James "Jim" Thomas Tague (born October 17, 1936) was a witness to the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. He received a minor wound on his right cheek during the assassination from the ricochet of a bullet intended for Kennedy. He is the only person, in addition to Kennedy and Texas Governor John B. Connally, known to have been wounded by gun fire in Dallas' Dealey Plaza that day.
Born in Plainfield, Indiana, Tague had been driving to downtown Dallas to have lunch with a friend when he came upon a traffic jam due to the presidential motorcade. He then stopped his car, got out of it, and stood by Dealey Plaza, at the south curb of Main Street, 520 feet (158 m) southwest of the Texas School Book Depository. He was a few feet east of the eastern edge of the triple underpass railroad bridge, when Tague saw the presidential limousine, and heard the first shot.
Like many other witnesses, Tague remembered hearing this first shot and likened it to a firecracker. Tague later testified that the first shot he recalled hearing occurred after the presidential limousine had already completed the 120-degree slow turn from Houston Street onto Elm Street and then straightened out. The motorcade then proceeded towards him.
Soon after the shots were fired, Tague was approached by Dallas sheriff detective Buddy Walthers, who had noticed that Tague had specks of blood on his right facial cheek. (Tague also had a small left facial scab, caused by an unrelated event which occurred a week prior to assassination.) The detective asked Tague where he had been standing. The two men then examined the area and discovered — on the upper part of the Main Street south curb — a "very fresh scar" impact that, to each of them, looked like a bullet had struck there and taken a small chip out of the curb's concrete. They came to the conclusion that one bullet ricocheted off the curb and the debris hit Tague. This curb surrounding the scar chip was not cut out until August 1964, and is now in the National Archives. The scar chip was 23 feet 6 inches (7.2 m) east of the east edge of the triple underpass railroad bridge, about 20 (6.1 m) feet from where Tague stood during the attack. The detective told Tague it looked like a bullet had been fired from one of the Houston and Elm Streets intersection buildings and had hit the curb.
After the assassination
The Warren Commission and the FBI
Tague provided his testimony to the Warren Commission on July 28, 1964. He initially stated that he was wounded on his facial cheek by either the second or third shot of the three shots that he remembered hearing. When the Commission counsel pressed him to be more specific, Tague testified that he was wounded by the second shot. When the Commission counsel asked Tague where he sensed was the source of the gun shots, Tague testified the shots originated "from the monument or whatever it was" which was the area of the North Pergola Monument, located on the grassy knoll, several hundred feet west of the Book Depository building.
According to the Warren Commission's final report, forensic tests by the FBI revealed that the chipped bullet mark impact location contained no embedded copper metal residue, indicating that it was not created by "an unmutilated military full metal-jacketed bullet such as the bullet from Governor Connally's stretcher." Tague, in his book Truth Withheld, has pictures of the scar taken on November 23, 1963, and as it sat in the National Archives in 1997.
A 1983 documented study of the curb scar, conducted by an engineering firm hired by the Reader's Digest, concluded that the curb scar had been covered over with a foreign material.
In 1997, Tague visited the U.S. National Archives and personally examined the curbstone scar chip. Tague was also accompanied by a U.S. National Archivist. They both immediately agreed that the scar chip was covered up with a foreign-material patch over the scar chip (no documented record nor documented authorization exists of precisely who or what agency had the scar chip within its evidence chain, nor when the scar chip was covered up). Harold Weisberg had said the same thing about the scar chip being covered over after he first examined the scar chip in the late 1960s.
In 2003, the 40th anniversary year of the assassination, Tague published a book, Truth Withheld (ISBN 0-9718254-7-5), detailing his experiences during and after the assassination.
In 2013, the 50th anniversary year, a few days before the commemorative events on Dealey Plaza set for Friday November 22, Tague reports that he cannot obtain a pass for the Dealey Plaza event and even petitions Mayor Mike Rawlings for a ticket, but is denied.
- "Testimony of James Thomas Tague". Hearings before the President's Commission on the Assassination of John F. Kenney VII. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. 1964. pp. 552–558.
- "Chapter 3: The Shots from the Texas School Book Depository". Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. 1964. pp. 116–117.
- JFK - L. Fletcher Prouty; Chapter 19, Page 300, Paragraph 3
- McNichol, Tom (November 21, 2010). "The Kennedy Assassination's Accidental Victim". The Atlantic. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
- Warren Commission Hearings, Testimony of James Tague, 1964
- William M. Goggins, James Tague: Unintended Victim in Dealey Plaza.