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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. VII - Page 345« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Forrest V. Sorrels)

Mr. Sorrels.
Then I looked back to the right.
Mr. Stern.
How close was the President's car?
Mr. Sorrels.
At that time we were probably, oh, I would say, several car lengths ahead of it, because we had begun to pick up speed.
Mr. Stern.
You think somewhat further than you estimated before?
Mr. Sorrels.
As we came around Houston, yes, sir; came around on Houston, yes, because we had begun to pick up speed there. And I remember Mr. Lawson turned around and said, "I wish he would come on, because we are late now," or words to that effect.
And I expressed to him, I said, "Oh, we are not going to be very late."
And I looked at my watch, and it was just about 12:30.
And I said, "We are not going to be over 5 minutes late," and the Chief of Police, I believe, spoke up and said, "We are about 5 minutes away now."
And so they called on the radio to the Trade Mart that we were 5 minutes away.
And it seemed like almost instantly after that, the first shot was heard.
Mr. Stern.
Now, did you recognize it at the time as a shot?
Mr. Sorrels.
I felt it was, because it was too sharp for a backfire of an automobile. And, to me, it appeared a little bit too loud for a firecracker.
I just said, "What's that?" And turned around to look up on this terrace part there, because the sound sounded like it came from the back and up in that direction.
At that time, I did not look back up to the building, because it was way back in the back.
Within about 3 seconds, there were two more similar reports. And I said, "Let's get out of here" and looked back, all the way back, then, to where the President's car was, and I saw some confusion, movement there, and the car just seemed to lunch forward.
And, in the meantime, a motorcycle officer had run up on the right-hand side and the chief yelled to him, "Anybody hurt?"
He said, "Yes."
He said, "Lead us to the hospital."
And the chief took his microphone and told them to alert the hospital, and said, "Surround the building." He didn't say what building. He just said, "Surround the building." And by that time we had gotten almost in under the underpass, and the President's car had come up and was almost abreast of us.
When I saw them get so close, I said, "Let's get out quick," or "Get going fast," or something to that effect. In other words, I didn't want them to pass us, because I knew we were supposed to be in front.
And that is when they floor-boarded the accelerator on the police car and we got out in front. And someone yelled loudly to go to the nearest hospital.
Mr. Stern.
Let's stop there and go back, and then we will pick up again.
You testified that you heard three reports?
Mr. Sorrels.
Yes, sir.
Mr. Stern.
Are you pretty certain about that?
Mr. Sorrels.
Mr. Stern.
And no more and no fewer?
Mr. Sorrels.
No, sir.
Mr. Stern.
Can you you tell us anything about the spacing of these reports?
Mr. Sorrels.
Yes. There was to me about twice as much time between the first and second shots as there was between the second and third shots.
Mr. Stern.
Can you estimate the overall time from the first shot to the third shot?
Mr. Sorrels.
Yes. I have called it out to myself, I have timed it, and I would say it was very, very close to 6 seconds.
Mr. Stern.
It sounds like you can still hear the shots.
Mr. Sorrels.
I will hear them forever--it is something I cannot wipe from my mind ever.
Mr. Stern.
And you had little doubt that this was gunfire at the time?
Mr. Sorrels.
After--as I said before, on the first shot, it was too sharp to be a backfire of an automobile. It just didn't sound like that at all. And then, of course, the other two coming as quickly as they did, and the confusion,
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