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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. VI - Page 169« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of James Robert Underwood)

Mr. UNDERWOOD. After we turned onto Houston Street, the car I was in was about, as far as I can remember, about in the middle of the block or a little bit north of the center of the block, which is a short block, when I heard the first shot.

Mr. Ball.
Between Main and Elm?
Mr. Underwood.
Yes; between Main and Elm, closer to the Elm intersection, Elm and Houston intersection, when I heard the first shot fired. I thought it was an explosion. I have heard many rifles fired but it did not sound like a rifle to me. Evidently must have been a reverberation from the buildings .or something. I believe I said to one of the other fellows it sounds like a giant firecracker and the car I was in was about in the intersection of Elm and Houston when I heard a second shot fired and moments later a third shot fired and I realized that they were by that time, the last two shots, I realized they were coming from overhead.
Mr. BALL You realized they were coming from overhead and that would be from what source?
Mr. UNDERWOOD. That would be from the Texas School Book Depository Building.
Mr. Ball.
It sounded like they were coming from that direction?

Mr. UNDERWOOD. Yes, sir; the last two. Now, the first was just a loud explosion but it sounded like a giant firecracker or something had gone off. By the time the third shot was fired, the car I was in stopped almost through the intersection in front of the Texas School Book Depository Building and I leaped out of the car before the car stopped. Bob Jackson from the Herald said he thought he saw a rifle in the window and I looked where he pointed and I saw nothing. Below the window he was pointing at, I saw two colored men leaning out there with their heads turned toward the top of the building, trying, I suppose, to determine where the shots were coming from.
Mr. Ball.
What words did you hear Bob Jackson say?
Mr. UNDERWOOD. I don't know that I can remember exactly except I did hear him say words to the effect that "I saw a rifle" and I looked at that instant and I saw nothing myself. If he saw a rifle, I did not.
Mr. Ball.
At that point when you looked, where was your car?

Mr. UNDERWOOD. Our car was in the intersection, in the intersection of Elm and Houston Street.
Mr. Ball.
Had it made the turn yet?
Mr. UNDERWOOD. It had partially made the turn or had just begun to make the turn. Frankly, I was looking up and around and I saw at the same time people falling on the ground down the street toward the underpass and my first impression was some of these people falling to the ground had been shot.
Mr. Ball.
Did your car stop?

Mr. UNDERWOOD. Our car stopped and the minute it stopped I leaped out of the car.
Mr. Ball.
Where was your car when it stopped?
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Right in the intersection, perhaps just past the intersection, turned onto Elm.
Mr. Ball.
Did you get out before the car parked along the curb?
Mr. Underwood.
Yes, sir; the minute it stopped, I leaped over the side.
Mr. Ball.
What did you do?

Mr. UNDERWOOD. I left my camera in the car, the camera that was broken, and ran as fast as I could back toward the man we had at Record and Main in order to get a camera. There I was without a camera; the only thought I had was to get a camera.
Mr. Ball.
Did you get one?
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Yes; I ran the full block back to Main Street and our man there, name of Sanderson, was running down Main toward Houston. He was running to meet me, although he didn't know what was happening and that my camera was broke. Suddenly, motorcycles and sirens had been turned on police cars and were all headed toward Main. I met him just around the corner on Main past Houston and grabbed his camera and said, "Someone had been shooting at the President." I didn't know this but I assumed it happened. I
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