Reader David Regan asks if anyone has information regarding the story below, in which the Dallas police allegedly encountered a group of men engaging in “target practice” on the Grassy Knoll on November 20, 1963: Has anyone come across confirmation on this? “Target Practice in Dealey Plaza” — from “Mafia Kingfish,” by John Davis (paperback Signet Books edition, 1989):
“That same morning [Wednesday, November 20, 1963], in the center of Dallas, two police officers on routine patrol entered Dealey Plaza, through which the presidential motorcade would pass on Friday, and noticed several men standing behind a wooden fence on a grassy knoll overlooking the plaza. The men were engaged in mock target practice, aiming rifles over the fence, in the direction of the plaza. The two police officers immediately made for the fence, but by the time they got there the riflemen had disappeared, having departed in a car that had been parked nearby. The two patrol officers did not give much thought to the incident at the time, but after the assassination of the President two days later, they reported the incident to the FBI, which issued a report of it on November 26. For reasons that have never been satisfactorily explained, the substance of the report was never mentioned in the FBI’s investigation of the assassination and the report itself disappeared until 1978, when it finally resurfaced as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request.
I have been unable to track down this November 26 FBI report. However, confirmation of it comes from historian Michael Kurtz in his book ‘Crime of the Century’ where on page 218 of the second revised edition he says:
‘Two days before the assassination, two Dallas police officers were making their usual rounds on patrol. As they entered Dealey Plaza, they observed several men engaged in target practice with a rifle. The men were situated behind the wooden fence on the Grass Knoll. By the time the policemen reached the area the men had vanished, apparently leaving in a car parked nearby.’”
Kurtz cites an FBI report, 26 Nov. 1963, from Federal Bureau of Investigation. Papers on the Assassination of President Kennedy. 15 volumes, 3,847 pages. Linus A. Sims Memorial Library, Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA.