President John F. Kennedy is shot and killed as his motorcade drives through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Kennedy’s suspected assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was believed to have used a mail-order rifle in order to shoot the president from the sixth story window of the Texas School Book Depository.
Oswald was a former Marine with a record of bizarre behavior. In 1959, he defected to Russia after years of obsessive interest in communism. He spent three years there before becoming disaffected and returning to the United States in 1962. Upon his return, he became involved with several political fringe groups and developed an intense interest in Cuba and Fidel Castro.
On November 22, several people claimed to have seen Oswaldnear the sixth floor of theDepository, where he was employed. From the sixth floor window, atop cartons of books assembled to make a sniper’s perch, Oswald purportedly fired three shots, the last of which killed Kennedy as his motorcade passed by the building. A gun that was later located in the Depository had a palm print that matched Oswald’s.
Forty-five minutes after the assassination, Oswald was seen hurrying through the Dallas streets by police officer J.D. Tippit, who identified him as matching the description of Kennedy’s killer. When Tippit attempted to apprehend him, Oswald shot him to death with a revolver and fled.
In the early afternoon, police converged on the Texas Theater, where Oswald had been spotted. Inside, Oswald punched an approaching officer and withdrew a pistol. The gun misfired and other police officers grabbed him. “I am not resisting arrest,” Oswald cried as he was dragged out in front of an angry crowd of onlookers. “Don’t hit me anymore! I want a lawyer!” In fact, Oswald would never require the services of an attorney because he was shot and killed by Dallas restaurant owner Jack Ruby as he was being transferred fromthe police station to the county jailtwo days later.