Fifty years ago today, President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie were riding through Dallas, Texas, in an open Lincoln convertible when the unthinkable happened. Three bullets sliced through the air from a sixth-story window in the nearby Texas School Book Depository building. In the car with President Kennedy was Governor Connelly; he took one hit and was badly injured but would later recover. The other two bullets hit their mark—the President slumped with a shot to the back, then another in the head. He was rushed to the nearest hospital but was pronounced dead 30 minutes later.
In the scene of confusion and shock, a man slipped away from the building where the shots were thought to have been fired. Police arrived to confront the assassin, but he was already gone. Within the hour, police officer J. D. Tippet stopped the same man on the street only to be shot and killed for his questioning. The shooter ducked into a movie theater to hide but was recognized as a suspect and taken into custody. His name was Lee Harvey Oswald, and on November 23 he was formally arraigned for the murders of President Kennedy and Officer J.D. Tippit. The next day he was shot while being transferred to a more secure county facility.
Two hours after the president’s death, Vice President Lyndon Johnson was sworn into office before a small gathering of about 30 people, including the now-widowed Jaqueline Kennedy. The inauguration took place on board Air Force One, just moments before the plane left Dallas to bring Kennedy’s body, and the new president, back to Washington D.C.
View a video about the assassination of JFK here.