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Sixth floor--three shots or two?

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The Carcano rifle was a PITA to load manually. Under normal circumstances, rounds were mounted to what's commonly known as a "stripper clip", and the clip holds the rounds in place until the last round is chambered, at which point the stripper clip falls out of the rifle. [There was no box-type magazine, often erroneously called a clip.]

The spent casings found on the floor indicate that ONLY two of them could have been fired. So we're on the same page there. The fourth round, a live round, was found in the chamber...but no stripper clip was found anywhere near the alleged "sniper's nest." So when was the 4th round chambered? Where? And what happened to the stripper clip?

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Two.  Not by Oswald.  As alluded to one shell bent, which I believe I've read by people more knowledgeable than I in rifles rendered it impossible to have been shot form the Caracano that day.  It, one in the chamber, 4 - 2 = 2.  

My personal belief is they were distraction shots meant to make people think the shots came from the right rear.  To look that way, like the SSA(s-?) do in Altgens X.  As Dylan suggests it was a magic trick, well planned, sleight of hand.

Anyone planning such a detailed operation would not have allowed anyone to take a shot with the Carcano at JFK period.  Shims to the scope before the FBI could test it?  Other problems found with it.  Deemed unreliable (misfiring?) and inaccurate by the Italian troops it was designed for if memory serves.  More likely is instructions to shoot in the grass or in front of the limo.  Any shot at JFK from the sixth floor from it would have been too unreliable.  A miss from there could have involved Jackie, Nellie, Greer, Kellerman or JC.  But the angle is wrong for JC.  It was a prop used as a disguise to both distract with it's noise and the finding of it with unsupported links to Hidell and Oswald.

Ozzie was likely where he said he was when the shots were fired.  On the first floor.  Draw your own conclusions from that point.

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Thanks Mark Knight and Ron Bulman. However I believe I have erred. Digging into the HSCA Appendix to Hearings VII, Firearms Panel Report, I see that according to the firearms experts on that panel, the dent in the shell casing was caused in ejection of the shell casing after it was fired, and therefore was compatible with having been fired from the sixth floor, i.e. three shots are not excluded for that reason. I found this Report here: https://www.history-matters.com/archive/contents/hsca/contents_hsca_vol7.htm. At paragraphs #155 and #156, "It is the opinion of the panel that the dent on the mouth of the CE 543 cartridge case was produced when the cartridge case was ejected from the rifle. This condition was duplicated during test-firing of the CE 139 rifle by the panel (See fig. 2.)"

Visual comparison of Fig. 2, in which the second of four test bullets fired (T-2) has a dent, and Fig. 8B, CE 543, the shell casing with the dent found on the sixth floor, has the same appearing dent, looks convincing to me. (Page views 381, 393, and 397 at that site.) I see an earlier informative discussion on this forum from 2007 on this issue here: http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/topic/9276-an-unfired-cartridge/. I am not knowledgeable on firearms and capable of contesting the HSCA Firearms Panel's assessment. I retract my entire post above. (With note to self: read the primary sources first next time!) 

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5 hours ago, Greg Doudna said:

I am not knowledgeable on firearms and capable of contesting the HSCA Firearms Panel's assessment. I retract my entire post above. (With note to self: read the primary sources first next time!) 

Don't worry about it.  All of us make mistakes from time to time. 

Here's something you might think about when thinking about shooting coming from the Sniper's Nest on the 6th floor.  The following makes it impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that firing did occur from the Sniper's Nest.

Witnesses Closest to the Sniper’s Nest (within 40 feet except Jack Daugherty):  Only three of these 13 witnesses say the shots came from the Sniper’s Nest or sixth floor.  10 witnesses said the shots came from a different location then the Sniper’s Nest. 

