The 1st Shot - The miss

November 22, 1963 is a day James Tague will never forget.  Driving through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas on that day, Mr. Tague was unexpectedly thrust into one of the most earth shattering, examined and theorized assassinations in history:  the shooting of President John F. Kennedy.

Interestingly, most sources, make the mistake of claiming his wound was on Tague's left cheek.  In an interview, Tague himself told that it was his right cheek, and the scratch seen in most photos was entirely unrelated, and a week old by that time.  Most people agree that a stray bullet or fragment of a stray bullet hit a nearby curb, of which some concrete cut Tague's cheek.  The FBI also proved that it was probably was a bullet which hit the curb.

James Tague was not planning to see Kennedy.  Tague had planned to drive downtown to meet his girlfriend (and future wife) for lunch.  He was driving east on Commerce street, the southernmost of the three streets which go under the triple underpass.  Nearing Dealey Plaza, Tague came upon traffic caused by the presidential motorcade, and was forced to stop his car halfway under the triple underpass.  He soon "got out of his car and stood by the bridge abutment".

With such a vantage point, Tague was able to view the presidential motorcade which was traveling west on Elm Street from his right side to his left.  It was at this time the assassination of Kennedy took place.

Once the first shot rang out, Tague claimed he thought someone had lit a very loud firecracker.  "It certainly didn't sound like a rifle shot.  It was a loud cannon-type sound".  Tague explained that it was a "flat sound", whereas the other two were sharp "cracks" which sounded like a true rifle shot.  In his testimony, it is somewhat unclear what Tague did between the first shot and the third shot, after which, he claims to have then ducked behind the abutment to the triple underpass for a moment.  He claims he next glanced around the abutment just in time to see the presidential limousine accelerate out of Dealey Plaza, toward the Stemmons Freeway.

Tague had been wounded by the time the third shot was fired. He reported feeling a slight sting which he initially ignored, being "consumed by what was transpiring in front of him".  It later became the focus of attention when Tague mentioned it to Dallas police officer Buddy Walthers who then noticed blood on his cheek.  The most important issue with Tague's wound is the question of which shot caused it. It could not have been the second shot, as the bullet was lodged in Connolley.Therefore This will coincide with a larger scenario of a shot either missing the presidential limousine or fragmenting after going through the presidential limousine  (particularly through Kennedy's head)  and going on to hit the curb near Tague. However Tague claimed he felt the injury before the third shot was fired, meaning it MUST have came from a missed shot.

Immediately after the shooting before meeting with Walthers, Tague claims to next see a motorcycle policeman stop, draw his gun and run up the embankment toward the railroad tracks after parking his cycle on the north curb of Elm.  This was Clyde Haygood, the officer reported to be first to the grassy knoll after the shooting.  Like many in Dealey Plaza, Tague moved toward the activity until reaching Haygood who had by that time, returned to his motorcycle.  While with Haygood, another witness reported to Haygood that a shot had come from the Texas School Book Depository.  Haygood radioed the Dallas Police dispatcher and asked that the Depository be sealed off, using the code number "142."  While reporting to dispatch, he also mentioned a man (Tague) who had been wounded by flying concrete.

After Tague reported that he recalled that something "struck him on the face" while standing by the triple underpass, Walthers looked up and said, "Yes; you have blood there on your cheek".  The two were then headed back to the location where Tague was wounded.  About fifteen feet from the location where Tague had been standing under the triple underpass, Walthers noticed fresh damage to the curb, that looked like it was caused by a bullet.  In his Warren Commission testimony, Tague said there was a mark that "quite obviously  (was made by)  a bullet, and it was very fresh".  "To Walthers, it was most obvious that the projectile either came from the School Book Depository or the Dal-Tex Building due to the angle with which it struck the curb".  He even stated to another deputy "From the looks of it, it's probably going to be in the school book building".

So!  Just why did the first shot miss so badly?  It would seem that the gunman either rushed his first shot, Or  (More likely)  he tried to shoot through the branches of a Tree, between the building and the motorcade.  A later examination of this tree did reveal some damage to one of the branches, could this have been caused by the bullet.

The above diagram shows two possible paths this bullet might have taken, one after hitting the tree, the other after hitting the car.  However if this bullet had hit the car, why did the people not react to this.  It would certainly seem that this first bullet deflected off the tree branch, hitting the curb with a splinter of either concrete of bullet hitting Tague in the cheek.

RIYAN Productions