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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. XII - Page 399« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Don Ray Archer)

Mr. Hubert.
Tell us what you saw?
Mr. Archer.
Well, as they passed in front of me, I could see---I could see the detectives on each side of Oswald leading him towards the ramp. The automobile ramp in the basement. Then as they neared the front of the ramp--now, keeping in mind that in this position that I was in, I did have some bright lights shining into my eyes, and that because of these lights it would be hard for me to recognize someone on the opposite side of the ramp. I mean, you know, without focusing my vision directly on them. In other words, I couldn't take a scanning view and possibly recognize just anyone, but as they approached the ramp, just as they reached the edge of the ramp, I caught a figure of a man. The movement first turned my attention to that point. I had been watching Oswald and the detectives, and more to my right, and then I caught the movement of a man, and my first thought was, as I started moving--well, my first thought was that somebody Jumped out of the crowd, maybe to take a seek at him. Someone got emotionally upset and jumped out to take a sock at him and I started to move forward, and as I moved forward I saw the man reach Oswald, raise up, and then the shot was fired.
Mr. Hubert.
So you were in motion before the shot was fired?
Mr. Archer.
Well, I would say Just it would be instantaneous. I mean, when I saw the movement I feel like I started moving, too.
Mr. Hubert.
When did you first recognize Ruby ?
Mr. Archer.
I didn't recognize Ruby at all. I didn't know the man personally, and I didn't know his name (nor I didn't even know who admitted the shooting) until following the shooting when they asked him his name and he said, "You all know me, I'm Jack Ruby."
Mr. Hubert.
Was that when he was overpowered?
Mr. Archer.
That was as we took him back to the Jail office after the shooting.
Mr. Hubert.
Did he make any observation or remark or say anything at all before he was moved into the jail office?
Mr. Archer.
Sir, an ,instant before I heard the shot, I heard a phrase. Now, I couldn't say what the phrase was and then I definitely.
Mr. Hubert.
You mean you don't know what the phrase was?
Mr. Archer.
No, sir; I don't know. I couldn't say what the phrase was, because I had not heard, but I did hear the words, "Son-of-a-bitch," and then the shot was fired.
Mr. Hubert.
Do you know who said it?
Mr. Archer.
Yes, sir; I know Ruby said it. I'm positive of that. I was looking right at the man.
Mr. Hubert.
You mean that you didn't hear anything except those four words, "Son-of-a-bitch"?
Mr. Archer.
That is the only words I could make out.
Mr. Hubert.
And you knew it was coming from him ?
Mr. Archer.
Yes, sir; I thought that it did.
Mr. Hubert.
How far were you from him ?
Mr. Archer.
I would say, at that particular time, I was five, maybe six paces.
Mr. Hubert.
Where did he move from ?
Mr. Archer.
Sir, when I saw him, he was approaching the detectives. It was my first glimpse of it. I, personally, could not say where he moved from. He came out of the crowd, as far as I could tell, because that was all that was around was the press and officers, lining the corridors so far as I knew, sir.
Mr. Hubert.
Could he have come up from the area where the television cameras were located?
Mr. Archer.
Yes, sir; he could have. When he came into my vision, he was already in front of the detectives, and I did not see exactly where he did come from.
Mr. Hubert.
What detective was he in front of?
Mr. Archer.
Detective the ones that had Oswald, which would be Mr. Leavelle and Mr. Graves.
Mr. Hubert.
Do you know what detectives Ruby passed by in his motion from his prior position to when you saw him?
Mr. Archer.
No, sir; I--my own personal knowledge, now, well, if you are speaking about that time, I did not; no, sir.
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