  1. Harold Norman- 11-26-63 FBI statement:  Norman said he heard a shot as the vehicle turned onto Elm St.  He changed that later but, consistently said the shots came from above. (5th floor directly under Sniper’s Nest)

  2. Bonnie Ray Williams- Sheriff’s Office statement 11-22-63:  First, said he heard two shots when the presidential limo turned onto Houston.  Later, he changed that to a turn onto Elm St. and then later changed that to 3 shots.  He first said the shots came from above.  (5th floor directly under Sniper’s Nest)

  3. James “Junior” Jarman- Warren Commission testimony:  At first, Jarman said much the same as Williams and Norman about hearing a shot from above.  He later changed his testimony at the Warren Hearing to hearing shots from low and to the left.  (5th floor directly under Sniper’s Nest)

  4. Jack Daughtery- 11-22-63, 11-23-63, 12-19-63, and 4-8-64:  Daughtery made a number of statements saying he heard a loud noise like a shot, but didn’t know where it came from.  Later, he said he heard one shot that sounded if it came from above on the next floor meaning the 6th floor. (5th floor near elevator)   

  5. Elsie Dorman- FBI statement 11-24-63:  She thought the shots came from the Court Records Building on Houston St.  (4th floor less than 40 feet away)

  6. Sandra Styles- In a statement made to the FBI on 3-19-64 she said she heard shots but, did not know where they came from and offered no other relevant information.  However, in a video published in October, 2017 she said as the presidential vehicle turned into the intersection she heard 3 shots.   Reference:  Jobert Jefford Paulson video, Oct. 17, 2017- The Case of the Lady Who Did Not See the Assassin.  (4th floor less than 40 feet away)

  7. Vickie Adams- FBI statement 11-24-63:  She said when the president’s vehicle entered the intersection she heard 3 shots. Her view was obstructed by trees.  The sound came from the west or right side of the building.  (4th floor less than 40 feet away)

  8. Dorothy Garner- FBI statement 3-20-64:  When the shots occured the presidential vehicle was out of sight, obscured by trees.  This would be in front of the TSBD.  She thought the shots came from the west.  (4th floor less than 40 feet away)

  9. Mary Hollies- 2-18-64 statement to Detective Potts said she heard 3 shots as the motorcade turned into the intersection.  (4th floor changed to 5th floor)

  10. Betty Alice Foster- FBI statement 3-19-64: She was with Mary Hollies.  She heard something like fireworks after the President’s car turned down Elm St.  (4th floor changed to 5th floor)

  11. Steven Wilson- FBI statement 3-30-63:  He said his view was obstructed by trees and heard 3 distinct shots.  FBI Statement 3-25-64:  The shots came from the west.  (3rd floor directly below Sniper’s Nest about 30 feet away)

  12. Yola Hopson- FBI statement 12-1-63:  She heard sounds that she thought were firecrackers which had been set off on the street below.  She did not believe the sounds came from the within the building.  (4th floor less than 40 feet away)

  13. Ruth Nelson- 2-18-63:  She was with Yola Hopson.  She heard 3 shots that sounded as if they were part of the celebration on the street.  (4th floor less than 40 feet away)



Edited by John Butler
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22 hours ago, Greg Doudna said:

that intent to kill Connally instead of JFK explains the otherwise-unanswered question of why the sixth-floor sniper did not fire as the motorcade approached before turning. In my opinion Sundborg is convincing on both of those points.

What was the reasoning here? Was Kellerman in the way for a good shot at Connally when approaching the building, or what?



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Ron Ecker, Sundborg argues that from the point of view of the sixth-floor window, there was no shot for Connally on Houston Street until the limousine was very close to being underneath the sixth-floor window, due to the low position of Connally's seating behind a steel bar handrail ca. 4-6 inches in width located ca. 15-18 inches above the top of the front seat. (These inch estimates are from Kellerman WC testimony.) Dignitaries would hold on to it when standing. The bar is in all the photos. Here is Sundborg: 

"In May 1964, County Surveyor Robert H. West made a careful survey of Dealey Plaza to facilitate analysis of the shooting. Measurements are in feet. Oswald's windowsill is at altitude (above sea level) 490.9', the sidewalk in front of TSBD at 430.2'. The windowsill is 1' above the sixth floor. Oswald was almost 5'9" tall, so his eyes were about 4'4" above the windowsill. The sidewalk is 6" above the street. From Main to Elm, Houston Street is level. The limousine's handrail was 4'6" above the pavement. Thus, Oswald's eyes were 4.3+(490.9-430.2)+0.5-4.5=61.0' above the handrail as the limousine drove toward him.

