The Tippit Murder

Oswald made his way to his lodgings in a rather peculiar and convoluted way. Firstly he boarded a bus, where he made himself known to the driver such that he was able to identify him later. After spending a little while on the bus because it was held up in traffic, he alighted and walked back on himself and hailed a taxi. The taxi driver was also able to readily identify him later to the Warren Commission. The taxi dropped him near, but not outside his lodgings, and Oswald apparently returned home to change and collect his revolver. Some have suggested he had a liaison with someone, who may have been a policeman, before entering his digs.

After leaving his lodgings he made his way to the Texas Theater where he was eventually arrested, apparently after having been reported to the police for entering the theatre without a ticket. The police responded with several squad cars and a multitude of armed police officers. Clearly Dallas was experiencing a clamp down on ticket dodgers!

OfficerJ D Tippit

Later it was alleged that Oswald had taken an indirect route to the Texas Theater, and in doing so had encountered a police officer by the name of J D Tippit. They were alleged to have had a heated discussion through the open window of Tippit’s cruiser after he had pulled up alongside Oswald. After a short exchange Tippit stepped out of his car, walked around the front where Oswald shot him dead.

Tippit was shot four times and four shells were found around his body, apparently matching the bullets later removed from his body. The existence of the shells is somewhat surprising as Oswald carried a revolver, a gun which retains the shells after shooting. Furthermore, when Oswald was arrested his gun had a full chamber of six bullets. It would seem unlikely that Oswald would have murdered Tippit in cold blood and then stood there to eject the four from six spent shells, discarding them to the ground, and then to reload to replace the used ammunition. Indeed, the four shells found on the ground were far more consistent with being fired from an automatic weapon which ejects the spent cartridges.

Numerous witnesses testified to the Warren Commission regarding the Tippit slaying, but they were inconsistent and often unreliable. Some contradicted each other and some were just totally lacking in credibility. Some testified that Tippit was shot by more than one man and some were totally unable to identify Oswald. In the end the principle link to Oswald was a discarded jacket which allegedly he removed as he made his getaway and which was traced to him through a laundry tag. It is by no means clear as to why he should have chosen to remove his jacket.

As with the sighting of Oswald in the first floor lunch room following the assassination of the President, his involvement with the Tippit murder is not strongly corroborated by the timing. Sightings of Oswald as he departed his lodgings, and those of when he arrived at the Texas Theater make it virtually impossible that he could have managed to take the detour necessary to murder Tippit. Various re-enactments demonstrate that the timing is difficult, even using the earliest times for departure and latest of arrival.

Is it possible that Oswald was set up to meet someone at the Texas Theater and Tippit was murdered in the vague vicinity of the route between Oswald’s digs and the theatre so that there was an irrefutable reason for arresting Oswald?

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