VI Bowers page
The testimony of Lee E.
Bowers, Jr. was taken at 2 p.m., on April 2, 1964, In the office of the
Mr. BALL. Will you stand and be sworn, Mr. Bowers?
Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give for this
Commission will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so
help you God?
Mr. BOWERS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL. Will you state your name, please.
Mr. BOWERS. Lee E. Bowers, Jr.
Mr. BALL. And what is your residence address?
Mr. BALL Dallas,
Mr. BALL. And would you tell me something about yourself, where you were
born, raised, and what has been your business, generally, or occupation?
Mr. BOWERS. I was born right here in Dallas, and lived here most of my
life except when I was in the Navy, art he age of 17 to 21, and I was away 2
years going to Hardin Simmons University, also, attended Southern Methodist
University 2 years, majoring in religion. I
worked for the railroad 15 years and was a serf-employed builder, as well
as---on the side. And the first of
this year when I went to work as business manager for Dr. Tim Green who operates
this hospital and convalescent home and rent properties.
Mr. BALL. What railroad did you work for?
Mr. BOWERS. Worked for the Union Terminal Co. with the 8 participating
Mr. BALL. And on November 22, 1963, were you working for the Union
Mr. BOWERS. Yes.
Mr. BALL. What kind of work were you doing for them?
Mr. BOWERS. I was tower man in the north tower, Union Terminal, operating
the switches and signals controlling the movement of trains.
Mr. BALL. Through railroad yards?
Mr. BOWERS. Yes.
Mr. BALL. What were your hours of work?
Mr. BOWERS. 7 to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Mr. BALL. Now, do you remember what is the height of--above the ground at
which you worked in the tower?
Mr. BOWERS. It is second story, it is 14 feet, 12 or 14 feet.
Mr. BALL. You worked about 14 feet above the ground?
Mr. BOWERS. Yes.
Mr. BALL. And the tower was arranged so that you could see out?
Mr. BOWERS. Yes; it is windows except for posts that--posts on each
comer. It is windows on all four sides.
Mr. BALL. Where is that located with reference to the corner of Elm and
Mr. BOWERS. It is west and north of this corner, and as to distances, I
really don't know. It is within 50 yards of the back of the
Mr. BALL. Did you say that it is built on higher ground, the base of the
tower on higher ground than around
Mr. BOWERS. Approximately the same.
Mr. BALL. Same? It is higher ground than Elm as it recedes down under the
Mr. BOWERS. Yes, sir; considerably.
Mr. BALL. And the base of your tower is about the same height as the
triple underpass, isn't it?
Mr. BOWERS. Approximately.
Mr. BALL. Now, can you tell me why you refer to that as a triple
underpass? In our conversation here before you were sworn your description--you
described it as a triple underpass.
Mr. BOWERS. It is just a local connotation for it since there are three
streets that run under it.
Mr. BALL. I see.
And how many sets of tracks do you control from your tower?
Mr. BOWERS. There are about
11 tracks in the station and 2 freight tracks.
Mr. BALL. That would be 13
tracks that is, the tracks altogether, that pass in front of your tower?
Mr. BOWERS. Yes; of course where the tracks converge and cross and split
off to various railroad yards---
Mr. BALL. And the tracks are to the north and west of your tower, aren't
Mr. BOWERS. Well, the tracks are west, but they proceed in all
directions, I they are both north and south.
Mr. BALL. Now, you were on duty on November 22, 1963, weren't you?
Mr. BOWERS. That's correct.
Mr. BALL: Close to noon, did you make any observation of the area around
between your tower and
Mr. BOWERS. Yes; because of the fact that the area had been covered by
police for some 2 hours. Since
approximately 10 o'clock in the morning traffic had been cut off into the area
so that anyone moving around could actually be observed. Since I had worked
there for a number of years I was familiar with most of the people who came in
and out of the area.
Mr. BALL. Did you notice any cars around there?
Mr. BOWERS. Yes; there were three cars that came in during the time from
around noon until the time of the shooting.
Mr. BALL. Came in where?
Mr. BOWERS. They came into the vicinity of the tower, which was at the
extension of Elm Street, which runs in front of the School Depository, 'and
which there is no way out. It is not
a through street to anywhere.
Mr. BALL. There is parking area behind the School Depository, between
that building and your tower?
Mr. BOWERS. Two or three railroad tracks and a small amount of parking
area for the employees.
Mr. BALL. And the first came along that you noticed about what time of
Mr. BOWERS. I do not recall the exact time, but I believe this was
approximately 12:10, wouldn't be too far off.
