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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. XII - Page 354« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Don Francis Steele)

Mr. Hubert.
early that morning to pick up some correspondence, telegrams, and things like that, to take to Officer Tippit's widow.
Mr. Hubert.
And what time was that?
Sergeant STEELE. That was approximately 9:15.
Mr. Hubert.
What happened after that?
Sergeant STEELE. Well, the captain was bringing in some of the patrolmen from in the field, from all the stations, and I asked Lieutenant Pierce if there was anything he needed me to do before I left, and he said, "Well--" told me I'd

better stick around for a while. He might need me.
Mr. Hubert.
Did you do anything later on?
Sergeant STEELE. Well, I stayed there and in the patrol office for 15 or 20 minutes, and then the captain came
Mr. Hubert.
Which captain?
Sergeant STEELE. Captain Talbert, C. E. Talbert. He told me to come on and go with him, and he wanted to look the situation over outside. We walked down the stairs to the first floor where the corporation court is located and out the door on the Commerce Street--and there were several--they blocked those buildings directly across the street from the police building. He told me to get a man, or get as many people as I needed and check the buildings over there to make sure that there weren't any doors open, or somebody wasn't concealed inside the building. I got a patrolman, I believe it was Officer Jez. We went over there, checked all the doors in the front. They were all secure. We climbed. up the fire escape and checked the roofs of all of the buildings directly across from the vehicular exit on the Commerce Street.
Mr. Hubert.
When that was completed, what did you do?
Sergeant STEELE. Not much of anything for a while. Stayed down there in the basement for I guess 30 or 40 minutes and .everything was kind of at a standstill.
Mr. Hubert.
What time was that?
Sergeant STEELE. About the time I finished checking the buildings, and everything, I guess it was--now, wait a minute. Excuse me. Then I reported--after I checked those buildings, I reported to Captain Talbert that there was a large crowd of pedestrians on the sidewalk right outside of the vehicular route, and he told me to get some men, some reserve officers if I could, and move them across the street onto the south side of Commerce Street.
Mr. Hubert.
Did you do that?
Sergeant STEELE. Yes, I got five reserve officers and took them out there and told them what I wanted them to do. Helped them do it. Moved all the pedestrians across over to the south side of the street, and I stationed two of them at the corner of Harwood and Commerce, the northeast corner, with instructions to restrict any pedestrian traffic. In other words, not to allow them to come back to that vehicular exit, and I put two more down at Pearl and Commerce Street, and one at the door to city hall with the same instructions.
Mr. Hubert.
That is the Commerce
Sergeant STEELE. The municipal building. The nearest door to the municipal building.
Mr. Hubert.
Did you place any on the Main Street door to the municipal building?
Sergeant STEELE. No, sir; I never got to the Main Street.
Mr. Hubert.
Did you place any officers to direct traffic at the intersection of Main and Pearl, or to control traffic ?
Sergeant STEELE Well, we started--can I go on?
Mr. Hubert.
Yes; surely.
Sergeant STEELE. Well, we'll get to that. After I got these reserve people put out, as I say, I got down--went down in the basement and talked to the captain for a few minutes. And I stood around and things were kind of at a standstill there. There was lots of television and camera people in there, and about 10:30, I guess, the captain told Sergeant Dean, who related to myself and Sergeant Putnam that they would bring this armored car in and the armored car was going to go down Main Street to the county Jail and he said to get all the regular patrol officers, all the regular officers and assign them to traffic intersections, traffic corners.
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