Who Assassinated President Kennedy?
President John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s assassin in 1963 is generally assumed to have been Lee Harvey Oswald, a 24-year-old-self-styled Marxist. The police evidence is that both the bullets that hit the President were fired by Oswald from a sixth-floor window. John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was traveling with his wife, Jacqueline, Texas Governor John Connally, and Connally’s wife, Nellie.
The 46-year-old President and his wife Jacqueline had come to Dallas, Texas, on a speaking tour and were on their way in a motorcade to attend an official lunch when the fatal shots were fired at 12.30 p.m. on November 22. Kennedy’s death was announced officially at 1.30 pm. And Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the new President before flying back to Washington.
Lee Oswald, who was arrested shortly after the shooting, was being transferred to Dallas county Jail on November 24, when Jack ruby, a 52-years old nightclub operator, shot and killed him at close range in full view of a nationwide television audience. So the evidence against Oswald was never allowed to be tested publicly in a court of law. This led to a spate of theories that Oswald was not really the assassin or that he had accomplices, but these have since been largely discounted.
A ten-month investigation from November 1963 to September 1964 by the Warren Commission concluded that Oswald acted alone in shooting Kennedy, and that Jack Ruby also acted alone when he killed Oswald before he could stand trial. Kennedy’s death marked the fourth (following Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley) and most recent assassination of an American President. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson became President upon Kennedy’s death, when he took the constitutionally prescribed oath of office onboard Air Force One at Dallas Love Field before departing for Washington, D.C.
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 sustained by Kennedy and Connally were caused by Oswald’s three rifle shots, but they also determined the existence of additional gunshots based on analysis of an 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 conspiracy. In addition, the HSCA found that the original federal investigations were “seriously flawed” in respect of 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 Justice Department has concluded active investigations, stating “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. Polling in 2013 showed that 60% of Americans believe that a group of conspirators was responsible for the assassination.