The Day President John F. Kennedy Was Assassinated Page: 3
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When we arrived, Chief Connelly told me the Secret Service had requested
me if I was available because I had top Secret Security clearance. Chief
Connelly and I went to the front steps of the Book Depository Building
where we were met by Dallas Police, the F.B.I. and Secret Service Agents.
We were then escorted to the front door where we were met by another
F.B.I. agent. He in turn allowed only myself to enter. I was taken to the
agent in charge and introduced.
He explained what it was he wanted the Fire Department to provide. I asked
him if I could bring one fireman in to assist since it was going to be several
pieces of equipment. He asked me who this man would be. Did he have top
secret security clearance. I told him his name was Harry Coombs and he did
not have top secret security clearance. The agent asked me if I would vouch
for him? I told him I would trust him with my life. He then said, get him. I
brought Harry Coombs and introduced him to the agent in charge.
We then went back to the Salvage Wagon to get floodlights, heavy extension
cords, and a short ladder for later use. We were assigned to an agent that
took us upstairs on the freight elevator. He explained what was about to
happen. There was a cockloft above the 7t floor with a very steep set of
wooden steps leading to it. Harry and I were to set our floodlights up in the
cockloft. We were to follow four men up there that were carrying
submachine guns, and at the designated time the agent down on the floor
would turn (plug in) the cords. They suspected the assassin possibly could be
hiding up there. Well, everything was going fine until we all eased up the
stairs, guns ready, lights ready, nerves tense, and I do mean tense. A cough
came from the other end of the cockloft. Guns clicked in readiness as they
fell to the floor in readiness, lights came on, and a voice rang out - DON'T
SHOOT! DON'T SHOOT! It's me! Harry and I didn't wait. We had already
exited - slid down the stairs - faster than we had ever moved. Then we saw
what had happened. Another agent who did not know what was about to
happen found a ladder at the other end of the building with a hole in the
ceiling above it, decided to climb up and investigate. As he stuck his head up
in the cockloft, some dust got in his throat and he coughed.
After this excitement we went through various parts of the building
searching false ceilings with the agents to no avail. The agent then asked if
Harry and I would like to go to the 6th floor where all the shooting had come
from. He showed us where he, Lee Harvey Oswald, had stacked boxes
neatly arranged around the area so that he would not be seen if someone
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Warnock, Leslie L., Jr. The Day President John F. Kennedy Was Assassinated, text, Date Unknown; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth532627/m1/3/: accessed December 10, 2023), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Firefighters Museum.