His Memoir May Change Narrative of JFK Assassination

Ex-Secret Agent Paul Landis' memory of finding bullet in limo could support theory of a second gunman
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2023 6:35 AM CDT
Agent's Memoir May Change Narrative of JFK Assassination
In this Nov. 22, 1963 file photo, President John F. Kennedy waves from his car in a motorcade in Dallas.   (AP Photo/Jim Altgens, File)

Sixty years after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the memoir of a Secret Service agent who was there may change a key part of the narrative, reports the New York Times. The memoir is by Paul Landis, now 88, whose account challenges the idea that a single bullet killed JFK and then wounded Texas Gov. John B. Connally. Skeptics have long derided that theory as the "magic bullet." As Peter Baker of the Times explains, the Warren Commission settled on this theory in part because the bullet was found on the hospital stretcher on which Connally was believed to have been carried, and it was assumed it had exited his body as he was being moved around. But Landis, for the first time, asserts that he actually found that same bullet in the back seat of the the presidential limo, where JFK had been sitting.

In The Final Witness, out next month, Landis writes that he spotted the bullet after JFK's motorcade arrived at the hospital and the president had been removed from the limo. "This was all going on so quickly," he tells Baker. "And I was just afraid that—it was a piece of evidence, that I realized right away. Very important. And I didn't want it to disappear or get lost. So it was, 'Paul, you've got to make a decision,' and I grabbed it.'" He says he brought the bullet inside the hospital and placed it on JFK's stretcher next to the president. He now assumes it shifted onto Connally's stretcher when the two stretchers were pushed together in the chaos and commotion.

The significance? "If what he says is true, which I tend to believe, it is likely to reopen the question of a second shooter, if not even more," says James Robenalt, a lawyer who has written multiple books on the assassination. Landis' account suggests a separate bullet struck Connally, and Robenalt is among those who argue that Lee Harvey Oswald would not have been able to reload that fast. Landis left the Secret Service soon after the killing and says he didn't realize until 2014 that his memory differed with the official account. Read the full story, which notes that aspects of the new account are at odds with Landis' own written statements after the shooting. And another agent at the scene—Clint Hill, who famously climbed onto the back of the limo—is skeptical. (More JFK assassination stories.)

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