Nov. 23, 1963, 10:30 am: ‘I didn’t shoot John Kennedy’

Under interrogation by Dallas police on the morning after JFK’s assassination, Lee Oswald denied shooting the president and denied owning a rifle.

Oswald said:

“I was arrested in New Orleans for disturbing the peace and paid a $10 fine for demonstrating for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. I had a fight with some anti-Castro refugees and they were released while I was fined … I refuse to take a polygraph. It has always been my practice not to agree to take a polygraph … The FBI has overstepped their bounds in using various tactics in interviewing me …. I didn’t shoot John Kennedy …. I didn’t even know Gov. John Connally had been shot ….I don’t own a rifle …. I didn’t tell Buell Wesley Frazier anything about bringing back some curtain rods …”

From “The Last Words of Lee Oswald,” as compiled by Mae Brussell. Published in “The People’s Almanac #2,” by David Wallechinsky and Irving Wallace (NY: Bantam Books, 1978), pp. 47-52.


69 thoughts on “Nov. 23, 1963, 10:30 am: ‘I didn’t shoot John Kennedy’”

  1. There is a theory used today, consciousness of guilt, and it was recently mentioned on CNN and discussed in a book by Mel Ayton, “Beyond Reasonable Doubt”. The later with respect to the assassination. When Oswald was interrogated he lied. He lied about something obvious, something that could easily be checked. Oswald lied about a previous address. They say he lied about other things also. If he was innocent why would he have to start lying? This is usually what happens when someone is guilty and being interrogated and they call it “consciousness of guilt”. A normal reaction. An innocent person certainly wouldn’t lie about where he had lived. But Oswald told other lies that could easily be checked.

  2. DPD did have tape recorders, and stenographers, yet none were used in the interrogation of LHO? The FBI interrogation of LHO also revealed flimsy note taking.
    LHO answers did not fit the narrative that was being engineered so quickly by the DPD, and Intelligence agencies at the time.
    Almost every aspect of the immediate investigations were carried out in a sloppy fashion.
    Low and behold, LHO would never get a chance to defend his statements in a court of law.

    1. The Dallas police department did not have tape recorders at that time. Will Fritz had been trying to get them for the Homicide and Robbery divisions for months but was unsuccessful. He admitted it was a mess because so many different people were in and out during the 12 hour interrogation. It wasn’t the most up to date, prepared for anything set up.

      1. I will concede that tape recorders were not common in police interrogation rooms at the time, but the DPD had short hand secretaries that could transcribe questions and answers. No transcriptions took place (perhaps the magnitude of what they were investigating hadn’t dawned on them yet). Twelve hours of interrogation over the course of two separate days, that included the DPD, FBI, SS, and Post Office, and none of these thought to bring a tape recorder along?
        The DPD participated in most of the interrogating, mainly by Fritz, and the best note taking they could muster were recollections normally penned to paper several days later?
        Could the interrogation have been conducted by anyone less competent or irresponsible than this bunch?

  3. I agree with the poster above that this text does make Oswald sound guilty as hell.

    At the same time, he answers questions in such a strange way. He continues tries to identify himself as a left-wing fanatic with repeated mentions of the FPCC and ACLU, and undercuts any spook sponsorship in Mexico City by saying it was a cheap trip.

    He also even lies when there’s no apparent reason to, like explaining how he marked TSBD on a map when he was looking for a job when Ruth Paine later told authorities those were her Xs.


  4. Well, if Capt. Will Fritz’s handwritten interrogation notes are to be believed, then yes Oswald lied his rear end off. And, he told obvious lies. For a cop, that’s major red flag number one, when any suspect starts liying right off the bat, and tells lies that in Oswald’s case would have been known to the police or would have been found out during the homicide investigation. I mean, Oswald was arrested with a weapon.

