AP Was There: The Assassination of President Kennedy
EDITOR’S NOTE — On Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated while visiting Texas with his wife.
AP photographer James “Ike” Altgens was near the president, and relayed the news to Dallas bureau chief Bob Johnson, who filed the first AP news bulletin on the shooting.
It read: “President Kennedy was shot today just as his motorcade left downtown Dallas. Mrs. Kennedy jumped up and grabbed Mr. Kennedy. She cried, “Oh, no!” The motorcade sped on.”
The Associated Press is republishing a version of its report from later that day. It is published as it was originally, and contains an error in the first paragraph, which refers to Kennedy as the 36th president, instead of the 35th.
DALLAS, TX., NOV. 22 (AP) - President John F. Kennedy, thirty-sixth president of the United States, was shot to death today by a hidden assassin armed with a high-powered rifle.
Kennedy, 46, lived about an hour after a sniper cut him down as his limousine left downtown Dallas.
Automatically, the mantle of the presidency fell to Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, a native Texan who had been riding two cars behind the chief executive.
There was no immediate word on when Johnson would take the oath of office.
Kennedy died at Parkland Hospital, where his bullet-pierced body had been taken in a frantic but futile effort to save his life.
Lying wounded at the same hospital was Governor John Connally of Texas, who was cut down by the same fusillade that ended the life of the youngest man ever elected to the presidency.
Connally and his wife had been riding with the president and Mrs. Kennedy.
The first lady cradled her dying husband’s bloodsmeared head in her arms as the presidential limousine raced to the hospital.
“Oh, no,” she kept crying.
Connally slumped in his seat beside the president.
Police ordered an unprecedented dragnet of the city, hunting for the assassin.
They believed the fatal shots were fired by a white man about 30, slender of build, weighing about 165 pounds, and standing 5 feet 10 inches tall.
The murder weapon reportedly was a 30-30 rifle.
Shortly before Kennedy’s death became known, he was administered the last rites of the Roman Catholic Church. He had been the first Roman Catholic president in American history.
Even as two clergymen hovered over the fallen president in the hospital emergency room, doctors and nurses administered blood transfusion.
Kennedy died of a gunshot wound.
For more on AP’s coverage of the Kennedy assassination, visit https://www.ap.org/explore/jfk-assassination/