Kennedy Assassination Timeline: A Look Back At November 22, 1963

Today marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, one of the most traumatic events in American history.

Anyone who was alive on that day and was older than a toddler remembers where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news.

The Kennedy assassination has been called a day in which the United States lost its innocence as the American public watched the events of the killing of their President unfold on television for the first time.

Following is a timeline of the most important events that took place before, during, and after the assassination of our 35th President, John F. Kennedy.

Friday, November 22, 1963

6:30 am: Lee Harvey Oswald leaves Marina Oswald’s home. The couple is not living together, but he spent the night there. He takes off his wedding ring and leaves it on his wife’s dresser along with $170. He gets a ride to work at the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD) from Buell Wesley Fraizer. Oswald is carrying a long package, which he tells Frazier are curtain rods for his room.

7:00 am: President Kennedy is at the Hotel Texas getting ready for his busy day. He sees the now famous sign accusing him of treason and also sees that Richard Nixon predicts he will drop Lyndon Johnson from the ticket in the next elections.

10:00 am: The Secret Service decided to take the bubbletop off the Presidential limousine as the weather clears. Kennedy has made it clear he wants to be accessible to the people and indicates he does not want agents riding in the back of the limo.

Kennedy & Mrs. Kennedy

10:30 am: Kennedy remarks to his wife Jackie, “you know, last night would have been a hell of a night to assassinate a president (…)” after their motorcade through Fort Worth.

12:05 pm: The President stops frequently to shake hands with the thousands who have come out to see him. This delays the motorcade by five minutes.

12:15 pm: TSBD clear of employees. Employee Bonny Ray Williams leaves the building’s sixth floor and sees no one.

12:18 pm: Incident with a man with some kind of a seizure takes place outside the TSBD. Many conspiracy theorist believe this was a distraction tactic.

12:19 pm: Police radio for ambulance of the epileptic individual. He was taken to Parkland Hospital, but his admittance is not on record.

12:20 pm: Williams finishes lunch and leaves sixth floor of TSBD, taking the employee elevator to watch the JFK motorcade.

12:29 pm: As the motorcade turns to Elm Street, the first shot is fired, missing the President.

12:30 pm: The second shot hits Kennedy. Immediately after, the fatal shot is fired, hitting the President in the rear, right side of his head. Oswald is seen getting a soda from the vending machine at the TSBD. He then walks past NBC’s Robert MacNeil who is looking for a phone booth to report the shooting.

12:32 pm: Washington, D.C.’s phone system breaks down for about an hour. However, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s phone continues working.

12:33 pm: Lee Harvey Oswald leaves TSBD after allegedly assassinating Kennedy and takes the bus.

12:35 pm: A mortally wounded President Kennedy arrives at the Emergency entrance of Parkland Hospital. The President was labeled “24740, white male suffering from a gunshot wound.” He is brought to trauma room 1. Dr. Charles Crenshaw uses the wound site in Kennedy’s throat to perform a tracheotomy.

12:37 pm: Dallas police officer identifies a witness who pointed toward the window of the TSBD.

12:40-12:45 pm: Oswald gets off the bus and takes a taxi, telling the driver to take him to 500 North Beckley Street.

12:45 pm: Fifteen minutes after Kennedy’s assassination, a suspect is described by police as “a slender white male about thirty, five feet ten, one sixty five, carrying what looked to be a 30.30 or some type of Winchester”. Officer Tippit told by dispatcher to “Go to central Oak Cliff area.”

12:48 pm: Dallas Police radios Kennedy’s assassin’s location as the TSBD.

12:54 Officer Tippit is contacted by Police headquarters and is asked if he is at Oak Cliff area. He replies: “Yes”.

12:57 pm: Father Huber arrives at Parkland Hospital and performs the Last Rites on Kennedy, after which Dr. Kemp Clark pronounces the President dead.

1:04 pm: Oswald is spotted at a bus stop outside his rented room by his landlady.

1:08 pm: Officer Tippit tries to call HQs twice, but gets no answer.

1:12 pm: Shells are found on the sixth floor of the TSBD.

1:15 pm: Officer J.D. Tippit is shot four times and killed.

Officer J.D. Tippit

1:16 pm: Witness Domingo Benavides, who used the radio in Tippit’s patrol car, informs police Officer J.D. Tippit has been shot.

1:22 pm: Call goes out describing Tippit’s killer as “about 30, 5ft 8in black hair and slender.”

1:26 pm: Lyndon B. Johnson leaves Parkland Hospital for Air Force One.

1:35 pm: Shoe store manager Johnny Brewer sees Oswald “ducking into” the entrance alcove of his store. Suspicious of this activity, Brewer watches Oswald continue up the street and slip into the nearby Texas Theatre without paying.

1:40 pm: Lee Harvey Oswald is seen entering the Texas Theater without paying, according to the assistant manager. Police arrive at Marina Oswald’s home.

Oswald buys popcorn at the concession stand at the Texas Theater, according to the stand operator.

1:45 pm: Police storm the Texas Theater and as they approach Oswald, he was heard saying, “Well, it is all over now.”

2:00 pm: The Secret Service and Medical Examiner argue about taking Kennedy’s body back to Washington, D.C. Jackie Kennedy wants to take her husband back home in a casket, but the Medical Examiner argues he needs to perform an autopsy before the body can be released.

Johnson orders the body released, but the ME refuses. However, Dallas’ District Attorney orders the body released and the ME agrees after Kennedy’s physician promises to stay with the body until it is put in the casket.

Johnson calls Bobby Kennedy to explore his options for a swearing in ceremony.

2:07 pm: Kennedy’s body leaves Parkland Hospital for Love Field.

Oswald arrives at City Hall.

2:38 pm: Kennedy’s casket has been loaded on the plane with some trouble. It was too wide for the door opening.

Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in and becomes the 36th President of the United States. He is the first President to be sworn in by a woman, Judge Sarah T. Hughes. A shocked Jackie Kennedy watches, still wearing her pink suit.

Johnson swearing in on Air Force One

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4:00 pm: FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover calls Robert F. Kennedy to tell him “We have the man.”

Oswald is awaiting interrogation, and when he is searched, five bullet cartridges are found in his
pocket.

6:00 pm (ET): Air Force One arrives at Andrews Air Force Base. Among those waiting is Robert Kennedy who goes
into the plane to hug Jackie Kennedy and tells her, “Hi Jackie, I’m here.” Inside their limousine, Mrs. Kennedy recounts the events to her brother-in-law.

6:20 pm (CST): Oswald, who is only suspected of killing Officer Tippit at this time, is interrogated for the second time

7:00 pm: Jackie Kennedy and Robert Kennedy enter Bethesda Hospital. He signs the order for his brother’s autopsy to be performed.

Sargent Shriver is preparing the White House so the casket can lay in state, as requested by the First Lady.

7:50 pm (CST): Oswald’s third interrogation takes place

8:15 pm (ET): The autopsy on Kennedy’s body begins.

9:00 pm (CST): Buell Frazier and his sister say they saw Oswald carrying a long package into the TSBD.

11:00 pm (ET): President Kennedy’s autopsy is concluded.

11:26 pm (CST): Captain Fritz signs the order charging Lee Harvey Oswald with President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

11:59 pm (ET): The autopsy results are revealed and indicate Kennedy was killed by two shots from the rear.

Saturday, November 23, 1963

3:56 am (ET): President Kennedy’s body is brought to the White House were he will lay in repose until Sunday.

On November 25, Kennedy would be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on the same day as his son John’s third Birthday.

Our Fallen President

Today, the nation remembers the 35th President and the promise that was lost when John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963.