  5. I was 19 years old then, lived through every minute. To the day I die I won’t believe Oswald was the lone shooter. Shortly after that happened I bought a Carcarno carbine, the exact same model at Sunny’s Surplus in Baltimore. My brother in-law and I took it out to a range to try it out. We were using the same military ammo. Let me tell you this. The damn thing kicked like a mule. We shot @ 50 rnds. at targets @ 25 yds. I really doubt someone who has never shot at a moving target with out a lot of practice could do what is claimed. Maybe one hit, but remember the stress he was under. The grassy knoll shooter is my bet.

      1. Are the conditions to earn a sharpshooter’s badge the same as those from the depository window, i.e., after the kick, is the shooter required to realign in order to focus on a further moving target – perhaps through a tree limb, or is the badge earned by aiming at a stationary target. I genuinely do not know, and would appreciate being educated.

        1. Leslie

          Back in that era, military trainees shot stationary targets. I was in the military after Oswald was, and we fired at “pop up” targets which were a silhouette of the upper body of a man. We only had a few seconds to aim and fire. The range of the targets could be anywhere from 50 to 300 meters using open sights (no scope) As far as shooting a moving target, the speed of the limo was extremely slow and would have little or no effect on the aim of a shooter. I am a gun owner and routinely shoot my rifle at a target range, and am a licensed hunter. Shooting a deer at a full run is a bit more difficult than shooting at a stationary target, however, I seriously doubt the slow speed of that limo would be an issue.

          1. Particularly as the limo had virtually no lateral translation and no need to lead. The exact opposite situation was seen with any grassy knoll shot with the limo traveling across the shooter’s field of view.

          2. Mike T, thank you. And were time limits set for X number of shots when qualifying for the badge? Any moving target, however slow moving would introduce the need for additional expertise, ie. within a certain time frame?

          3. The last time Oswald qualified, he barely, and I mean barely qualified as marksman, and that was 4 years before the assassination. And outside of 1 very disputed case of Oswald making a fool of himself at a firing range, could you provide a link demonstrating all the time he spent on a firing rang, please?

    1. TN Browm

      Oswald routinely went to the firing range to practice. Also, once a scope is mounted on a rifle and “sighted in” the owner knows how to aim and fire. Most scopes have a set of cross hairs to align with the target before firing. The distance of the fatal head shot to JFK was only 88 yards. The other shot that hit was even closer. Personally, I believe that the first shot missed, because JFK was actually too close. The assassin probably failed to take into consideration the initial trajectory of the bullet is to rise coming out of the muzzle when the muzzle velocity is the greatest. I believe the assassin took the firs shot, saw he missed, lowered his aim and hit JFK in his upper back. Again he saw he missed his head, and adjusted his third shot a little higher than the second shot. There were 3 bullet casings on the floor of the 6th floor window, so it was certainly do-able.

      I do agree that the grassy knoll would have been a high percentage shot. The problem with the grassy knoll is its out in the open. An assassin can’t load his rifle, get out of a car and be in plain view while he awaits the limo to drive in front of him. The sixth floor of the SBD was a better place for a shooter to remain concealed until carrying out the assassination.

  6. A shadowy cloud that hangs over Lee Oswald & his alleged rifle that is always left out of instigations from ‘Oswald did it’ campers is what Jeff Morley reported in one of his topics, namely Lee Oswald’s mail was being monitored. What he sent out, what he received. Lee’s weapons ordered & alleged received could have been the work of those doing the snooping on him without him ever suspecting a thing.

  7. Yeah, Oswald said a lot of things while he was in custody, he got caught in a number of lies too. He said at the time of the shooting, he was having lunch with two other employees of the SBD. These two employees said they DID NOT eat lunch with Oswald. Oswald said he did not own a gun. However, his wife knew he owned guns, and also took the photo of Oswald posing with his rifle. When authorities search Oswald they found an ID card that had his photo with the name of A Hidell. The gun was sold to an A Hidell. When police asked him about the ID card and the gun he wouldn’t answer the question, he just said “You know as much about it as I do”. There is lots of evidence of Oswald being the assassin. Beside that, he lied and was caught, he was the only employee of the SBD that left the building after the assassination. He went back to his flat, washed up, changed, and left with a pistol. That is not the actions of an innocent man.