"That same detailed survey map allows measuring precise horizontal distances from Oswald to the limousine. As it straightened from its turn from Main onto Houston, just on the north side of the Main Street crosswalk, as shown in the upper photo on page 515, the limousine's handrail was 283.1' from him. After the limousine neared him but had not yet begun its turn onto Elm Street, shown in both photos on page 516, it was a distance of 154.3'.

"Thus, the downward angle of Oswald's view into the limousine's passenger space at the farthest position is arctan (61.0 / 283.1) = arctan 0.216 = 12.2 degrees. When the limousine was in the closer position, the angle was arctan (61.0 / 154.3) = arctan 0.395 = 21.6 degrees. In other words, when he looked down into the limousine, re-created for the Warren Commission with the carefully positioned but dissimilar white vehicle in the photos on page 516, he (and you looking at those photos) are looking down at an angle of 21.6 degrees. By comparison, Oswald's last two shots that wounded and killed on Elm Street, were at a similar downward angle of 24 degrees.

"Now those rather accurate sightline angles may be applied to a photograph of the actual limousine, taken precisely when Oswald first saw it, as it turned onto Houston Street. This is the photo, previously used in Chapter 6 just before Nellie said the last words Jack ever heard, showing what people at street level saw as the limousine turned onto Houston Street... [photo, and then additional diagram and paragraph concerning interior specs of the limousine]...

"On this page the same photo is shown twice, with dark areas showing the portions of the vehicle and occupants that Oswald could not see at all clearly from his vantage, looking downward into the Lincoln from above its front. For any speculating that Oswald might see Connally through the tinted windshield, please consider that 6'4" agent Kellerman was sitting directly in front of the shorter governor, who was in a much lower seat. You will see this in many photos in this chapter. There could be many images like those below, showing what was blocked from the assassin's view as the car drove toward him. These two should suffice.

"The first shows what Oswald could see and not see at a downward angle 12.2 degrees into the car as it began to drive toward him on Houston Street. This photo corresponds to the first reenactment position on page 515. The Connallys are both hidden behind the windshield, its upturned visors, and tall agents Kellerman and Greer. Over the top of the handrail, Oswald can immediately see the heads and faces of both Kennedys: [photo with angle shading illustration]

"Below, the second image shows what Oswald could see and not see looking into the car at a downward angle of 21.6 degrees, as the Lincoln neared the end of its one-block drive toward him on Houston Street. This is when the limo is ready to turn left onto Elm Street, the reenactment position shown in natural view and through his rifle's scope on page 516. The Kennedys are now fully visible, but John Connally (on the far side of Nellie) is still hidden by the handrail.

"Putting it all together, the realistic situation is that almost the entire drive along Houston Street toward Oswald was required before Connally's head emerged from behind obstructions, and for the assassin to recognize him. There was no adequate time for Oswald to then aim and fire, because to do so after finding Connally would have had him firing almost vertically down into the top of Connally's head, an angle where the human body is smallest. Worse, because his window was only partially raised and had a brick sill projecting outside, the rifle may not have been able to aim down at such a steep angle. Lee then hurried to get off his first shot, the one that was wild and injured Jim Tague, fired in haste as the limousine went under the shelter of the branches and leaves of the oak tree on the curb of Elm Street.

