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I just came across this 7-year-old Jack White posting on Alt. Conspiracy and thought some members would be interested. Bowley is an important Time witness, since his original affidavit says his watch showed 1.10 when he arrived at the Tippit crime scene.

This HSCA document suggests that, after checking his watch, Bowley then had 6 minutes to to walk 100 yards to check the fallen officer, put Tippits revolver in the squad car, and talk to bystanders, some of whom were there before him. At 1.16, six minutes after Bowley's arrival, the police tapes show an attempt (by Benavides) to get through on Tippit's police radio.

If Jack or anyone can scan and post the actual HSCA document, that would be much appreciated. In the meantime, here is Jack White's summary:

QUOTE ON

Relevant to the Donald Willis Tippit postings is a newly obtained HSCA document

(RG233) of HSCA interview of Bowley, the gist of which I summarize:

1. Temple Ford BOWLEY lived in 1977 at 639 Buckner Blvd., Dallas

2. His 12-year old daughter was in the car with him when he stopped at the scene of

the Tippit shooting.

3. He stopped his car and went to the officer.

4. He used the officer*s radio to call headquarters.

5. He remained on the scene till officers arrived.

6. He made a formal written statement at Police Headquarters.

7. He had known Jack Ruby since the 1950s, when he worked at Ruby*s Silver Slipper.

8. He was driving a 1961 Tempest station wagon.

9. He was driving west on Tenth.

10. He observed Tippit lying on the street near the left front wheel.

11. He noticed people beginning to gather.

12. Another man, a Mexican male, also came to Tippit*s assistance at the same time.

13. A white female in a nurse uniform was standing across the street.

14. He stopped on the right side of Tenth, going west, about 100 yards from Tippit.

15. Tippit was lying on his right side with his face down.

16. Bowley rolled Tippit over on his back and could see he was dead.

17. (my emphasis) BOWLEY STATED THAT HE SAW NO BLOOD AND DID NOT KNOW THAT THE MAN

HAD BEEN SHOT AT THAT TIME. (!!!)

18. He found the officer*s revolver on the ground under him, near his right hand.

19. He picked up the gun and placed it on the front seat of the patrol car.

20. The Mexican man was trying to use the radio, but could not operate it.

21. Bowley took the radio from the Mexican and notified the dispatcher that an

officer had been shot and the location.

22. He remained at the scene till officers arrived. (He makes no mention of an

ambulance arrival).

23. While waiting for police, he talked to other witnesses who told him (emphasis

added) THAT THE SUSPECT RAN WEST ON TENTH TOWARD THE CHURCH.

24. Bowley stated that he worked for Jack Ruby from about 1951 to 1958, and that his

wife also was acquainted with Ruby and Ruby*s bookkeeper.

WELL, IT IS A SMALL SMALL WORLD. A FRIEND OF RUBY*S IS FIRST ON THE SCENE OF THE

TIPPIT SHOOTING. DESPITE A BIG BULLET WOUND IN TIPPIT*S RIGHT TEMPLE, BOWLEY DID NOT

KNOW THAT THE OFFICER HAD BEEN SHOT!!! HE SAW NO BLOOD!!! AND HIS VERSION OF THE

SHOOTER*S ESCAPE ROUTE WAS DIFFERENT THAN THE OFFICIAL VERSION. DESPITE BEING FIRST

ON THE SCENE AND STAYING TILL THE OFFICERS ARRIVED, HE MAKES NO MENTION OF THE

AMBULANCE ARRIVAL. STRANGE!

DONALD...HOPE THIS INFO HELPS YOUR TIPPIT/BOWLEY RESEARCH.

JACK WHITE

QUOTE OFF

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  • 1 month later...
I just came across this 7-year-old Jack White posting on Alt. Conspiracy and thought some members would be interested. Bowley is an important Time witness, since his original affidavit says his watch showed 1.10 when he arrived at the Tippit crime scene.

This HSCA document suggests that, after checking his watch, Bowley then had 6 minutes to to walk 100 yards to check the fallen officer, put Tippits revolver in the squad car, and talk to bystanders, some of whom were there before him. At 1.16, six minutes after Bowley's arrival, the police tapes show an attempt (by Benavides) to get through on Tippit's police radio.

