Paul Landis, a former Secret Service agent who was with John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, when JFK was assassinated, is providing new details about that fateful day 60 years ago. If what he’s saying about the assassination is true, there might’ve been more than one shooter after all.
In an upcoming book – The Final Witness: A Kennedy Secret Service Agent Breaks His Silence After 60 Years – Landis recounts one tiny (yet huge) detail about a bullet (known as the ‘magic bullet’) he found in the 1961 Lincoln Continental four-door convertible limo that the then-President and First Lady were in.
According to Landis, he found three bullets. The first two bullet fragments – which he picked up before placing them back in the seat – were in a pool of blood next to JFK. The third, dubbed the ‘magic bullet,’ was a fully intact bullet ‘sitting on the back seat ledge, where the cushion meets the metal on the car.’
“I picked that up,” Paul Landis recalled in an interview with PEOPLE. “I looked at it and I started to put it back. I didn’t see anybody in the vicinity, I was wondering where all the agents were. And they all seemed to be over looking for the president or to help remove the president. So I put the bullet in my pocket.”
This all happened in the moments after the motorcade arrived at the Parkland Memorial Hospital – just minutes after the President was shot. When they arrived, Secret Service agents (including Landis) rushed to the vehicle where Jacqueline Kennedy was holding her dying husband in a pool of his own blood.
While everyone else was concerned about the President, Landis was observing the scene to try and make sense of what just happened. That’s when he found the ‘magic bullet’ and, knowing it was an important piece of evidence, put it in his pocket before racing through the hospital with everyone else.
He was behind Mrs. Kennedy as they rushed the President into a hospital room before being transferred onto an examination table. It was there that Paul Landis took the bullet out of his pocket and placed it on the President’s gurney – by his left foot – in hopes of someone seeing it and entering it into evidence.
Paul Landis’ Recollection Questioned by the Warren Commission
The Warren Commission, which was established by Lyndon B. Johnson (who took office after JFK’s assassination) was responsible for investigating the death. In their report, they wrote of three bullets – one that missed, one that hit JFK in the back and neck, and one that hit him in the head and killed him.
The second bullet, which is the ‘magic bullet’ in question, was said to have hit JFK in the back before exiting through his neck and hitting Gov. John Connally – who survived the attack. In their report, they said the bullet was found on Connally’s gurney, not JFK’s gurney (where Paul Landis says he left it).
Historian Steve Gillon is finding it hard to believe Landis’ recollection and argues that it contradicts what the Warren Commission reported in their investigation. In fact, he says the only way Landis’ claims make sense is if there was a second (or more) shooter(s) – a conspiracy theory that has stood for a long time.
“If Kennedy and Connally are hit by different bullets, or if there’s a mysterious bullet behind Mrs Kennedy as he claims in the book, then it means there has to be another shooter because Oswald was shooting from the sixth floor,” Gillon says – adding that the Commission clearly stated what each bullet did.
We may never know what truly went down that fateful day, but one testimony from a nurse named Phyllis J. Hall, who was present in the emergency room, appears to back what Paul Landis said. In 2013, she said she remembered seeing an undamaged bullet on JFK’s gurney – supposedly the ‘magic bullet.’
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