Mr. BALL. And the car you noticed, when you noticed the car, where was
Mr. BOWERS. The car proceeded in front of the School Depository down
across 2 or 3 tracks and circled the area in front of the tower, and to the west
of the tower, and, as if he was searching for a way out, or was checking the
area, and then proceeded back through the only way he could, the same outlet he
Mr. BALL. The place where Elm dead ends?
Mr. BOWERS. That's right. Back
in front of the School Depository was the only way he could get out.
And I lost sight of him, I couldn't watch him.
Mr. BALL. What was the description of that car?
Mr. BOWERS. The first car was a 1959 Oldsmobile, blue and white station
wagon with out-of-State license.
Mr. BALL. Do you know what State?
Mr. BOWERS. No; I do not. I would know it, I could identify it, I think,
if I looked at a list.
Mr. BALL. And, it had
something else, some bumper stickers?
Mr. BOWERS. Had a bumper sticker, one of which was a Goldwater sticker,
and the other of which was of some scenic location, I think.
Mr. BALL. And, did you see another car?
Mr. BOWERS. Yes, some 15 minutes or so after this, at approximately 12
o'clock, 20 to 12--I guess 12:20 would be close to it, little time differential
there--but there was another car which was a 1957 black Ford, with one male in
it that seemed to have a mike or telephone or something that gave the appearance
of that at least.
Mr. BALL. How could you tell that?
Mr. BOWERS. He was holding something up to his mouth with one hand and he
was driving with the other, and gave that appearance.
He was very close to the tower. I could see him as he proceeded around
Mr. BALL. What kind of license did that have?
Mr. BOWERS. Had a
Mr. BALL. What did it do as it came into the area, from what street?
Mr. BOWERS. Came in from the extension of
Mr. BALL. Did you see it leave?
Mr. BOWERS. Yes; after 3 or 4 minutes cruising around the area it
departed the same way. He did probe
a little further into the area than the first car.
Mr. BALL Did you see another car?
Mr. BOWERS. Third car, which entered the area, which was some seven or
nine minutes before the shooting, I believe was a 1961 or 1962 Chevrolet,
four-door Impala, white, showed signs of being on the road.
It was muddy up to the windows, bore a similar out-of-state license to
the first car I observed, occupied also by one white male.
Mr. BALL. What did it do?
Mr. BOWERS. He spent a little more time in the area.
He tried-he circled the area and probed one spot right at the tower in an
attempt to get and was forced to back out some considerable distance, and slowly
cruised down back
the front of the
Mr. BALL. Then did he leave?
Mr. BOWERS. The last I saw of him he was pausing just about in--just
above the assassination site.
Mr. BALL. Did the car park, or continue on or did you notice?
Mr. BOWERS. Whether it continued on at that very moment or whether it
pulled up only a short distance, I couldn't tell.
I was busy.
Mr. BALL. How long was this before the President's car passed there?
Mr. BOWERS. This last car? About
Mr. BALL Were you in a position where you could see the corner of Elm and
Mr. BOWERS. No; I could not see the corner of Elm and
Mr. BALL. You saw the President's car coming out the
Mr. BOWERS. Yes; I saw that.
Mr. BALL.. Then you lost sight of it?
Mr. BOWERS. Right. For a
Mr. BALL. Then you saw it again where?
Mr. BOWERS. It came in sight after it had turned the corner of Elm and
Mr. BALL. Did you hear anything?
Mr. BOWERS. I heard three shots. One,
then a slight pause, then two very close together.
Also reverberation from the shots.
Mr. BELIN. And were you able to form an opinion as to the source of the
sound or what direction it came from, I mean?
Mr. BOWERS. The sounds came either from up against the
Mr. BALL. Were you able to tell which?
Mr. BOWERS. No; I could not.
Mr. BALL. Well, now, had you had any experience before being in the tower
as to sounds coming from those various places ?
Mr. BOWERS. Yes; I had worked this same tower for some 10 or 12 years,
and was there during the time they were renovating the
Mr. BALL Can you tell me now whether or not it came, the sounds you
heard, the three shots came from the direction of the
Mr. BOWERS. No; I could not.
Mr. BALL. From your experience there, previous experience there in
hearing sounds that originated at the Texas School Book Depository Building, did
you notice that sometimes those sounds seem to come from the triple underpass?
Is that what you told me a moment ago?
Mr. BOWERS. There is a similarity of sound, because there is a
reverberation which takes place from either location.
Mr. BALL. Had you heard sounds originating near the triple underpass
Mr. BOWERS. Yes; quite often. Because trucks backfire and various
Mr. BALL. And you had heard noises originating from the
Mr. BOWERS. They were renovating. I---did carpenter work as well as
sandblasted the outside of the building.
Mr. BALL. Now, were there any people standing on the high side---high
ground between your tower and where Elm Street goes down under the underpass
toward the mouth of the underpass?
