starts clearing up, advance secret service agent Win Lawson has decided to take the bubbletop off the presidential limo. President Kennedy has made it clear that he wants to be accessible to the people. He wants to bubbletop off as much as possible and does not want secret service agents on the back on his limo.

10:30am: Kennedy returns to his suite in the Hotel Texas and prepares to leave for Dallas. He remarks to Jackie “you know, last night would have been a hell of a night to assassinate a president…” in reference to their late night motorcade through For Worth.

11:50am: Multiple co-workers see Oswald on the first floor of the book depository eating lunch. Simultaneously, the motorcade leaves Love Field to begin the motorcade through Dallas.

12:05pm: President Kennedy makes his first of many stops at groups of people waiting to meet him and shake his hand, delaying the motorcade by five minutes.

12:29pm: The presidents limo turns onto Elm St. The first shot is fired missing the president. A fragment from the bullet or debris from the street hit James Tauge who is watching the motorcade in Dealey Plaza. A man is standing near the Stemmons Freeway sign with an opened umbrella giving rise to the “umbrella man” conspiracy theory.

12:30pm: The second shot is fired, causing Kennedy to go into Thornburn’s position. This is a common neurological response to spinal damage. The third shot is fired, hitting the president on the back, right side of his head, causing a portion of his head behind his right ear to blow out. Right after the third shot is fired, Sheriff Bill Decker orders Dallas police officers to the railroad tracks behind the fence on the Grassy Knoll. Oswald gets a Coke from the soda machine in the book depository and starts walking out of the buildings after being stopped briefly by Dallas police officer Marrion Baker. Oswald walks passed NBC’s Robert MacNeil who is looking for a phone to call in the shooting.

12:35pm: The presidential limo arrives at Parkland Memorial Hospital where “24740, white male” suffering from a gunshot wound is admitted and brought to trauma room 1. Secret service agent Roy Kellerman who is in charge in Dallas calls the head of secret service Jerry Behn to report that JFK has been hit. Dr. Charles Crenshaw enters and notes there is a large wound on the back of the president’s head as well as a small hole in his throat. They use this hole to perform a tracheotomy.

12:45pm: Lee Harvey Oswald gets onto a bus 7 blocks away from the Texas School Book Depository. The bus isn’t moving much because of traffic in Dealey Plaza. Shortly after boarding, he gets off and gets into Whaley’s cab which he takes back to his boarding house where he changes and gets his pistol.

12:57pm: Father Huber arrives at the hospital. Ken O’Donnell tells secret service agent Clint Hill to order a casket from somewhere near by. The president is already technically dead, but Jackie is worried about him receiving his last rites before he has died. Just after, Dr. Kemp Clark pronounces John F. Kennedy dead. Admiral Dr. George Burkley officially pronounces Kennedy dead.

1:15pm: After being told to patrol the Oak Cliff section of Dallas, Office J.D. Tippit speaks to someone who fits Oswald’s description. Shortly after police hear a civilian on the police radio line saying, “It’s a police officer. Someone shot him.”

1:26pm: Lyndon B. Johnson leaves Parkland for Air Force One. As he and Mrs. Johnson are leaving, she sees the flags drop to half mast. Mac Kilduff confirms Kennedy’s death.

1:40pm: Oswald runs into a movie theatre that is playing “War is Hell.” He was seen sneaking in and police start to search the theatre. The lights are raised and officer Nick McDonald spots Oswald in the seats. He walks up to Oswald who says, “This is it!” and pulls a revolver. As they fight, officer McDonald gets his finger in front of the pistol’s hammer so the gun will not fire. Oswald punches an officer in the face and the officer punches back giving Oswald a black eye.

2:00pm: Secret service agent Roy Kellerman gets into an argument with Dallas Country medical examiner Dr. Earl Rose. The Kennedy party wants his body put in a casket and want to leave the hospital. At this point, killing a president is not a federal offence. Because of this, the medical examiner argues that the autopsy has to be performed before the body is taken from Dallas. The new president orders the body to be released, but the ME refuses. Finally, he is overridden by Dallas district attorney Henry Wade, who only agrees to release the body if Admiral Dr. Burkley, Kennedy’s private physician, promises to stay with the body until it is put in the casket for the final time.

Simultaneously, Lyndon Johnson phones grief stricken Robert Kennedy to find out what his legal options are about taking the oath of office.

Friday, November 22nd, 1963, 2:07pm: Kennedy’s body leaves Parkland Hospital bound for Love Field. After news of the assassination, the stock market has dipped 24 points. It now closes, not to reopen until Tuesday November 26th.

Oswald has arrived at the homicide and robbery office on the 3rd floor of city hall. When asked if he wants to hide his face from reports, he responds “why should I? I haven’t done anything to be ashamed of.”

Friday, November 22nd, 1963, 2:38pm: The presidents body has been loaded to Air Force One with much difficulty. The casket they got from the funeral home was too wide for the plane door and some of the handles had to be broken off. Despite what conspiracy theorist say, the damage to the casket was caused by the secret service, not the casket being opened and the body being altered. Nick Katzenbach, Deputy Attorney General has spoken to people in Washington to get the correct oath of office. Despite having trouble reading his writing, he dictates the oath of office and Lyndon Johnson becomes the 36th president of the United States. He is the first president to be sworn in be a woman, Judge Sarah T. Hughes.

Friday, November 22nd, 1963, 3:00pm: Oswald’s first interrogation has started. The police take paraffin tests of his hands and face. The test of the hands comes back positive. They have only charged him with the killing of Office Tippit. He has not been charged with killing the president yet.