If Jack or anyone can scan and post the actual HSCA document, that would be much appreciated. In the meantime, here is Jack White's summary:

QUOTE ON

Relevant to the Donald Willis Tippit postings is a newly obtained HSCA document

(RG233) of HSCA interview of Bowley, the gist of which I summarize:

1. Temple Ford BOWLEY lived in 1977 at 639 Buckner Blvd., Dallas

2. His 12-year old daughter was in the car with him when he stopped at the scene of

the Tippit shooting.

3. He stopped his car and went to the officer.

4. He used the officer*s radio to call headquarters.

5. He remained on the scene till officers arrived.

6. He made a formal written statement at Police Headquarters.

7. He had known Jack Ruby since the 1950s, when he worked at Ruby*s Silver Slipper.

8. He was driving a 1961 Tempest station wagon.

9. He was driving west on Tenth.

10. He observed Tippit lying on the street near the left front wheel.

11. He noticed people beginning to gather.

12. Another man, a Mexican male, also came to Tippit*s assistance at the same time.

13. A white female in a nurse uniform was standing across the street.

14. He stopped on the right side of Tenth, going west, about 100 yards from Tippit.

15. Tippit was lying on his right side with his face down.

16. Bowley rolled Tippit over on his back and could see he was dead.

17. (my emphasis) BOWLEY STATED THAT HE SAW NO BLOOD AND DID NOT KNOW THAT THE MAN

HAD BEEN SHOT AT THAT TIME. (!!!)

18. He found the officer*s revolver on the ground under him, near his right hand.

19. He picked up the gun and placed it on the front seat of the patrol car.

20. The Mexican man was trying to use the radio, but could not operate it.

21. Bowley took the radio from the Mexican and notified the dispatcher that an

officer had been shot and the location.

22. He remained at the scene till officers arrived. (He makes no mention of an

ambulance arrival).

23. While waiting for police, he talked to other witnesses who told him (emphasis

added) THAT THE SUSPECT RAN WEST ON TENTH TOWARD THE CHURCH.

24. Bowley stated that he worked for Jack Ruby from about 1951 to 1958, and that his

wife also was acquainted with Ruby and Ruby*s bookkeeper.

WELL, IT IS A SMALL SMALL WORLD. A FRIEND OF RUBY*S IS FIRST ON THE SCENE OF THE

TIPPIT SHOOTING. DESPITE A BIG BULLET WOUND IN TIPPIT*S RIGHT TEMPLE, BOWLEY DID NOT

KNOW THAT THE OFFICER HAD BEEN SHOT!!! HE SAW NO BLOOD!!! AND HIS VERSION OF THE

SHOOTER*S ESCAPE ROUTE WAS DIFFERENT THAN THE OFFICIAL VERSION. DESPITE BEING FIRST

ON THE SCENE AND STAYING TILL THE OFFICERS ARRIVED, HE MAKES NO MENTION OF THE

AMBULANCE ARRIVAL. STRANGE!

DONALD...HOPE THIS INFO HELPS YOUR TIPPIT/BOWLEY RESEARCH.

JACK WHITE

QUOTE OFF

BOWLEY, TEMPLE F. "TOM"

Sources: WC Vol. 24 (202, 254); Rush to Judgment, Lane (171-3, 186, 195); They've Killed the President, Anson (36); Accessories After the Fact, Meagher (254-255); On the Trail of the Assassins, Garrison, p. 196; Crossfire, Marrs, p. 348; The Assassination of JFK, Duffy & Ricci, pp. 85-86; Reasonable Doubt, Hurt, pp. 142, 144;

Mary's Comments: Shown as "Bewley" in error. Representative of Western Electric. Wife: Joyce. Joyce worked as barmaid at Vegas Club during time Bowley worked there as a doorman.

Among the many misspellings contained in the voluminous 26 Volumes of the Warren Commission Report, I find it interesting that "it" always seems to occur when it has to do with someone, whose accounts "clash" with the conclusions of said body........The old adage, comes to mind from the movie Casablance after the shooting of the Nazi officer by Bogart towards the end, where the Vichy officer ask's "Shall I round up the usual suspects.".........

Someone should integrate this piece into the Tippit reconstruct thread that was once so hot.....

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  • 3 years later...
  • 11 years later...

I interviewed T. F. (Temple Ford) Bowley at his

home in Dallas. He said it was the first interview

he had given since speaking to the authorities

earlier. He was forthcoming except on the full extent

of his involvement with Ruby. Jerry Rose theorized that the unusually

large number of Tippit witnesses connected

to Ruby could have been evidence that

Ruby set up the Tippit crime scene. But

Bowley and Markham (two of those connected

with Ruby) gave reports inconsistent

in some regards with the official theory.

