NOVEMBER 22, 1963: Officer J.D. Tippit remembered


POSTED: Friday, November 22, 2013 - 7:11pm

UPDATED: Friday, November 22, 2013 - 7:27pm

"It appears something has happened in the motorcade route. Something, I repeat, has happened in the motorcade route."

Words like terror, shock, and disbelief were the adjectives of the hour 50 years ago.

This is the one time in history that everybody young or old knows where they were for exactly that time, that day. I know I did.

A Dallas cop on patrol in South Oak Cliff, November 22, 1963, named Frank Williams, remembers like it was yesterday and reflects on his neighbor and friend, Officer J.D. Tippit.

"We were neighbors," said Williams. "We lived a couple of blocks apart. Of course, at that time, we found out we were both from Bogata, Texas."

KETK's Bob Brackeen interviewing, Frank Williams, friend and neighbor of J.D. Tippit.

The two friends decided they'd lunch together at a cafeteria along Ferguson Avenue that November day, the last moments he'd see his neighbor and fellow officer alive.

Not alone in a last hour meeting, William's wife also spoke with Tippit on that terrible, fateful day.

"She must've been speeding a little bit,  because Tippit stopped her on her way to work that morning," recalls Williams. "He went up and he said, 'Anne, are you trying to kill yourself?' It was ironic to me she got stopped by Tippit and that was the last time she saw him because she knew him real well."

Not long after the two had their last lunch, police radios alerted the entire force to the pandemonium downtown.

"Sometime around 12:00 p.m., it came over the police radio that the president had been shot in downtown Dallas,"said Williams. "Some of us were directed to come to that area and on the way down there it came over the radio that a police officer had been shot out in Oak Cliff. "

Then, word of an eyewitness to the killing at 10th and Patton was reported.

"The policeman walked to the part of the car even with the front wheel and this man shot him in the wink of an eye! Bang, bang, bang," claims Williams.

Then, Williams and other officers were redirected to the Texas Theatre in search of a cop killer, so when he got there, he pulled around the back of the building and went in.

"So, I got almost to the back and Officer Nick McDonald, he lived out in the neighborhood too, approached a man and all of a sudden sudden he says, 'I got him," Williams adds.

Tippet's suspected killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, was captured and taken downtown.

Then, a new chapter to the country's national nightmare begins.

A familiar face and friend to some fellow officers, nightclub owner, Jack Ruby shoots and kills the man they believe took the life of their friend.

"Jack Ruby messed us all around," said Williams. "He stopped us from maybe getting to the truth about it all!"

Williams spent 33 years on the force in Dallas, a job he says he loved and wouldn't have wanted to work anywhere else.

But, a half-century ago and the crime of the century, this former member of the Thin Blue Line reflects on more than a national loss.

"I remember it every year, and I remember it of course for our president. but I remember if for my good friend, J.D. Tippit," Williams adds.

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