(...) "I seriously submit to your careful consideration that there exists only one logical explanation for the fact that Oswald did not take the easy shot as the limousine drove slowly toward him through level open space, growing closer and larger every second. He saw President Kennedy, but he could not see his target ... If Oswald had been gunning for Kennedy, he would have taken easy shots at him, in plain sight as the limousine approached. The fact that he did not fire then is very strong evidence that his target was the man then concealed from view, John Connally." (Pierre Sundborg, Tragic Truth, pp. 528-532)  

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Okay, thanks. The fact is, of course, that Oswald wasn't "gunning for Kennedy" or Connally either one. Those who were gunning for Kennedy waited till he was in the kill zone, with a fatal shot probably from the south knoll area. Houston Street was hardly the best place for ambush and getaways.




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Ron Ecker, not necessarily a contradiction. Speculating here, but you could have a situation of Oswald indebted to the Marcello organization and told/promised to kill Connally, building upon an already-existing motive of Oswald. This would set up a patsy and JFK assassins could piggyback on to the action carried out by the patsy. Someone put LHO's rifle on the sixth floor and someone fired from that building and LHO behaved after the shooting as if it was him. SS agent Mike Howard credibly insisted he saw "I will kill John Connally" written in LHO's address book before he, Howard, and fellow agent Chuck Kunkel turned that address book with their other materials over to the FBI, then were shocked to see a year later when the WC report was published that that page was missing, corresponding to a visibly torn-out sheet of pages 17-18, in the WC Exhibits of the notebook.

Marina and others who knew LHO such as Jeanne de Mohrenschildt, thought his Marine undesirable discharge, for which he blamed Connally and his exhausting appeal of which was turned down in summer 1963, was a major issue to LHO, interfering with his ability to obtain employment. Marina, as mercurial as she was, nevertheless told the Secret Service in the most direct way possible six days after the assassination, "I swear before God that Lee Oswald did not intend to kill President Kennedy" (note the wording) while at the same time, in that same interview, the agents reported, "Marina Oswald stated ... she is satisfied that Lee Oswald had killed President John F. Kennedy" (again note the wording; Secret Service interview 11/28/63). In other interviews and to the Warren Commission Marina said she thought LHO's shooting target was Connally, not JFK. 

LHO in the summer of 1963 showed signs of desperation: he fought with Marina whom he loved, failed at employment and money, unsuccessfully tried to talk Marina into hijacking a plane with him to Cuba, then sought desperately to defect to Cuba via the Mexico City visa attempt. I suspect his left-Marxism always was for real even as he also variously and unreliably for a time worked for intelligence agencies in the Marines. Perhaps he wanted to get to Cuba for real for a new life, and his attempts to defect to Cuba were to avoid what was shaping up for him to be a nightmare back in the US. Both of the two books which argue for Connally as LHO's target--J. Reston's and the much more extensive and formidably argued work of P. Sundborg--are WC lone-shooter books otherwise, so this is me speculating, not either of those authors. Three shots from LHO trying to hit Connally and one additional professional shot to JFK's head killing JFK, mission accomplished, Oswald blamed, Oswald dead, case closed. What do you think? Is this a plausible scenario? (Also thanks John Butler.)

Edited by Greg Doudna
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It's conceivable that Oswald's target was Connally. A main problem with that theory is that Oswald apparently didn't shoot anyone or even fire a weapon. We can never really know what Oswald thought he was doing that day. Jack Ruby took care of that. It's conceivable that Oswald was just following instructions on a "need to know" basis and was surprised to find out that JFK was shot. Oswald was also surprised to find out that he was the shooter.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Ron, on further thinking I have abandoned the idea that Connally was the target. First, it is too coincidental that that head shot to JFK so perfectly killed JFK; the Connally wounds are better explained as collateral damage of shots aimed at JFK than vice versa. Second, the strongest claim in favor of the Connally theory, Dallas Secret Service agent Mike Howard's claim, first voiced in 1993, to have seen "I will kill John Connally" (and three others) written in LHO's blue-green address book on a page which Howard says the FBI removed after it came into their possession, I have now studied quite a bit and I believe I can show that that claim, otherwise unverified, will not stand, for reasons which I may develop into an article. And third, on other grounds I am convinced that the JFK assassination was a hit, a coup d'etat, directed at JFK, not Connally (primarily, because there was more than one shooter). 

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