Here is the section on my Bowley interview

from INTO THE NIGHTMARE:

Further verification of the actual time frame of the Tippit shooting came from Temple Ford (T. F.) Bowley, who was described by Meagher as “the only known witness who deliberately checked the time.” Bowley, who said he came upon the scene at 1:10, shortly after Tippit was shot, was not called to testify before the commission, and though he had talked with the police at the scene and gave an affidavit to the DPD on December 2, 1963, when we spoke at his Dallas home in December 1992, he had never before seen his affidavit. He also spoke to HSCA investigators, but he said our interview was the only one he had ever given in person to anyone else. (Bowley since then has become more visible, and in 2010 was honored by the DPD with a Citizen’s Certificate of Merit for his actions in reporting the Tippit shooting.)

Bowley told me that on November 22, 1963, he had just turned west onto East Tenth Street approaching the scene of the Tippit shooting after having picked up his twelve-year-old daughter, Kathryn, at school. They were headed toward a nearby telephone company office where his wife was working. He was driving to pick her up for a family vacation in San Antonio. He said he stopped his station wagon several houses down when he saw the officer lying on the street, “because I didn’t want my little girl to see all of it.” Kathryn Bowley Miles recalled in 2013 that she did see part of the crime scene and seemed to indicate that their car was closer to Tippit than her father remembered: “It was disturbing for a young girl to see a man lying in the street. As we pulled up to the police car I remember my daddy saying to me, ‘Stay in the car.’ I did stay in the car but we had pulled up just in front of the police cruiser so I was witness to this event and it has stayed with me all these years. My father NEVER talked about it and when asked about it his answers then (and even now) were terse.”

T. F. Bowley was familiar with first aid from working as an installer of business systems for telephone companies (he was an employee of Western Electric at the time), so he went to see if he could help the officer. He gathered that he had arrived “just momentarily” after the shooting but said that Tippit “was laying there when I turned the corner, so he may have been there five minutes, for all I know. I didn’t see him fall. People had already gathered, so some amount of time had elapsed. Now how much is anybody’s guess -- a couple of minutes at least. And then it took me a little bit of time to walk up there.

“I didn’t see the guy [the gunman] or hear any shots or anything. I just noticed the [squad] car was parked, and [Tippit] was laying beside it, and some other people had already got there before I did. I know [Tippit] hadn’t been there long, because people were still millin’ around like a bunch of startled goats. They said they’d seen the guy run down the street.” Asked in which direction he was told the man had run, Bowley said, “There were quite a few people saying different things at the time. All I remember is that it seemed like they said he had a tan jacket on and he run down the street thataway [i.e., going west down East Tenth]. I don’t recall any conversation other than that one guy had run.” Bowley remembered ten or twelve people being at the scene, including ones who fit the descriptions of two other important witnesses, Helen Markham and Domingo Benavides.

Bowley said, “At that time, of course, there was no association with what was going on downtown in my mind; it didn’t occur to me. The officer was lying by the left front wheel of his car. He was laying face down. We [he and another unidentified man] turned him over.” The other people “looked like they were all scared to touch him. In the excitement, I didn’t really notice wounds. I don’t recall seeing any wounds or blood. His eyes were open.” But Bowley could see that Tippit (who had been shot in the head and chest) was “beyond help” and appeared to be dead. He and other witnesses found Tippit’s service revolver lying under him, out of his holster, which made Bowley think “It looked like he had attempted to draw it.” Greg Lowrey, who talked with numerous witnesses, disputed the claim that Tippit had pulled his gun out of his holster, and pointed out that if the officer had not drawn his gun, it could indicate he was not wary of his killer when he left the car to talk with him.

