The Grassy Knoll

The grassy knoll refers to a gentle sloping area bordered by a picket fence along one side of Dealey Plaza. After the assassination, police officer Clyde Haygood rushed to this area to speak with a fellow officer. Witnesses mistakenly believed Haygood to be in pursuit of a suspect. This assumption coupled with the tricky acoustics of Dealey Plaza led some to believe the shots did not originate from Oswald but instead came from the knoll.

The Initial JFK Investigation

Eyewitness accounts at the time of the shooting are inconsistent. The buildings surrounding Dealey Plaza reflect sound, making it difficult to ascertain the origin of the shots. Some people thought the shots fired came from the grassy knoll. But others witnessed a man with a rifle firing out of a southeast corner window, six stories up, at the Texas School Book Depository.

Four minutes after the shooting, Dallas police identified the depository as the sniper's possible location. An eyewitness named Howard L. Brennan saw a figure in the window and gave policemen a description of the sniper. At 12:45 p.m., police began to distribute a description based on Brennan's observations. The description fit Lee Harvey Oswald.

Meanwhile, police officer Marrion L. Baker was already investigating the depository, entering the building less than two minutes after the president was shot. He met the building's superintendent, Roy Truly. Baker and Truly then encountered Lee Harvey Oswald on the second floor. Truly vouched for Oswald and the two continued up the stairs. Meanwhile, Oswald left the building.

Just before 1 p.m., Captain J. Will Fritz arrived at the scene to take charge. He organized a search of the depository. On the sixth floor, the search team discovered several large boxes arranged to form a sniper's nest. They also found three spent rifle cartridges and a bolt-action rifle with a telescopic sight.

During this time, Oswald headed to the house where he rented a room, arriving there around 1 p.m. He retrieved a pistol and left the house, walking away from Dealey Plaza. At about 1:15 p.m., he encountered Patrolman J. D. Tippit. According to eyewitnesses, Oswald shot Tippit four times, killing him instantly. Oswald attempted to evade capture but was eventually apprehended at the Texas Theatre at 1:45 p.m. According to Patrolman M. N. MacDonald, Oswald said "Well, it's all over now" as he was taken into custody [source: Warren Commission Report].