JFK 50: Remembering the Kennedy Assassination

JFK 50: Remembering the Kennedy Assassination

JFK 50: Remembering the Kennedy Assassination

Officer J.D. Tippit Shot at 10th and Patton Avenue

By Frank Heinz
|  Wednesday, Sep 4, 2013  |  Updated 10:21 AM CDT
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Officer Tippit Shot, Killed at 10th & Patton Avenue

Stefan Gorman, NBC 5 News

A replica of officer J.D. Tippit's patrol car was recently restored and put on display at Dallas police headquarters.

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After leaving his rooming house at 1026 N. Beckley Avenue at about 1:03 p.m., Lee Harvey Oswald was next spotted near where Dallas police patrolman J.D. Tippit was shot and killed.

According to the Warren Report, officer Tippit patrolled district No. 78 in Oak Cliff and, following the assassination, had been moved to a more central area to be ready for any emergency.

At 12:44 p.m., 12:48 p.m. and 12:55 p.m., Dallas police had radioed a description of a man wanted in connection with the assassination, "described as a white male, approximately 30, slender build, height 5 foot 10 inches, weight 165 pounds."

At about 1:15 p.m., as Tippit drove east on 10th Street, he spotted a man matching that description walking east along Patton Avenue and called him over to his car. The man and the officer exchanged words through the right front window.  At 1:16 p.m., Tippit got out of the car and, as he walked toward the front of the vehicle, the man pulled out a gun and fired several shots. Tippit was struck four times and died at the scene.

According to at least a dozen witnesses who saw and heard the shooting, the gunman started back toward Patton Avenue as he reloaded his gun.

According to the Warren Report, "At least 12 persons saw the man with the revolver in the vicinity of the Tippit crime scene at or immediately after the shooting. By the evening of November 22, five of them had identified Lee Harvey Oswald in police lineups as the man they saw. A sixth did so the next day. Three others subsequently identified Oswald from a photograph. Two witnesses testified that Oswald resembled the man they had seen. One witness felt he was too distant from the gunman to make a positive identification."

Taxi driver William Scoggins was eating lunch while parked on Patton Avenue.  He testified he saw the officer's patrol car pass by and eventually pull up on the pedestrian. Though Scoggins said he had a limited view, he said he saw the officer get out of the car, heard gunshots and saw the officer fall. Hiding behind his cab, he saw the gunman pass him while muttering either "Poor damn cop" or "Poor dumb cop."  In a lineup, Scoggins later identified that man as Lee Harvey Oswald.

Another witness, Domingo Benavides, was driving west on 10th Street when he saw the officer and pedestrian standing by the police car.  Benavides then heard three shots and saw the officer fall.  Benavides said he saw the man running from the scene while reloading his gun.  After the gunman turned the corner, Benavides went to the police car and used the radio to notify police of the shooting.  He later pointed out where he saw the gunman drop the empty shell casings.  Benavides said he never got a good look at the gunman but did later say a photo of Oswald resembled the man he saw shoot the officer.

The Warren Report lists several other witnesses who all identified Oswald as a man they saw running in the area, toward Jefferson Boulevard, with a revolver.

When Oswald was later arrested, he was carrying a Smith & Wesson .38 Special revolver.  Forensics testing later confirmed that weapon was the one used to kill officer Tippit.

Source: Archives.gov - The Killing of Patrolman J.D. Tippit

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