Bowley told me it was he who put Tippit’s gun on the hood of the car and then moved it to the car seat. Another witness, Ted Callaway, a used-car salesman who was at his lot a little more than a block away when the shooting occurred, arrived after Bowley and also claimed to have removed the gun from under Tippit’s body and put it on the hood of the car. Callaway’s subsequent actions are, to say the least, questionable. According to a written statement Callaway signed for the police, he took the gun, commandeering a cab to go off in an unsuccessful pursuit of the gunman, thus breaking the chain of official custody on Tippit’s revolver. This is an incident Bowley did not remember witnessing; he expressed surprise when I showed him his police affidavit with his account of that incident with Callaway. Also differing from Bowley’s later recollection of picking up Tippit’s pistol and placing it on and then inside the car, the affidavit states, “As we picked the officer up, I noticed his pistol laying on the ground under him. Someone picked the pistol up and laid it on the hood of the squad car. When the ambulance left, I took the gun and put it inside the squad car. A man took the pistol out and said, ‘Let's catch him.’ He opened the cylinder, and I saw that no rounds in it had been fired. This man then took the pistol with him and got into a cab and drove off.” After reading the affidavit, Bowley told me, “I don’t remember that part about the pistol, I really don’t.” But he also told HSCA investigators in 1977 that he had picked up the pistol: “Recognizing the [dead] man as being a police officer Bowley stated he found the officer’s revolver on the ground under him. The weapon was out of its holster and near the officer’s right hand. Bowley picked the weapon up and placed it on the front seat of the scout [sic] car.” The report of that interview does not mention Callaway or his taking off with the gun, as Callaway himself admitted doing.

       Bowley told the police on December 2, 1963, that he checked his watch when he left his car to go to the scene and that the watch read 1:10. The affidavit begins,

 

On Friday November 22, 1963 I picked up my daughter at the R. L. Thornton School in Singing Hills at about 12:55 pm. I then left the school to pick up my wife who was at work at the Telephone Company at Ninth Street and Zangs Street. I was headed north on Marsalis and turned west on 10th Street. I traveled about a block and noticed a Dallas police squad car stopped in the traffic lane headed east on 10th Street. I saw a police officer lying next to the left front wheel. I stopped my car and got out to go to the scene. I looked at my watch and it said 1:10 pm.

 

In our interview, Bowley reiterated that he looked at his watch upon arriving at the scene of the shooting and saw that it read 1:10. But he was less certain about when he had looked at his watch. After reading what his affidavit said about the watch, he said, “I don’t recall that part of it, but I’m sure I did, if that’s what the statement said, because I gave that when it was fresh in my mind.” As for why he checked his watch, “Only reason I did that,” he told me with a laugh, “I was supposed to pick up my wife at a certain time, and I wondered if I was late.” He thought had been expected to pick her up at about 1 p.m., but added, “It seemed like I was supposed to pick her up at 1 o’clock, but then maybe it wasn’t. Shortly after 1 would have been right in the ballpark.”

After attending to the officer, Bowley found Domingo Benavides -- the closest witness to the actual shooting, who saw it from his pickup truck stopped across the street, fifteen feet from Tippit’s squad car -- trying to call in a report of the shooting on the radio in Tippit’s squad car. Benavides, an auto mechanic, was having difficulty doing so, and since Bowley had a professional familiarity with radios, he took charge. His report was recorded on the police radio at 1:16 p.m.: “Hello, police operator . . . We’ve had a shooting out here. On Tenth Street. Between Marsalis and Beckley. It’s a police officer. Somebody shot him . . . what’s this? . . . 404 Tenth Street.” Bowley estimated that he stayed at the shooting scene for no more than ten minutes, although that estimate appears to be a few minutes short. He said he was there when the ambulance arrived (at 1:19) from the Dudley M. Hughes Funeral Home at 400 East Jefferson Boulevard, only two and a half blocks from the scene of the crime, to pick up Tippit to take him to Methodist Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.  The first police unit reached the Tippit murder scene at 1:22; Bowley said he stayed and talked with officers for a few minutes before leaving to pick up his wife. [Later research shows that police officers may have

been on the scene when it occurred and shortly thereafter. -- JM]