Mr. BOWERS. Directly in line, towards the mouth of the underpass, there
were two men. One man, middle-aged,
or slightly older, fairly heavy-set, in a white shirt, fairly dark trousers.
Another younger man, about midtwenties, in either a plaid shirt or plaid
coat or jacket.
Mr. BALL.. Were they standing together or standing separately?
Mr. BOWERS. They were standing within 10 or 15 feet of each other, and
gave no appearance of being
together, as far as I knew.
Mr. BALL. In what direction were they facing?
Mr. BOWERS. They were facing and looking up towards Main and
Mr. BALL. Did you see anyone standing on the triple underpass?
Mr. BOWERS. On the triple underpass, there were two policemen.
One facing each direction, both east and west.
There was one railroad employee, a signal man there with the Union
Terminal Co., and two welders that worked for the
Mr. BALL. You saw those before the President came by, you saw those
Mr. BOWERS. Yes; they were there before 'and after.
Mr. BALL. And were they standing on the triple underpass?
Mr. BOWERS. Yes; they were standing on top of it facing towards Houston
Street, all except, of course, the one policeman on the west side.
Mr. BALL.. Did you see any other people up on
this high ground?
Mr. BOWERS. There were one or
two people in the area. Not in this
same vicinity. One of them was a parking lot attendant that operates a parking
lot there. One or two.
Each had uniforms similar to those custodians at the courthouse.
But they were some distance back, just a slight distance back.
Mr. BALL. When you heard the sound, which way
were you looking?
Mr. BOWERS. At the moment I heard the sound, I was looking directly
towards the area---at the moment of the first shot, as close as my recollection
serves, the car was out of sight behind this decorative masonry wall in the
Mr. BALL. And when you heard the second and third shot, could you see the
Mr. BOWERS. No; at the moment of the shots, I could---I do not think that
it was in sight. It came in sight
immediately following the last shot.
Mr. BALL. Did you see any activity in this high ground above Elm after
Mr. BOWERS. At the time of the shooting there seemed to be some
commotion, and immediately following there was a motorcycle policeman who shot
nearly all of the way to the top of the incline.
Mr. BALL. On his motorcycle?
Mr. BOWERS. Yes.
Mr. BALL. Did he come by way of
Mr. BOWERS. He was part of the motorcade and had left it for some reason,
which I did not know.
Mr. BALL. He came up---
Mr. BOWERS. He came almost to the top and I believe abandoned his
motorcycle for a moment and then got on it and proceeded, I don't know
Mr. BALL. How did he get up?
Mr. BOWERS. He just shot up over the curb and up.
Mr. BALL. He didn't come then by way of Elm, which dead ends there?
Mr. BOWERS. No; he left the motorcade and came up the incline on the
Mr. BALL. Was his motorcycle directed toward any particular people?
Mr. BOWERS. He came up into this area where there are some trees, and
where I had described the two men were in the general vicinity of this.
Mr. BALL. Were the two men there at the time?
Mr. BOWERS. I--as far as I know, one of them was.
The other I could not say.
The darker dressed man was too hard to distinguish from the trees. The
white shirt, yes; I think he was.
Mr. BALL. When you said there was a commotion,
what do you mean by that? What did it look like to you when you were looking at
Mr. BOWERS. I just am unable to describe rather than it was something out
of the ordinary, a sort of milling around, but something occurred in this
particular spot which was out of the ordinary, which attracted my eye for some
reason, which I could not identify.
Mr. BALL. You couldn't describe it?
Mr. BOWERS. Nothing that I could pinpoint as having happened that---
Mr. BALL. Afterwards did a good many people come
up there on this high ground at the tower?
Mr. BOWERS. A large number of people came, more than one direction.
One group converged from the corner of Elm and Houston, and came down the
extension of Elm and came into the high ground, and another line another
large group went across the triangular area between Houston and Elm and then
across Elm and then up the incline. Some
of them all the way up. Many of them did, as well as, of course, between 50 and
a hundred policemen within a maximum of 5 minutes.
Mr. BALL. In this area around your tower?
Mr. BOWERS. That's right. Sealed
off the area, and I held off the trains until they .could be examined, and there
was some transients taken on at least one train.
Mr. BALL. I believe you have talked this over with me before your
deposition was taken, haven't we?
Mr. BOWERS. Yes.
Mr. BALL. Is there anything that you told me that I haven't asked you
about that you think of?
Mr. BOWERS. Nothing that I can recall.
Mr. BALL. You have told me all that you know about this, haven't you?
WHY did Ball interrupt Bowers between the red/green (above)
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- Lee H. Bowers, Jr.
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