On November 22, 1963, Nelson was working out of the southwest substation in Dallas. He said that police were spread all over the city guarding multiple areas.
“Only two people were working the south district,” Nelson said, “my partner J.D. Tippit and me. Tippit was working the entire Oak Cliff section.”
On a normal day, Nelson estimated there would have been 10-12 squads covering the area.
Nelson said he was across the viaduct from the Texas Book Depository when he heard the shots ring out in the cold Dallas air. The police dispatch was almost immediately on the air with reports of shots fired.
What Nelson heard was the shots that would forever change American history.
As Oswald was moving through the basement, Nelson was approximately 20 feet away when he heard a shot ring out and then chaos. Chicago businessman Jack Ruby had gotten into the basement and shot Oswald with a .38 revolver.
Nelson said Ruby was bent over and he heard someone yell, “Get his gun.”
“I grabbed for his hands and didn’t find a gun,” Nelson said. “But I managed to manhandle him into the basement jail house office and handcuffed him.”
Ruby reportedly said, “It’s me, it’s Jack,” right after he fired the fatal shot at Oswald. Ruby knew several Dallas Police officers, but Nelson said he was not familiar with him.
What hasn’t been shared before is what Nelson said happened just before the shooting and then in the immediate aftermath.
According to Nelson, right before Oswald was brought to the basement, a Dallas Police decoy car was brought to the basement and plain clothes cops were put inside the car to distract the media from the real transfer vehicle.
The decoy car drove up the north ramp, which Nelson said was actually the entry ramp to the basement.
“They drove up the north ramp which was actually the entry ramp into the basement and drove around the block,” Nelson said.
Nelson said the lieutenant driving the decoy car came walking back through his area after parking in the basement again. Nelson said he was positive that Ruby had not passed him to get into the basement.
According to Nelson, Lieutenant Sam Pierce said Ruby walked right by the decoy car and walked down the north ramp into the basement. Shortly after the shooting, however, Nelson was told Dallas Chief of Police Jesse Curry wanted to see him.
When Nelson got to Chief Curry’s office, he saw Lieutenant Pierce was already in the office. The chief told Nelson, “R.C., this isn’t going to be held against you with all the TV cameras that were coming into the basement.”
Nelson thought Chief Curry was implying that Ruby had gotten past him. Nelson said he told the chief that, “You can tell them anything you want, but Ruby didn’t come by me!”
In the days that followed, Officer Tippit would be laid to rest and when Nelson saw his former partner’s wife to try to comfort her was hard.
“The first time I had contact with her; it was tough,” Nelson recalled. “You’ve got a partner and you see his wife and kid at his funeral. (Choking up) It was pretty tough.”
Over the next year, the Warren Commission investigated the assassination of President Kennedy and the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald. Despite his being right in the middle of the historical events, Nelson said he was never called to testify.
“I thought it was kind of strange, because all during the Warren Commission hearings, no one knew how Ruby got into the basement,” Nelson said.
Ruby on his deathbed said he went to Western Union then saw a crowd at the police station, walked over to see what was going on, went down the ramp in front of a police car and thought it odd that he wasn't stopped. He said he didn't remember shooting Oswald and had no plans to do so. And he always carried a gun.
People who knew him said he was kinda nuts with mood swings.
But the longer time goes on, the less interest by younger people.
It's odd that Oswald would take a cab then a bus to get home, then leave immediately. Where was he going? He ended up in the theater after shooting Tippet and didn't buy a ticket to get in which immediately drew attention to himself. Very strange.
You hit the nail right on the head.
On Friday of last week (Nov. 22nd), I asked one of my employees (22 years old) a trivia question about the historical significance of that day. She had no clue. I even gave a hint... "think president". Still didn't know.
What is on September 6, 1961, I asked a young person a trivia question about the historical significance of that day. Do you think they would know? (60th anniversary of McKinley's assassination) Or the same thing about the Garfield assassination. Or the same thing about the date of the Lincoln assassination. It is just the way it is.
quote:You should read about Oswald in New Orleans, working indirectly with Oschner, in the book "Dr. Mary's Monkey."
You should read about Oswald in Mexico City.
quote:Fast forward 50 years and the same will be said about 9/11.
Whoever did it, it looks like it was meticulously planned, and aggressively covered up by well-placed somebody(ies).
But the longer time goes on, the less interest by younger people. And the older ones are dying off, so it may be virtually impossible in 5-10 more years to get any real answers from people who were really alive and on the scene when it happened.
quote:You think with all the quality television (Honey BooBoo, Dancing With The Stars, reality TV, etc.) that a young person today is going to watch a documentary on something that happened long before they were born?
I get your point, but in the last 2 weeks most major media were bringing up the 50th anniversary of the assassination as a pretty major topic.
You would think at least in passing that person would have perhaps picked up on that.