Alterations appear in the records of Tippit’s official time of death, further complicating the question of the time of his shooting. At 3 p.m. on November 22, DPD Officer R. A. Davenport and Captain George M. Doughty signed a receipt for a slug and a uniform button removed from Tippit at the hospital at the department’s request; the slug and the button (which had been impacted by that bullet) were given to Davenport as evidence and transferred by him to Doughty. The document has a handwritten notation reading, “Dr. Paul Moellenhoff /Removed at 130/PM/ Methodist Emergency/ Dr. Richard Ligouri  Pronounced DOA @ 115/PM.” The “AUTHORIZED PERMIT FOR AUTOPSY” signed by Justice of the Peace Joe B. Brown, Jr., at 3 p.m. also lists Tippit as having been DOA at Methodist at 1:15. But the DPD Homicide Report against Oswald in the Tippit shooting typed at 5 p.m. on November 22 has the time the officer was pronounced DOA by Dr. Ligouri as 1:30. An undated “Supplementary Offense Report” by Officers Davenport and W. R. Bardin seems to show the time of Tippit being pronounced dead by Dr. Ligouri as 1:00 or 1:06 but with the time being typed over to look like 1:16; none of those times appears plausible, given the other records. A November 29, 1963, FBI report of an interview with Dr. Ligouri by Special Agent Robert C. Lish has Tippit being pronounced dead at 1:25, but the “2” is higher than the other numbers and appears to have been typed in separately. (This was one of numerous such alterations that appear in significant documents pertaining to events involving Tippit, Oswald, and Kennedy. The Tippit Homicide Report has the “Time Reported” listed as “1:18pm” but appearing to be typed over a time of “128pm,” apparently to conform with that document’s listing of the time the event [supposedly] occurred, 1:18.)

When Dallas Morning News reporter Earl Golz interviewed Lottie Thompson, an emergency room nurse at Methodist Hospital who was present when Tippit was pronounced DOA, she said the FBI had contacted Dr. Moellenhoff repeatedly about the discrepancy in the report of the time of the pronouncement. Thompson claimed that the large clock in the emergency room, which she said was used to mark the time Tippit was DOA, was fifteen minutes slow, and the hospital maintenance department had not gotten around to fixing it. While it is possible that the clock may have been off, a fifteen-minute discrepancy sounds suspiciously extreme and suggests that the hospital personnel may well have been pressured to change the time (much as the doctors at Parkland Hospital were pressured to change their initial report of Kennedy’s throat wound being a wound of entrance).

The time recorded by the police dispatcher when Bowley called in the report of the Tippit shooting (1:16) makes a later time than 1:15 for Tippit being DOA likely, but Bowley’s call and the time of the ambulance arrival and its quick departure from the scene suggest that the officer was pronounced DOA closer to 1:25 than to 1:30. According to Myers’s book, Mary (Mrs. Frank) Wright, who lived on the block where Tippit was shot, also called in a report of the shooting by telephone to the DPD at 1:18, which was relayed to the Dudley Hughes Funeral Home. The ambulance attendants (Jasper Clayton Butler and William [Eddie] Kinsley) who picked up Tippit reported on the police radio that they arrived on East Tenth Street at 1:19, only about thirty seconds after the call was recorded. But the trip ticket at the funeral home, with a time stamp reportedly showing the call at 1:18, has disappeared. Butler, who drove the ambulance, said in a 1977 interview with HSCA investigators that the last time the ticket was seen was in about 1965, and that in 1964, he had copied it for representatives of Life magazine. Butler said, “I was on the scene one minute or less. From the time we received the call in our dispatch office until Officer Tippit was pronounced dead at Methodist Hospital was approximately four minutes.” That would make the time he was pronounced DOA about 1:22 or perhaps within a couple of minutes later.

On the police radio at 1:26, an officer says, “NBC News is reporting DOA,” to which the dispatcher replies, “That’s correct.” In the midst of some confusion, when the dispatcher is asked to clarify whether that NBC report meant Tippit or Kennedy was DOA, he replies, “J. D. Tippit.” Kennedy’s death, although widely rumored for some minutes on network radio reports, was not officially announced until 1:33 by White House Assistant Secretary Malcolm Kilduff at Parkland Hospital and was given as “approximately one o’clock,” although he probably had died ten minutes before that. It strains credibility that NBC could have learned that Tippit was DOA within only one minute of the officer being pronounced dead, so that also makes a time earlier than 1:25 more likely for when the doctor at Methodist Hospital pronounced him DOA.

After Bowley said in our interview that he looked at his watch upon arriving at the scene of the Tippit shooting and saw the time as 1:10, he seemed to reconsider the sequence of that memory, saying that he might have checked the watch a few minutes after his arrival, which would make the time of the shooting even earlier than 1:10, as another witness originally reported. Bowley said he may have looked at the watch “I guess when I radioed in . . . because I was really concerned, you know, because I had to pick up my wife. That’s how the time got involved, because I was supposed to pick her up. I may have looked at it when I stopped my car. I just honestly don’t remember. Well, you know you don’t place much importance on things like that.”