    1. Unfortunately, none of Oswald’s interrogation was tape recorded. Most of our understanding of what he said depends on the accuracy of the memories and notes of the persons present at his interrogation.

      According to a different account of the interrogation, Oswald said he ate lunch alone on the first floor and recalled seeing two Black employees enter the lunchroom. Perhaps he was lying but there were several witnesses who recalled seeing Oswald on the first floor around Noon that day.

      There were other statements made by Oswald that seem like more obvious lies. Including the statements he made about not owning a rifle and never visiting Mexico City.

    2. S.R."Dusty" Rohde

      You have made some statements that I will assume were honest errors. Marina stated that LHO owned a rifle when they lived in Russia (which was actually a shotgun). She also said see saw the rifle in Ruth Paines garage but she did not say it was Lee’s. Then, there were actually three employees missing after the assassination, LHO, B.W.Frazier and the other was an African American male. BTW, the claim that LHO’s gun was fired and misfired at the Theatre was investigated and proven to be false through extensive examination by the Secret Service. The shells found at the Tippit murder scene were for a .38 automatic which didn’t match Oswalds gun.

      1. There were no .38 automatic shells found at the Tippit murder scene. And the shells recovered did match Oswald’s .38 -NOT an automatic.
        The only automatic .38 rounds that I know of are for a .38 Super- which looks exactly like a 1911 Colt .45 ACP.That pistol is a collector’s item.Get your facts straight, Dusty- automatics and revolvers are two different types of handguns. They fire two different types of ammunition.

        1. S.R."Dusty" Rohde

          Photon people get tired of your phoney posts and phony claims. I have the police evidence to prove your false assertions wrong (yet again). I can’t post them this second as I am not at home but I will enjoy doing so soon enough.
          I would you would have learned by now.

          1. S.R."Dusty" Rohde

            LOL….I just read the last part of your post! Thank you for agreeing with my point! LOL….”automatics and revolvers are two different types of handguns. They fire two different types of ammunition.” EXACTLY…. now just remember you said it!

          2. S.R."Dusty" Rohde

            from Dallas PD radio log…”The shells at the scene indicate that the (Tippit) suspect is armed with an automatic 38 rather than a pistol (revolver).”….I think I have the facts straight enough. :D.

          3. So a radio log Is evidence of what was at the crime scene?
            Wouldn’t the use of an unusual round be recorded in something more substantial than a radio log? A round virtually unknown?

          4. Dusty, why don’t you finish the story? The radio report was from Sgt. G.L. Hill; as has been documented repeatedly he said that he assumed that the shells were at the scene because only an automatic ejects shells with each shot. He had no idea that Oswald emptied his revolver and reloaded at the scene as witnessed by bystanders. He later said that his initial assumption was in error .
            There were no .38 automatic shells at the scene of Tippit’s murder. Period.

          5. S.R."Dusty" Rohde

            I’m referring to the actual and official Police radio transcripts, the actual comments made by Dallas PD as events transpired and developed when Tippit was shot.
            “So a radio log is evidence of what was at the crime scene”? You want the legal answer? That answer would be “Yes”.
            “A round virtually unknown”?…not unknown to Police departments, obviously.

      2. I was under the impression that Oswald could have loaded the wrong ammunition into his gun, but that it could have still fired.

        Whether he was guilty or not of the Tippit shooting isn’t relevant to the claim of this post, namely, that Oswald was acting guilty of something. And, he was. It’s just a matter of figuring out what he did in the TSBD and what he thought he was involved in. Both of those questions are still less important to our nation than whether any other individuals were responsible for planning, inspiring or carrying out the assassination.

        I mean, the evidence seems strong that Oswald shot at General Walker, but at the same time an eyewitness saw more than one person getting away and in a car (we know LHO didn’t drive). Likewise, there could have been someone else there at the Tippit shooting (don’t forget the possible and possibly ominous police car honking in front of LHO’s rooming house). If we accept all of that evidence, we are left with an Oswald that participated in violent acts WITH OTHERS. That, to me, is where basically all the evidence in the entire case leads.

