Former FBI Agent Recalls Role in JFK Assassination Investigation

Robert Frazier, the FBI's lead firearms and ballistics examiner in 1963, was one of three examiners at the FBI Laboratory assigned to the Kennedy assassination case. Fifty years later, the 94-year-old former agent recalls the experience.

Video Transcript

He came down Main Street, made this little short turn, the turned into the Dealey Plaza road that went down and under the railroad track.

And Oswald was in the sixth floor, right there. One, two, three, four, five, six.

And the other three guys that were looking out these windows are the ones that heard the shots.

[Title slide: Retired Special Agent Robert Frazier was one of three firearms examiners assigned to analyze ballistic evidence in the Kennedy assassination.]

This happened on the morning of Friday. That night, [Cortlandt] Cunningham, [Charles] Killion, and myself went over to the Secret Service garage. And there was the limousine that they used. They’d flown it back and put it in the garage.

And of course we had a photographer from the field office there. They had their photographer there. And we examined that car very thoroughly—the same night.

And, I hate to think about it, but Jackie Kennedy had a yellow rose bouquet, Mrs. Connelly, who was sitting on a jump seat in front of her, had a red rose bouquet. And those red rose petals were all over the car. Blood everywhere. Excuse me.

But we examined it. We found some lead particles and scraping the lead from the inside [of] the windshield. That took Saturday. And Saturday night. And we got home sometime on Sunday. I don't remember when it was. We never got home Friday night or Saturday. But we got home sometime Sunday for about five hours sleep.

And then we had … my wife wanted to see the parade—the funeral procession Monday. That was on Monday. Already, all the autopsy had been finished. But she wanted to see that, so we went down there Monday and saw the parade. And I went to work and I didn't get home 'til Wednesday.

We reenacted the entire thing very, very carefully. Scrupulously. We took Zapruder’s camera, because he was photographing the car. And for certain distances we wanted to know how fast the car was going. Well, we had nobody to ask. You had to figure it out. So Shaneyfelt—Lyndal Shaneyfelt—took a clock that had a second hand in it. And photographed it with Zapruder’s camera and just like that he knew exactly how many frames were exposed during a 10-second interval.

We put that car according to three people who were running movie cameras at the time, from Zapruder, from head-on, a lady from the left side, and so forth. You could triangulate and put the car in the middle of the street or a little bit to one side. You could put the front end of that car exactly where it was at any time with reference to when the shots were fired.

And so that’s what we did. I stood up there. We took Oswald’s rifle with the scope on it to Texas and set it up.

And there has been conspiracy theories and people shooting from here and from there and from everywhere else. There has never been anything to indicate positively that anybody else was involved.

[Robert Frazier had more than 20 years of experience when he was assigned to the Kennedy assassination investigation.]

[He testified about his findings before the Warren Commission and remains proud of the part he and his colleagues in the FBI Laboratory played in such a significant case.]

It was the biggest thing that ever happened at any time in my career.

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