Kennedy assassination: shooter may not have acted alone

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In a recent interview, Paul Landis, who witnessed the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, questioned the ‘magic bullet’ theory. A theory that was nevertheless validated by investigators sixty years ago.

A former Secret Service agent who was within walking distance of John F Kennedy when he was fatally shot in Dallas on November 22, 1963, as he waved to the crowd in the back of a convertible car, has broken his silence in an interview with the New York Times.

The man in question, Paul Landis, said he had long believed the official conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald, a former naval commando who lived in the Soviet Union, acted alone when he shot the president of the United States.

'I’m starting to doubt myself.'

But this theory, defended by the commission responsible for investigating the assassination, known as the Warren Commission, seems false to him today. And for good reason. He noted discrepancies between what he saw on the day of the assassination and the commission's report. ‘I’m starting to doubt myself,’ said the former secret agent, now 88 years old. ‘I’m starting to ask myself questions.’

As he told our colleagues, Paul Landis was on the step of a car following the convertible limousine in which Kennedy was travelling, when he heard several gunshots and the president was hit.

The Warren Commission concluded that two shots were fired. The first would have missed the procession while the second would have hit JFK from behind, passing straight through him before reaching another passenger, Texas Governor John Connally. Hence the name of the ‘magic bullet’ or ‘single bullet’ theory. As noted by the New York Times, the commission would have validated this hypothesis thanks to the presence of this famous bullet on a stretcher used to move Connally.

The ‘single bullet’ theory called into question

However, the former secret agent revealed to the newspaper that he was the person who discovered this bullet, which he remembers was stuck in the seat of the limousine, behind Kennedy's seat, after the president was taken to hospital.

Thinking that it would be useful to investigators and fearing that someone with bad intentions might come across it, he explained that he placed it on the stretcher on which JFK's body was located. But it was actually Connally's.

The witness also indicated that, since he found the bullet stuck in the seat, it could not have passed through the back of the American president to hit the governor of Texas. It would therefore be, according to him, another gunshot which caused the death of the latter. Hence Paul Landis' doubts about the number of shooters.

‘It was a piece of evidence that I immediately understood was very important,’ he recalled. ‘I didn't want it to disappear or get lost. So I said to myself, 'Paul, you have to make a decision,' and I took it.’

Revelations contrary to his first statements

Realising in 2014 that the location where he found the bullet was not the same as that cited by the Warren commission, the ex-agent inquired with several officials. He was generally received with scepticism, largely because of his two previous testimonies, written a few months after the incident: he never mentioned finding the bullet in question or hearing more than two gunshots.

Paul Landis now admits he was in shock and suffering from lack of sleep when he wrote these statements. ‘I didn't want to talk about it,’ confessed the individual, who left the Secret Service about six months after the Kennedy assassination.

‘I was scared. I started to wonder if I had done something wrong,' he also justified. These revelations, which came about a month before the publication of Paul Landis' memoirs, The Final Witness, will certainly not fail to maintain the mystery surrounding one of the darkest chapters in the history of the United States.

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