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John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy Onassis arriving in Dallas, Texas, in November 1963 shortly before JFK's assassination. (Reuters)
John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy Onassis arriving in Dallas, Texas, in November 1963 shortly before JFK's assassination. (Reuters)

Three surprising details from the JFK assassination – and why they matter Add to ...

1 p.m. Kennedy is pronounced dead. At the time, he is the fourth American president to be assassinated and the first to be killed under Secret Service protection.

1:15 p.m. Oswald is stopped by police officer J.S. Tippit, who he kills before running off, pistol in hand.

1:22 p.m. Police discover a rifle and three cartridge cases on sixth floor of the depository. The rifle had been purchased through a Chicago mail-order house by Oswald under the name Alek James Hidell.

1:50 p.m. Oswald is arrested at Texas Theatre.

2:38 p.m. Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in aboard Air Force One by judge Sarah Hughes. This is first and only time a woman has sworn in an American president.

Two days later, Oswald is killed while in police custody by nightclub owner Jack Ruby.

In 1978, an investigation by the House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations concludes fourth shot was fired from grassy knoll – in other words, Oswald didn’t act alone.

THE MAGIC BULLET

Though reports said two bullets hit Kennedy, the Warren Commission investigation found only one bullet, in pristine condition, which helped spark a number of conspiracy theories about what really happened. The first of the shots fired hit Kennedy in the back at a speed of 550 metres per second, exiting through his throat. That bullet then hit Connally in his shoulder, travelling through his chest, hitting his right wrist and embedding itself in his left thigh. The second bullet caused Kennedy’s fatal head wound.

THE ZAPRUDER FILM

There were no news crews following the presidential motorcade; journalists were waiting for Kennedy at his next stop, the Dallas Trade Mart. But Abraham Zapruder, a Texas manufacturer of women’s clothing, captured Kennedy’s assassination in a 26-second film filmed from the Dealey Plaza’s grassy knoll. The film begins with the motorcade waving at the crowds assembled along Elm Street. Kennedy then stops waving and begins clutching his throat as Secret Service agents rush to his aid.

Life magazine purchased the rights to the film for $150,000, under the condition that a portion of the frames showing the assassination be kept from public view because of their graphic nature. Eventually the film was sold back to the Zapruder family for $1, who then sold it to the U.S. government for $16-million in 1999.

SECOND SHOOTER

An investigation undertaken in 1978 by the House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations said it was likely that two shooters fired at the president from different locations. The committee also concluded that it was probable that four, not three, bullets were fired, with the fourth coming from a shooter stationed at the grassy knoll. However, it is believed that the fourth shot missed the president.

JOHN F. KENNEDY, BY THE NUMBERS

35 - John F. Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States

43 - Mr. Kennedy’s age when he was elected president, the youngest ever to this day

46 - His age when he was assassinated

1,063 days - How long he served as president

12 - Number of hours police spent questioning Lee Harvey Oswald before he was killed, according to the Warren Commission

889 - Number of pages in the original Warren Report, the findings of Warren Commission, the first investigation of the assassination. There were an additional 26 volumes of documents, and 3,000 exhibits from the investigation.

61 - The percentage of Americans who believe the assassination involved some kind of conspiracy, according to a Gallup poll released last week

5,800 - Number of books with “Kennedy” in the subject or author heading at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Cambridge, Mass.

10,000 to 40,000 - Estimated number of books published about Kennedy or conspiracy theories

With files from Tara Deschamps

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