Saturday, March 1, 2014

James T. Tague, wounded assassination witness, dies at 77

by JASON SICKLES / Yahoo News

A material witness whose testimony contributed to the controversial “magic bullet theory” in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy has died.

James Tague was standing in Dallas’s Dealey Plaza when the shots were fired on Nov. 22, 1963.

A bullet presumably meant for Kennedy instead struck a curb near where Tague was standing and sent debris flying into his face.

“It was just skin-deep, that’s all there was to it,” Tague told Yahoo News three months ago when he was the subject of a video story on the 50th anniversary of the assassination.

Tague’s daughter, Suanna Holloway, said her father died at his home 70 miles north of Dallas on Friday following a brief illness. He was 77.

“It happened very fast,” Holloway said. “He was a fantastic father.”

Tague’s experience at Dealey Plaza ultimately led Warren Commission investigators to conclude that one of the three shots missed and that one of the rounds went through both JFK and Texas Gov. John Connally.

JFK researcher Debra Conway said the commission was initially going to settle with two shots hitting the president and one hitting the governor.

“But because Mr. Tague was near the missed shot and was wounded … they had to account for the missed shot,” said Conway, president of JFK Lancer, a historical research group.

“Jim is a very important witness.”

Critics of the Warren Commission have long questioned the so-called “magic bullet theory,” arguing that the bullet could not have traversed multiple layers and angles.

By his own account, Tague was in Dealey Plaza by accident.

“I was going to meet a cute red head for lunch,” Tague told Yahoo News in his trademark Texas drawl.

But when traffic came to a stop in downtown, Tague got out of his car to investigate. That’s when he saw the president’s motorcade heading toward him. Then came the gunfire.

“I guess 50 years later I’m still trying to absorb all of it,” Tague told Yahoo in November.

A native of Plainfield, Ind., Tague served in the Air Force before settling in Dallas. He sold cars for three decades and managed one of the top dealerships in Dallas before retiring.

Through the years, Tague’s own curiosity transformed him from eyewitness to JFK assassination researcher. He befriended other JFK assassination buffs, visited the National Archives to inspect evidence and amassed a huge collection of Kennedy-related books, some of which he sold on eBay.

Tague also authored two books, including last year’s “LBJ and the Kennedy Killing” in which he alleges a cover-up plot.

“Personally, I’m urging young people to keep the truth alive,” he told Yahoo News.

Even in the months before his death, he still made daily trips to the post office to send out autographs to people seeking a tie to that fateful day in Dallas.

“I did not let it consume my life; I just say it made my life interesting,” Tague said.

In addition to Holloway, Tague is also survived by another daughter, two sons, and five grandchildren. A memorial service is planned for 7 p.m. Monday at American Funeral Service in Denison, Texas


Paul C. said...

Sloppy reporting didn't end with the 50th anniversary! Tague's minor wounding is an important aspect of the case. But if you believe Mr. Sickle, it was the sole reason the Warren Commission turned to both the single bullet theory and the missed shot. Ironically, it was just as likely the Tague fragment came from the third shot.

Dale K. Myers said...

You are correct. I was wondering how long it would take for someone to catch those basic reporting mistakes. It's been repeated elsewhere too. I would say that it is far more likely (rather than "just as likely") that the Tague fragment came from the head shot given that any missed shot fired in the direction of the limousine shortly after its turn onto Elm Street (as all evidence indicates) would have disintegrated upon impact and therefore could not have propelled any fragment far enough, at the proper velocity, or at the required angle to have ricocheted off the Main street curb and wounded Tague. Check out the work done by ballistics experts Lucien and Michael Haag, as seen on 2013's NOVA: Cold Case JFK.

Anonymous said...

I'm not convinced the bullet hit the curb, I think it was a fragment from the head shot that hit Tague just not sure it hit the curb.
I understand lead was found on the curb but lead is on curbs everywhere from wheel weight scraping curbs, maybe there is some really good analysis of the curb and the trajectory but I have never seen it.

Flip de Mey said...

I examined in my book 'Cold Case Kennedy' the mathematical situation at Dealey Plaza. I started from the exact measures and positions, both in the horizontal and vertical pane, and only then calculated whether, and if so when, JFK's back wound, his throat, Connally's armpit and the Sniper's nest were in one straight line both horizontally and vertically. I found (and proved in a way that everyone can mathematically check) this was indeed the case at around Z211. So I first took the measures and positions, and AFTERWARDS looked whether or not there was a moment at which a single bullet was possible. I came also to the conclusion that the Tague wound was indeed a fragment from the headshot. Strange enough for those who know where the car was at Z313 and where Tague was standing, the Tague-fragment moved (slightly) to the right compared to the long axis of the limo. (You would expect Tague being to the left of the car. But this is not the case). The positions of (a) the curbstone, (b) JFK's head, and (c) the Sniper's Nest are compatible with the conclusion that Tague was hit at Z313 by a fragment from the head shot. The fragment must have flown just above the chrome-strip of the windshield. Which is acceptable seen the dent made by another fragment. Elm street is descending 3°, so the bullet passing just above the windshield is still in a slightly descending traject to the curbstone. A first missed shot at Z160 could never land on the curb at Tagues feet. I do not agree with every aspect of Dale's splendid animation, I suggest you read in the book why, it would takes us too far from Jim Tague here. I bought a lot of books from Jim, indeed always accompanied with a signed photo of him standing near the underpass. He seemed a nice man. The necessity for Specter to change the story from three shots three hits to the single bullet theory had nothing to do with Tagues wound, but with the timing of the reactions to a bullet of Kennedy and Connally when reappearing from behind the Stemmon's sign. But the Tague-story, and the way the FBI handled this important witness-victim, proves how dishonest the whole investigation was. Whether or not the final ballistic answer (SBT) of the Warren Commission was correct, they thought it was necessary to cover-up the fact that there was a third victim. And this alone proves that in many aspects the Warren-investigation was intellectually dishonest. If they had done the proper research they would have solved this matter, but they were afraid about the possible outcome, and chose not to investigate the question thoroughly, and if possible to neglect its existence completely. The fact that the FBI and the WC were willing to cover-up a third victim is (for me) the most important aspect of the Tague-story. It proves the FBI covered up without knowing what really happened. So in a paradoxical way Tague's story proves that Hoover was not involved in a conspiracy but did not rule its possibility out at a moment that he claimed that there was no evidence whatsoever of a second shooter.

Dale K. Myers said...

Specter's SBT was born out of answering a simple and basic question: What happened to the bullet that passed through JFK's upper right back/throat?