Affidavit Of Ralph W. Yarborough

The following affidavit was executed by Ralph W. Yarborough on July 10, 1964.




In response to the oral request of one of the attorneys for the Commission that I send you an affidavit for inclusion in the record of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, I make the following statement:
On November 22, 1963, as the President and Mrs. Kennedy rode through the streets of Dallas, I was in the second car behind them. The first car behind the Presidential car was the Secret Service car; the second car behind them was Vice-President Lyndon Johnson's car. The driver and a secret service agent were on the front seat of the Vice-President's car. Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson sat on the right side of the rear seat of the automobile, Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson was in the center of the rear seat, while I sat on the left side of the rear seat. After the Presidential motorcade had passed through the heart of downtown Dallas, experiencing an exceptionally warm and friendly greeting, as the motorcade went down the slope of Elm Street toward the railroad underpass, a rifle shot was heard by me; a loud blast, close by. I have handled firearms for fifty year, and thought immediately that it was a rifle shot. When the noise of the shot was heard, the motorcade slowed to what seemed to me a complete stop (though it could have been a near stop). After what I took to be about three seconds, another shot boomed out, and after what I took to be one-half the time between the first and second shots (calculated now, this would have put the third shot about one and one-half seconds after the second shot--by my estimate--to me there seemed to be a long time between the first and second shots, a much shorter time between the second and third shots--these were my impressions that day), a third shot was fired. After the third shot was fired, but only after the third shot was fired, the cavalcade speeded up, gained speed rapidly, and roared away to the Parkland Hospital.

I heard three shots and no more. All seemed to come from my right rear. I saw people fall to the ground on the embankment to our right, at about the time of or after the second shot, but before the cavalcade started up and raced away.

Due to the second car, with the secret service men standing on steps on the sides of it, I could not see what was happening in the Presidential car during the shooting itself. Some of the secret service men looked backward and to the right, in the general direction from which the rifle explosions seemed to come.

After the shooting, one of the secret service men sitting down in the car in front of us pulled out an automatic rifle or weapon and looked backward. However, all of the secret service men seemed to me to respond very slowly, with no more than a puzzled look. In fact, until the automatic weapon was uncovered, I had been lulled into a sense of false hope for the President's safety, by the lack of motion, excitement, or apparent visible knowledge by the secret service men, that anything so dreadful was happening. Knowing something of the training that combat infantrymen and Marines receive, I am amazed at the lack of instantaneous response by the Secret Service, when the rifle fire began. I make this statement in this paragraph reluctantly, not to add to the anguish of anyone, but it is my firm opinion, and I write it out in the hope that it might be of service in the better protection of our Presidents in the future.

After we went under the underpass, on the upward slope I could see over the heads of the occupants of the second car (Secret Service car) and could see an agent lying across the back or trunk of the Presidential car, with his feet to the right side of the car, his head at the left side. He beat the back of the car with one hand, his face contorted by grief, anguish, and despair, and I knew from that instant that some terrible loss had been suffered.

On arrival at the hospital, I told newsmen that three rifle shots had been fired. There was then no doubt in my mind that the shots were rifle shots, and I had neither then or now any doubts that any other shots were fired. In my opinion only three shots were fired.

The attached photograph from pages 24 and 25 of the Saturday Evening Post of December 14, 1963, shows the motorcade, as I remember it, an instant after the first shot. [Photograph is Yarborough Exhibit A.]

Given and sworn to this 10th day of July, 1964, at Washington, District of Columbia.
Signed this 10th day of July 1964.
(S) Ralph W. Yarborough,