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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. VII - Page 359« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Forrest V. Sorrels)

Mr. Sorrels.
expression goes, took over. I would almost every time I went up there, definitely after the 22d, I would have to identify myself to get in past the entrance of the elevator on the third floor, if I was going to the chief's office or the deputy chief's office or Captain Fritz' office. You would have to elbow your way through, and step over tripods and cables and wires, and every time almost that I would come out of Captain Fritz's office, the minute the door opened, they would flash on those bright lights, and I got where I just shadowed my eyes when I walked down there to keep the light from shining in my eyes. They had cables run through one of the deputy chief's office, right through the windows from the street up the side of the building, across the floor, out to the boxes where they could get power--they had wires running out of that, had the wires taped down to keep people from actually falling or stumbling over the wires. And it was just a condition that you can hardly explain. It was just almost indescribable.
I know at one time when Mr. Jim Underwood of KRLD, that is the Dallas Time Herald Television Station down there, was in Captain Fritz' office with Jack Ruby's sister, and a lady friend of hers, trying to arrange for her to get up to talk to Jack Ruby, that the police officer who was stationed at the door to the detective's office had a terrific time keeping them--I thought they were going to barge on in there. They were yelling like mad--because Mr. Underwood was in there, and one of them was there yelling--"if he has got a right to be in here, we have a right to be in there."
Just as loud as he could. And Mr. Underwood had to leave Captain Fritz' office and say, "Listen, fellows, I am not going upstairs. I am trying to make arrangements for this woman to see her brother--I am not going upstairs."
That was just the situation you were booked up against there.
And, of course, every time you would turn around, they would ask me something, and I would say, "No comment, I don't have any comment to make."
And I don't think at any time you will see that there is any statement made by the newspapers or television that we said anything because Mr. Kelley, the Inspector, told me "Any information that is given out will have to come from Inspector Peterson in Washington."
Finally, after they found out I would not say anything, they didn't bother me any more.
Many times when I would be going into the third floor area there, they would start to stop me, and a lot of the guys that would know me would say, "That is Sorrels of the Secret Service."
That happened more than once.
And, of course, I would have to go ahead and identify myself. The officers that were on duty that had seen me before would recognize me and pass me through.
Mr. Stern.
Can you estimate how many press representatives there were in that corridor?
Mr. Sorrels.
I am not too good in estimating anything like that, but there were dozens of them.
Mr. Stern.
Was any effort made to restrict them to a far part of the corridor, or to remove them from the floor entirely that you know of?
Mr. Sorrels.
Not that I know of.
Mr. Stern.
Did you ever learn why this was not done did you ever ask?
Mr. Sorrels.
No, I did not. I just thought to myself--well, if this was being handled in a Federal building, this situation would not exist. That is what I thought.
But, of course, that is a public building. I thought to myself--well, they are in here, and the chief would have a heck of a time getting them out That is just my own thoughts about the thing, because I do know that the Dallas Police Department, the Dallas Sheriff's Office, they do try to go along with the press and everything like that.
After this thing happened, Mr. Felix McKnight, who I mentioned before, who is a personal friend of mine, executive editor of the Dallas Times Herald, he said to me, "Forrest, those people should have been out of there, and that includes us."
Of course the thing was all over then. I would imagine that Chief Curry
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