Asked if his watch was reliable, Bowley laughed and said, “Best I remember. I usually have pretty good watches.” But he conceded that “it could have been five minutes off.” When I told him that his observation of his watch was important because there is dispute about the time of the shooting, he admitted, “I had never heard there was. As a matter of fact, I have never heard the time mentioned before.”

Despite Bowley’s honest confusion after the passage of twenty-nine years about when he had checked his watch, it seems likely that his account given in December 1963, that he did so shortly after leaving his car, is the most reliable version. Bowley’s concern about meeting his wife would have made it natural for him to check his watch when he experienced the initial delay caused by seeing the officer lying in the street. If he checked his watch at 1:10, and the officer had just been shot, that would be in approximate range with another eyewitness report of the time of the shooting as being about 1:06 or 1:07 (probably a couple of minutes too early; see below) as well as with the last reported transmissions by Tippit from his squad car shortly after that. The delay of several minutes between Bowley checking his watch and calling in the report at 1:16 is consistent with Bowley’s explanation of how he had to come to the aid of Domingo Benavides. Benavides told the Warren Commission that he had “set there for just a few minutes” in his pickup truck after the shooting because he was afraid the gunman might come back and “might start shooting again.” After he left his truck, Benavides had trouble trying to operate the radio in Tippit’s squad car, so Bowley made the transmission.

Tippit’s last two transmissions on the police radio were both reported to have been at 1:08 and probably were further evidence of the approximate time of the shooting. He was attempting to reach the dispatcher, who did not respond to his call number, “78” (78 was his assigned district, four miles from where he was shot). Greg Lowrey, who has studied the case on the scene as thoroughly as anybody else, told me he believed Tippit was shot at 1:08. Another key Tippit researcher, Larry Ray Harris, allowing a brief time for Tippit to get out of his car and confront the pedestrian, told me he thought the shooting probably occurred at 1:09. Tippit’s calls around that time (which were unacknowledged by the police dispatcher) could have been to try to report that he was getting out of the car to investigate a suspect, although it is unclear how Tippit could have recognized Oswald as a suspect from the conflicting and generalized physical descriptions earlier broadcast on the police radio.

 

 

Edited by Joseph McBride
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Here's the Dallas Morning News article on Bowley from 2010:

 

 

Dallas to Honor T.F. Bowley-Man Who Radioed Police After J.D. Tippit Murdered (Video)

 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Temple F. Bowley's life changed forever when he came upon a Dallas police officer lying dead in an Oak Cliff street on Nov. 22, 1963.

 

"You don't run upon a dead man every day," Bowley said. J.D. Tippit was the dead officer. His killer was Lee Harvey Oswald, the man accused of assassinating President John F. Kennedy 45 minutes earlier.

 

Bowley was on the way to pick up his wife from work when he discovered Tippit's body face down in the middle of East 10th Street. Without hesitation, he climbed into the officer's car and used the police radio to report the shooting. Officers poured into Oak Cliff and quickly arrested Oswald at the Texas Theatre.

 

On Monday, 47 years after the most chaotic day in Dallas history, Bowley will be recognized for the small role he played in it. Dallas Police Chief David Brown will welcome Bowley into his office and present him with a Citizen's Certificate of Merit. "I don't deserve the recognition," said Bowley, now an 82-year-old retiree living in East Dallas. "It was just the thing to do. The radio was there and it was connected to the Police Department, and that's who I needed to talk to."

 

The story of Bowley's connection to the JFK assassination saga ends with Tippit's murder. But that's not where it begins. It turned out that Bowley had spent several years in the 1950s moonlighting as a doorman for Dallas nightclub operator Jack Ruby, who made history when he shot Oswald to death on live television two days after the Kennedy assassination. "I knew Jack well, but half the people in Dallas knew Jack," he said. "He was a tough little cookie, but he would give you the shirt off his back."

 

Bowley can't recall how many years he worked for Ruby at the Silver Spur over on South Ervay Street, or exactly which years he worked there. But ever since Nov. 22, 1963, he has worried that the connection somehow might cast suspicion on him. "It crossed my mind, yes," he said.

 

'We've had a shooting'

 

In 1963, Bowley's main job was supervising a crew of telephone installers for Western Electric Co., which manufactured communications equipment.

 

On Friday, Nov. 22, he and his family were about to head to San Antonio for vacation. He planned to go deer hunting in South Texas and was carrying three rifles in the back of his 1961 Pontiac Tempest station wagon.