        1. Mitch

          As a gun owner myself, I only buy the ammunition which is the correct ammunition for my guns. Why would I buy ammunition that is NOT for my guns? Short answer, I wouldn’t. Oswald did not load the wrong ammunition into his gun(s) because he never bought any. Come on Mitch, use some common sense.

          1. No Mike, you have it wrong. According to one post above there were .38 automatic shells at the Tippit scene. You see, the same guy that framed Oswald was so brilliant he invented a round that nobody used .
            That is the level of firearms sophistication that you are dealing with in the conspiracy camp.

        2. S.R."Dusty" Rohde

          Mitch, that is one of the stories that gets passed around. Try finding some official documentation for that claim. I can tell you that it isn’t in the Secret Service records of the investigation of Oswalds pistol.
          Oswalds involvement isn’t relative to the claim of the post but the Walker shooting is(?)…yeah, excuse me if I miss your logic there. My posts were in reference to misinformation posted by others of which I provided actual facts, something that is drastically needed and very relevant.

    3. Mike, it is my understanding that the wallet with the A Hidell ID in it was discovered at the Tippett crime scene, and that Oswald had a wallet on him when arrested that had someone else’s library card in it. Is this not correct?

      1. S.R."Dusty" Rohde

        I have been scouring Dallas Police records for any indication that Oswald had anyones (David Ferrie) but so far the only library he had is his own….but I’ll keep looking.

    4. There are a few problems with what you have stated, Mike T.
      1: Marina might have said that Lee Oswald owned guns, but I wouldn’t put much stock in any of her testimony to the WC. She was caught out in more than a few lies herself and has stated recently that she was threatened at the time and said what she did to protect her children.
      2: You say that there is evidence of Oswald being the assassin. But if it were so cut and dried there wouldn’t be the massive questions about that right up to this day. The evidence is quite washy. And I find there is as much evidence for as there is against.
      3: Oswald was not the only person who left the TSBD that day. I don’t know why this myth persists and why people keep stating it as fact. Perhaps because they don’t like the facts. There is an actual list of people who left the TSBD on the 22nd and it runs into the 40s. The Truly roll call and subsequent freak out about Oswald not being there is in no way supported by evidence and is a fabrication.
      4: ‘He went back to his flat, washed up, changed his shirt and left with a pistol’ could describe many Texas residents. Are they all guilty? It doesn’t really say anything to me about being guilty or not being guilty. It’s b bit of a non event. One woman left the TSBD and went shoe shopping with a friend. She sounds much more guilty to me. Shoes! After the murder of a president!

      1. Frank

        I don’t believe the evidence against Oswald is “quite washy”. Example, there was a palm print on the stock of the rifle found on the sixth floor of the SBD. Not only it was Oswald’s, the rest of the palm print that was on the stock was also on the INSIDE of the rifle. This could have only happened if the print was left on the rifle when the rifle was disassembled. The gun belonged to Oswald, he re-assembled it but failed to wipe the rifle completely clean. By the way, I was in the military, I am experienced with firing rifles, cleaning, disassembling and reassembling. Those skills are taught to every trainee in basic training in the military. It is a matter of routine for a gun owner, like me.

        Note: the Warren Commission is not without fault. Example: the CIA concealed the fact that there was a plot to kill Castro from the WC. I’d say that the Federal Authorities (FBI and SS) where all trying to CYA after the assassination. So the entire process of the investigation and the WC findings are certainly not perfect.

        1. Interestingly, the FBI found no prints whatsoever on the weapon. Only on return to the Dallas police did they magically discover the palm print. It is also interesting that the lack of nitrates on Oswald’s face and the pattern of nitrates on his hands indicates he had NOT fired a weapon in the previous 24 hours.