Friday, November 22nd, 1963, 4:00pm: J. Edgar Hoover called RFK to tell him “we have the man.”

Oswald waits for his first lineup with Helene Markham, the witness to Office Tippit’s murder. While waiting, Oswald is searched and five bullet cartridges are found in his pocket. Jack Ruby, who owns The Carousel Club, stops by the police station for the first time. Since many of the officers frequent the club, he is familiar with quite a few people and is able to walk around the police station freely.

Friday, November 22nd, 1963, 4:30pm: Doctors from trauma room 1 fill out forms stating what they observed in the emergency room. The conflicting reports from the doctors leads to confusion and distrust. Dr. Marion Jenkins says there was a large hole on the right side of his head so large, the cerebellum had protruded from the wound. Dr. James Carrico, the first doctor to enter the trauma room, noted a large wound located in the right occipito-parietal area and one small penetrating wound in the middle of the neck. Dr. Charles Baxter that the right temporal and occipital bones were missing and the brain was on the table. Dr. Kemp Clark, who pronounced Kennedy dead, noted two external wounds. Both the cerebral and cerebella tissue were extruding from the wound. Dr. McClelland stated that “the cause of death was due to a massive head and brain injury from a gunshot wound of the left temple.” Dr. Marion Jenkins later supported this statement.

Friday, November 22nd, 1963, 6:00pm (est.): Air Force One arrives at Andrews Airforce Base. Among many others, waiting for the plane was Robert Kennedy, Robert McNamara, and General Maxwell Taylor. Jackie Kennedy has requested that the secret service agents that carried him onto the plane as well as “his friends” to carry him off the plane. She has also requested that secret service agent and driver Bill Greer drive the ambulance with the coffin to Bethesda Naval Hospital. Robert Kennedy has rushed onto the plane to find Jackie. He puts his arm around her and quietly says “Hi Jackie. I’m here.” When they get into the ambulance with the casket Jackie recounts the motorcade, the shooting, and aftermath in detail to RFK.

Lyndon Johnson makes his first statement on TV as president.

Friday, November 22nd, 1963, 6:20pm (cst): Oswald’s second interrogation starts in Captain Fritz’s office. At this point, they are still only investigating and interrogating Oswald about the shooting death of Officer Tippit. As he is taken out for his second lineup he yells to the press “I didn’t shoot anyone!” He is identified by Cecil McWatters. McWatters says that Oswald was wearing, although the Warren Commission said he was not wearing a jacket. Also, later when testifying to the Warren Commission, McWatters says he was wrong in selecting Oswald in the lineup.

Friday, November 22nd, 1963, 7:00pm (est.): Jackie Kennedy and Robert Kennedy enter Bethesda Naval Hospital. RFK stops to sign the order for the autopsy of his brother. They are taken to a VIP suite on the 17th floor of the hospital while the autopsy is performed. General Godfrey McHugh has stopped Admiral Calvin Galloway, who has assembled a team to perform the autopsy. McHugh tells Galloway that the autopsy and embalming should be done by his team and that “Mrs. Kennedy doesn’t want an undertaker.” Galloway responds, “We don’t have the facilities. I highly recommend a funeral parlor.” When he is asked if it’s possible he says, “It’s not impossible. It’s difficult though. And it might be unsatisfactory.”

Sargent Shriver is preparing the White House to receive Kennedy’s body and for it to lay in repose. He has covered the White House in black bunting and, at the request of Jackie Kennedy, he has gotten books and documents so he can make the White House look like it did when Lincoln died and laid in repose in the White House.

Friday, November 22nd, 1963, 7:10 (cst): Captain Fritz has questioned Marina Oswald, and Ruth and Michael Paine. He has also signed a complaint charging Oswald with the murder of Officer Tippit. He is not formally arraigned for the murder of J.D. Tippit. FBI agents have been sitting in on the interrogations. In regards to the presidents assassination, Gordon Shanklin, agent in charge of the Dallas office tells Harry Maynor, New Orleans Bureau chief “Oswald was probably a good suspect but they have been unable to develop information connecting the rifle with Oswald.”

Friday, November 22nd, 1963, 7:50 (cst): Oswald in interrogated for the third time. He is then taken for his third lineup where is he identified by J.D. Davies as the man people saw unloading a pistol as he came across their yard immediately following the Tippit shooting. Immediately following the lineup, Oswald’s finger and palm prints are taken on an inkless pad.

Friday, November 22nd, 1963, 8:15pm (est.): Under the charge of Commander J.J. Humes the autopsy of John F. Kennedy begins.

Friday, November 22nd, 1963, 9:00pm (cst): Buell Frazier has his sister have come to the homicide and robbery office. They both say they saw Oswald carrying a package with him to the Texas School Book Depository. He is later arrest and brought back in for questioning.

Friday, November 22nd, 1963, 11:00pm (est.): President Kennedy’s autopsy is concluded.

Friday, November 22nd, 1963, 11:26pm (cst): Captain Fritz signs the complaint charging Oswald with the murder of President Kennedy.

Friday, November 22nd, 1963, 11:59pm (est.): Dr. Humes states that the autopsy results were that Kennedy was killed by two shots from the rear.

Saturday, November 23rd, 1963, 1:30am (cst): Lee Harvey Oswald is charged by Judge David Johnson that he “voluntarily and with malice of forethought killed John F. Kennedy by shooting him with a gun.”

Saturday, November 23rd, 1963, 1:35am (cst): Oswald is officially told he has been charged with the murder of John F. Kennedy.

This timeline comes from Business Insider’s Beth Frutkin, who is researching and writing a book on Kennedy. See also her post on the significance of JFK’s assassination.