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Unsung Hero of JFK Assassination Day - Police Officer JD Tippit

Many people forget another innocent man who was murdered in Dallas on November 22, 1963–the day of the JFK Assassination. Police Officer JD Tippit was shot and killed by Lee Harvey Oswald 45 minutes after JFK was assassinated in Dealey Plaza.

JD Tippit would have turned 88 years old on September 18, 2012.

Officer JD Tippit

Born in Clarksville, Texas in 1924, Police Officer J.D. Tippit was a devoted family man, a husband, and a father of three. At the age of twenty, as World War II battled on, Tippit enlisted in the army and earned a Bronze Star for combat duty.

Upon his honorable discharge, he returned home and married his high school sweetheart, Marie Gasway. The veteran and his bride had three children: Allan, Brenda, and Curtis. After working at farming and other jobs, J.D. Tippit moved his family to Dallas and joined the police force. Officer Tippit received a Certificate of Merit Award for outstanding judgment and quick thinking.

JD Tippit’s Squad Car #10

On the day of the president’s visit to Dallas, J.D. was working his usual beat in the Oak Cliff suburbs. He stopped home on a lunch break for what would be his last meal with his wife Marie. Due to the increased need for police presence, he cut his time well short of the allotted hour.

When JFK was shot, all the downtown patrol squads were ordered to report to the Texas School Book Depository in Dealey Plaza. The dispatcher then instructed Tippit—in the residential area—to cover central Oak Cliff and remain at large for any emergencies.

At approximately 1:15 pm, as Officer Tippit cruised down Tenth Street just past Patton Avenue, he spied a man who resembled the suspect in the president’s assassination. J.D. stopped the car and had a short conversation through the passenger window. Officer Tippit exited the squad car and headed toward the front of the vehicle. According to several eyewitnesses, Lee Harvey Oswald shot him four times at point blank range, killing the thirty-nine-year-old dedicated law enforcement professional.

The sudden and heinous violence left a widowed wife and fatherless children to grieve as they tried to imagine life without their devoted J.D. — husband, father, and hero.

JD Tippit’s Widow and Children

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JFK’s Motorcade through Dallas


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