      2. If Ruby hadn’t shot Oswald none of this speculation would have ever transpired. By Nov. 23 the Dallas police had an airtight case against Oswald, as contemporary news reports document. After 50 years there has been no physical evidence whatsoever of anybody else being involved. I think that Oswald admitted his guilt by saying ” well it’s all over now” when he was arrested. Had he not had his late night press conference and had he been properly interrogated his lies and contradictions would have caught up with him. Instead the incompetence of the Dallas Police Department allowed him to be the center of attention that he thought he would be after his return from the Soviet Union. It may well have been possible that he thought that he could beat the JFK rap, although he was going to get the death penalty for Tippit. I have to believe the man who knew him best – his brother. His belief is that Oswald was just itching to brag about his deed and would have admitted guilt during a trial.

        1. This is a blast of hot air worthy of John McAdams. Let’s look at just one of your claims, that Robert Oswald knew his brother better than anyone. Robert joined the Marines in the summer of 1952, when Lee was still only 12. Obviously, between then and October 1956 the two spent very little time together. Then Lee joined up, and they were saw each other even less. Then came Lee’s trip to the USSR, where he lived for over 2.5 years. Lee, Robert, and their half-brother John Pic celebrated Thanksgiving together on November 22, 1962. Lee and Robert would then not see each other until exactly one year later. They were so completely out of touch that Robert didn’t even know Lee and Marina had had another baby.

          Robert and Lee Oswald were not much better than amiable strangers.

          As to the “airtight case” against Oswald, here’s what police chief Curry had to say on a couple of occasions: “We don’t have any proof that Oswald fired the rifle, and never did. Nobody’s yet been able to put him in that building with a gun in his hand.” (Dallas Morning News, November 6, 1969). Another Curry quote of relevance: “I think there’s a possibility that one [shot] could have come from in front [of the limousine]. We’ve never, we’ve never been able to prove that, but just in my mind and by the direction of his blood and brain from the president from one of the shots, it would just seem that it would have to been fired from the front rather than behind. I can’t say that I could swear that I believe that it was one man and one man alone. I think there’s a possibility there could have been another man.” (British Broadcasting Corporation, “The Assassination of President Kennedy: What Do We Know Now That We Didn’t Know Then?” shown in the US in 1978).

        2. S.R."Dusty" Rohde

          Photon…”the Dallas police had an airtight against Oswald”…in a delusional world I suppose that could happen. Of course you realize the Dallas PD claims would be examined in an actual Legal context…not in Lala Land.
          Oswalds appearance when arrested in no way matched descriptions of the Tippit shooter. Dallas PD took Oswalds brown shirt and made him go to lineups in his white undershrt to better match the shooter. The claim by Dallas PD that LHO’s gun misfired was a fabrication…airtight? …dream on.

        3. S.R."Dusty" Rohde

          I noticed how you fail to mention that Jim Martin (Marinas benefactor who she moved in with after Lee’s death) himself claimed to have provided information which enabled others to force Robert to give false testimony about LHO. (Photon)

      3. Frankie,

        1. Marina has changed her mind about Oswald’s guilt, but she has never retracted any of her testimony or claimed that she was told what to say.

        3. That other TSBD workers were missing is a myth created by conspiracy authors. The list of people who supposedly left the Depository is actually a list of people who were outside the building at the time of the shooting (including the woman who went shopping). Sure, they left the building — BEFORE the motorcade arrived. None of them could’ve been the 6th-floor sniper, so implying that their situation is comparable to Oswald’s is highly misleading.

        Oswald was the ONLY employee who was inside the building at the time of the shooting who left the area immediately (within 3-5 minutes). Everyone else who had been inside when Kennedy was shot stayed at work until the police or their bosses said they could leave, around 2 or 3 o’clock. Truly noticed that Oswald wasn’t there and reported it — he knew Oswald had been inside the building shortly after the shooting because he and Baker had seen him there and now he was gone.

        Signed statements from all TSBD employees saying where they were, who they were with, etc. start here:

    5. Mike T,
      I think you’re wrong in stating that Oswald was the only employee who left the building. I believe that he was the only one that Roy Truly identified to authorities, offering the address of Oswald’s rooming house.

