On November 22, 1963, President and Mrs. Kennedy were in Dallas, Texas, trying to win support in a state that Kennedy had barely carried in 1960. On his way to a luncheon in downtown Dallas, Kennedy and his wife sat in an open convertible at the head of a motorcade. Lyndon Johnson was two cars behind the president, and Texas Governor John B. Connally and his wife were sitting with the Kennedys. The large crowds were enthusiastic.
As the motorcade approached an underpass, three shots were fired in rapid succession. One bullet passed through the president’s neck and struck Governor Connally in the back. A second bullet struck the president in the head; a third one missed the motorcade. Kennedy fell forward, and his car sped to Parkland Hospital. At 1:00 pm, he was pronounced dead. He had never regained consciousness.
Assassination of President John F. Kennedy On November 22, 1963, President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy made a campaign visit to Dallas, Texas. Enthusiastic crowds greeted them as their motorcade made its way toward downtown Dallas. Near the Texas School Book Depository three shots were fired, mortally injuring the president. Later that day Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as president. A state funeral for President Kennedy was held on November 25, 1963. President Kennedy’s young son, John F. Kennedy, Jr., saluted the carriage containing his father’s casket as the funeral procession passed by.
The bullets that killed Kennedy were fired from a sixth-story window of a nearby warehouse. That afternoon, Lee Harvey Oswald, who was employed in the warehouse, was arrested in a Dallas movie theater and charged with the murder. Two days later, as the suspect was being transferred from one jail to another, Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby sprang out from a group of reporters and, as millions watched on television, fired a revolver into Oswald’s left side. Oswald died in the same hospital to which the President had been taken.
The Warren Commission
Five days after the funeral, President Johnson appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Earl Warren chairman of a committee to investigate Kennedy’s death. The findings of the commission were announced on September 27, 1964. The investigators had found no evidence of conspiracy in the assassination. Their report concluded that “the shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally were fired by Lee Harvey Oswald.”
Concluding a two-year investigation, two French judges ruled on September 3, 1999, that the August 1997 deaths of Diana, princess of Wales, and her companion, Emad Mohamed al-Fayed, were caused solely by an intoxicated driver. The 32-page ruling cleared nine photographers and a press motorcyclist of charges that they provoked the accident in Paris, France, by chasing the couple in their chauffeur-driven limousine.
The accident occurred in the early morning hours of August 31 after Diana and al-Fayed, known as Dodi, left the Ritz Hotel. The limousine, traveling at high speed, crashed into a concrete pillar in a tunnel near the Seine River. Diana, al-Fayed, and Henri Paul, the vehicle's driver, were killed in the crash; a bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, survived with severe injuries. The photographers and press motorcyclist, who acknowledged following the couple through the streets of Paris prior to the accident, were charged with manslaughter and failing to come to the aid of the accident victims.
The judges blamed the accident on Paul, who had taken antidepressant medication and was legally intoxicated. “The driver was in a state of drunkenness and under the influence of medicines incompatible with alcohol, a state which prevented him from keeping control of his vehicle while he was driving at high speed on a difficult section of road,” the judges wrote.
The judges found no evidence that the photographers caused the accident or failed to assist the victims at the accident scene. However, they criticized the conduct of several photographers who snapped pictures of the wrecked vehicle and its occupants before emergency personnel arrived. Although this behavior raised moral and ethical concerns, the judges noted, it was “not a breach of penal law.” The ruling affirmed the findings of a police investigation that a mysterious white automobile, which apparently grazed the limousine immediately prior to the accident and was never found, was traveling in the same direction as the limousine and was not responsible for the accident.