James "Jim" Thomas Tague (October 17, 1936 – February 28, 2014) was a witness to the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. Tague received a minor wound to his right cheek immediately prior to the assassination, caused by tiny pieces of concrete debris from a street curb that was struck by a bullet presumably intended for Kennedy. Besides Kennedy and Texas Governor John B. Connally, Tague was the only person known to have been wounded by gunfire in Dallas's Dealey Plaza that day.
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The Kennedy assassination
Tague had been driving to downtown Dallas to have lunch with his girlfriend (and future wife) when he came upon a traffic jam due to the presidential motorcade which was traveling west on Elm Street. Tague testified to the Warren Commission that the traffic jam caused him to park his car on the north curb of Elm Street, where he then "got out of his car and stood by the bridge abutment". Tague was a few feet east of the eastern edge of the triple underpass railroad bridge, when he 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. He 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 that occurred a week prior to the assassination.) The detective asked Tague where he had been standing. The two men then examined the area and discovered — on the upper, curved part of the Elm Street north 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 after Tague repeatedly reminded authorities that he had also been wounded during the shots, and it is now in the National Archives. The scar chip was 23 feet 6 inches (7.16 m) east of the east edge of the triple underpass railroad bridge, about 20 feet (6 m) from where Tague stood during the attack. The detective told Tague it looked like a bullet had been fired from either the Texas School Book Depository or the Dal-Tex Building.
After the assassination
The Warren Commission and the FBI
Tague was called by the Warren Commission to testify 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 gunshots, Tague testified the shots were fired and "coming from my left," "by the, whatever you call the monument," which was the area of the North Pergola Monument that is located on the north grassy knoll, several hundreds of feet apart from and 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, published pictures of the scar taken on November 23, 1963, and as it sat in the National Archives in 1997.
Books and Events
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 the book, he confirmed that he was injured following the second shot.
In 2011, Tague was used by Max Holland as a witness to support Max Holland's first shot miss theory for the show JFK: The Lost Bullet.
In 2013 Tague published his second book, LBJ and the Kennedy Killing (ISBN 1937584747), claiming that Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson and his associates were involved in the assassination of President Kennedy.
In 2013, a few days before the 50th assassination anniversary commemorative events held on Dealey Plaza set for Friday November 22, Tague reported that he could not obtain a pass for the Dealey Plaza event, even after he had asked Mayor Mike Rawlings for a ticket.
Later life and death
- "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.
- James Tague, key JFK assassination witness, dies[dead link]
- "Obituaries: James Thomas Tague". www.americanfuneralservice-fh.com. American Funeral Service. Retrieved October 21, 2014.