        1. Givens and Frazier weren’t missing. Both had been outside the building when the motorcade went by (and had witnesses to prove it). Most TSBD employees had gone outside to see JFK, but of those who stayed in the building, Oswald alone left the area within minutes, shortly after being spotted near the back stairs.

          Truly gave police the only address Oswald had given him — the Paine house in Irving.

          1. S.R. "Dusty" Rohde

            I found some references to this in the Dallas Police records recently released to “The Portal to Texas” I can’t post the link at the moment, apologies. If interested I can supply it a bit later. I can give you the essence of the evidence. Dallas PD put out a “pick up” order over the radio for C. Givens because at the time of the shooting Givens already had a warrent for his arrest and was missing from the TSBD.

          2. Dusty, Givens was “missing” only because he’d been with friends a couple of blocks away when the motorcade went by and when he tried to return to work the building had been sealed off by the police. He stayed in the area until the building was opened again and talked to police.

            Oswald’s situation was entirely different because by his own admission he’d been inside the TSBD when the shots were fired and then left the area right away. He was the ONLY employee who could’ve fired the shots who left the area before the building was sealed off.

          3. S.R. "Dusty" Rohde

            The call for the pickup on Givens was time stamped @ 1:46, well over an hour after the shooting. Can you tell me where you found your info or share a link as I would like to read it, thanks.

          4. S.R. "Dusty" Rohde

            PS: “We have a man that we would like to have you pass this on to the CID (Criminal Intelligence Division) to see if we can pick this man up – Charles Douglas Givens…..he’s a porter that worked on this floor up here (TSBD). He has a police record and he left.” …that is quoted from the transcripts. Missing is missing, I can be literal at times. If he returned I haven’t read it anywhere but is possible.

          5. Yes, the cops wanted to talk to Givens (he had a prior arrest). Like many others, he’d been locked out when the building was sealed off. But he returned, unlike Oswald:

            Truly had noticed Givens walking away from the TSBD shortly before the motorcade arrived, so he didn’t report him missing as he did Oswald.

            Revill of the DPD testified that he’d talked to Givens that afternoon; two other witnesses gave him an alibi.

            WC testimony here is searchable (Control + F):

            So your source didn’t tell you that Givens had been outside when the shooting occurred?

          6. S.R. "Dusty" Rohde

            So you agree he was “missing” from the building, although found later nearby. I wonder…if the building was blocked off how did Braden and one other person get in to use the phone? Anyhow, Oswald had been arrested and in a police vehicle by 1:18, took them less time to find Oswald then it did Givens.

          7. The point is that it makes no difference whether Givens was “missing” or not. Oswald is the only “missing” employee who could have been the shooter. Why do you suppose conspiracy writers never point that out and talk about Givens instead?

            The building wasn’t sealed off immediately (it took several minutes and estimates vary). Some workers who’d been outside were able to return to work and Oswald was able to leave.

          8. S.R. "Dusty" Rohde

            No, the point was that you stated Oswald was the only one missing…which was not an accurate statement. This writer mentions Givens to point out the misrepresentation. Where Oswald, Givens and Frazier is not relevant to the fact they were not in the building. Yes, I’m arguing technicalities, because it matters. “Oswald is the only ‘missing’ employee who could have been the shooter”…presumption. Who decided the shooter couldn’t still be in the building? Who decided Oswald was guilty…in a courtroom?

  8. The History Channel recently aired LHO 48 Hours to Live. For most of the doc some old guy screamed at the camera about how anyone who thinks there is a conspiracy is a loser. Funny how they conveniently left this part of the interrogation out. Guess they just missed it.

  9. This man should ALWAYS be referred to “alleged assassin” in the history books and all media references. Without a trial or his admission to committing the act, to say nothing of no irrefutable eyewitness testimony, this would be the only fair thing to do.

    1. Thomas, well said, and hopefully that is a goal of influential historians and reputable journalists, to establish the appropriate reference.

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