 

First, he picked up his 12-year-old daughter, Kathy, from school. Then, he headed to pick up his wife at her office in Oak Cliff. The car radio crackled with news about shots fired at the presidential motorcade as it passed through Dealey Plaza, on the western edge of downtown Dallas. Kennedy was dead, the reports said. Bowley was nearing his wife's office when he saw Tippit's parked car pointed toward him – the driver's door wide open and the officer's body lying next to the driver's-side front tire. "I stopped maybe 30 to 50 yards away and told Kathy to stay in the car," he said.

 

Oswald was long gone by then. But Domingo Benavides had seen the shooting a couple of minutes earlier and remained at the scene. As Bowley approached Tippit's car, he instinctively knew the officer was dead. Later, an autopsy found four gunshot wounds – three in the chest and a kill shot in the right temple.

 

Benavides was in the patrol car, frantically trying to call for help on the police radio. Instead of running to a nearby house to use a landline, Bowley saved precious minutes by taking control of the radio immediately. "He couldn't figure out how to key the mike," Bowley said. "I was familiar with the equipment, so I took it and made the call." A recording of the conversation between Bowley and dispatcher Murray Jackson was preserved for investigators.

 

"Hello, police operator!" Bowley begins.

"Go ahead. Go ahead, citizen using the police ...," Jackson says before Bowley interrupts.

"We've had a shooting out here."

"Where's it at?"

Bowley looks around to get his bearings.

"The citizen using the police radio ...," Jackson starts to say.

"On 10th Street," Bowley responds.

"What location on 10th Street?"

"Between Marsalis and Beckley. It's a police officer. Somebody shot him. What? What's this?"

Somebody at the scene tells Bowley the exact address.

"404 East 10th Street," he tells the dispatcher.

 

Kathryn Bowley Miles, now 59, remembers the excitement of that day – seeing the body on the street, her father's admonition to stay in the car and the subsequent frenzy around the scene. It surprises her, she said, that he is now willing to talk about the incident. "He didn't even want to talk to his friends about it," she said. "He just never talked about it."

 

And he had never returned to the spot on East 10th until last week, when The Dallas Morning News asked him to be photographed for this story. "Maybe this will finally be the end of it," he said, while posing for the cameras in the middle of the street.

 

'I just caught a glimpse'

 

History records the time of JFK's murder as 12:30 p.m. Investigators would later say the shots came from the Texas School Book Depository, where Oswald worked. Oswald had left the building shortly after the shooting and caught a bus to Oak Cliff. He was walking down 10th Street when Tippit drove up next to him.

 

Investigators believe Tippit had heard a description of the Kennedy murder suspect on his police radio, and the man on the sidewalk fit the description. Witnesses said Oswald leaned down to talk to Tippit through his passenger-side window. Oswald must have said something to arouse suspicion. Tippit got out of the car and was gunned down about 1:15 p.m. "By the time we got there, Oswald had already fled," Bowley said.

 

When police arrived at the Tippit murder scene, Bowley told them what he had seen and what he had done. Officers took his information and sent him on his way, saying he could be interviewed in depth later.

 

But Bowley didn't head to San Antonio immediately. He heard police sirens screaming and drove west on Jefferson Boulevard to investigate. "I wanted to see what was going on like any other nosy person," he said.

 

The commotion in front of the Texas Theatre drew his attention. He parked and got out of his car just in time to see officers bringing the handcuffed Oswald out of the theater. "I just caught a glimpse of them putting him in the squad car," Bowley said.

 

'His role is huge'

 

When you add it all up, what significance can historians place on Bowley's role in the assassination story? A life of 82 years consists of 29,930 days, or 718,320 hours. He spent 30 minutes of that life dealing with the Tippit murder on Nov. 22, 1963. And, yet, in some way, it has dominated everything else. "I'm just damn tired of it," he said.

 

Farris Rookstool III is a former analyst for the FBI and a self-described expert on the Kennedy assassination. He campaigned for more than a year to get the Dallas Police Department to award Bowley its Citizen's Certificate of Merit.

 

Rookstool characterizes the Tippit murder as "the Rosetta Stone" that tied Oswald to the Kennedy assassination. "The whole component of Bowley getting on the radio is what got the police headed in that direction and allowed them to close in on Oswald quickly," Rookstool said. "His role is huge, in my opinion. And it's the right thing to do to honor him."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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