Howard Brennan
Wall Opposite Book Depository
Book Depository
I was facing in a northerly direction looking across not only at Elm Street but I could see the large red brick building across the street from where I was sitting. I take this building across the street to be about 7 stories anyway in the east end of the building and the second row of windows from the top I saw a man in this window. I had seen him before the President’s car arrived. He was just sitting up there looking down apparently waiting for the same thing I was to see the President. I did not notice anything unusual about this man. He was a white man in his early 30’s, slender, nice looking, slender and would weight about 165 to 175 pounds. He had on light colored clothing but definitely not a suit. I proceeded to watch the President’s car as it turned left at the corner where I was and about 50 yards from the intersection of Elm and Houston and to a point I would say the President’s back was in line with the last window I have previously described I heard what I thought was a backfire. It run in my mind that it might be someone throwing firecrackers out the window of the red brick building and I looked up at the building. I then saw this man I have described in the window and he was taking aim with a high powered rifle. I could see all of the barrel of the gun. I do not know if it had a scope on it or not. I was looking at the man in this window at the time of the last explosion. Then this man let the gun down to his side and stepped down out of sight. He did not seem to be in any hurry. I could see this man from about his belt up. There was nothing unusual about him at all in appearance. I believe that I could identify this man if I ever saw him again.
FBI REPORT: November 22, 1963.
He said the automobile [Presidential limousine] had passed down Elm Street (going in a westerly direction) approximately 30 yard s from the point where he (Brennan) was seated when he heard a loud report which he first thought to be the "backfire" of an automobile. He said he hoes not distinctly remember a second shot but he remembers "more than one noise," as if someone was shooting fire crackers, and consequently he believes there must have been a second shot before he looked in the direction of the Texas School Book Depository building.
Upon hearing the report, or reports, he looked across the street to the Texas School book Depository building, where he saw a man in a window on the sixth floor near the Southeast corner of the building. The man he observed in the window had what appeared to be a "heavy" rifle in his hands. He could not tell whether or not this rifle had a telescopic sight, as the rifle was protruding only about half its length outside the window. He was positive that after he had observed this man in the window, he saw this person take "deliberate aim" and fire a shot. He then observed this person take the rifle from his shoulder and hold it by the barrel of the rifle, as if he were resting the but of the rifle on the floor. He said this individual observed the scene on the street below, momentarily, and then stepped back from the window. He said the rifle was pointed in the direction of the President’s car when he saw it fired. He advised there was nothing to obstruct his line of vision between the place where he was seated and the window on the sixth floor of the Texas School book Depository building where he saw the man with the rifle. He estimated distance between the point where he was seated and the window from which the shots were fired to be approximately 90 yards.
[Brennan failed to pick Oswald out of the lineup.]
FBI REPORT: December 17, 1963.
He advised that at about 7 P.M., November 22, 1963, when he observed a line-up of individuals at the Dallas Police Department he selected Lee Harvey Oswald as the individual most closely resembling the person whom he had seen with a rifle in the widow of the TSBD building. He said this was the extreme East window of the sixth floor on the front side of the TSBD building where he observed this individual. He noted that he was seated on a wall across Elm Street from the TSBD at the time the Presidential motorcade passed. He stated that he now can say that he is sure that Lee Harvey Oswald was the person he saw in the window at the time of the President’s assassination. He pointed out that he felt that a positive identification was not necessary when he observed Oswald in the police line-up at the Dallas Police Department at about 7 P.M., November 22, 93, since it was his understanding Oswald had already been charged with the slaying of Dallas Police Officer J. D. Tipppit. He said that another factor which made him hesitate to make a positive identification of Oswald in the police line-up was that prior to appearing at the police line-up on November 22, 1963, he had observed a picture of Oswald on his television set at home when his daughter asked him to watch it. He said that he felt that since he had seen Oswald on television before picking Oswald out of the line-up at the police station that it tended to "cloud" any identification he made of Oswald at that time.
FBI REPORT: January 7, 1964.
Mr. Brennan advised that on November 22, 1963, after finishing lunch at about 12:18 PM, he sat on a retainer wall directly across from the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD) building, on Elm Street. While he was sitting there, he looked up at the TSBD building and noticed that there was a man standing in the sixth floor window; however, at this time, this man did not have a rifle. He said he then turned around and noticed that the man had left the window. Then he turned his head back toward the South where the Presidential motorcade would come. Approximately ten minutes after sitting down on this retaining wall, the Presidential motorcade turned onto Houston Street, and he was able to see President Kennedy and his wife pass approximately thirty yards west on Elm from where he was seated. The car passed out of sight and shortly thereafter, he heard one shot, which he first believed to have been a firecracker, and he immediately looked toward the TSBD building and saw a man on the sixth floor in the same window, near the southeast corner of the building, and noticed that this man took deliberate aim and shot the rifle again. When he saw the man shoot the rifle this time, he realized it was the same man that he had seen standing in the window a few minutes before. After the last shot, he immediately fell off the retaining wall and ran for an officer so that he could advise the police and Secret Service that the man whom he had seen take the last shot was in the TSBD building. ... Mr. Brennan added that after his first interview at the Sheriff’s office, on November 22, 1963, he left and went home at about 2 PM. While he was at home, and before he returned to view a lineup, which included the possible assassin of President Kennedy, he observed Lee Harvey Oswald’s picture on television.
Mr. Brennan said that this, of course, did not help him retain the original impression of the man in the window with the rifle; however, upon seeing Lee Harvey Oswald in the police lineup, he felt that Oswald most resembled the man whom he had seen in the window.
WARREN COMMISSION: March 24, 1964.
Mr. BRENNAN. And after the President had passed my position, I really couldn’t say how many feet or how far, a short distance I would say, I heard this crack that I positively thought was a backfire.
Mr. BELIN. You thought it was backfire?
Mr. BRENNAN. Of a motorcycle.
Mr. BELIN. Then what did you observe or hear?
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, then something, just right after this explosion, made me think that it was a firecracker being thrown from the Texas Book Store. And I glanced up. And this man that I saw previous was aiming for his last shot.
Mr. BELIN. This man you saw previous? Which man are you talking about now?
Mr. BRENNAN. The man in the sixth story window.
Mr. BELIN. Would you describe just exactly what you saw when you saw him this last time?
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, as it appeared to me he was standing up and resting against the left window sill, with gun shouldered to this right shoulder, holding the gun with his left hand and taking positive aim and fired his last shot. As I calculate a couple of seconds. He drew the gun back from the window as though he was drawing it back to his side and maybe paused for another second as though to assure hisself that he hit this mark, and then he disappeared. And, at the same moment, I was diving off of that firewall and to the right for bullet protection of this stone wall that is a little higher on the Houston side. [3H143-144]
Mr. BELIN. Let me ask you this. How many shots did you hear?
Mr. BRENNAN. Positively two. I do not recall a second shot—
Mr. BELIN. By a second shot, you mean a middle shot between the time you heard the first noise and the last noise?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes; that is right. I don’t know what made me think that there was firecrackers thrown out of the Book Store unless I did hear the second shot, because I positively thought the first shot was a backfire, and subconsciously I must have heard a second shot, but I do not recall it. I could not swear to it.
Mr. BELIN. Could you describe the man you saw in the window on the sixth floor?
Mr. BRENNAN. To my best description, a man in his early thirties, fair complexion, slender but neat, neat slender, possibly 5-foot 10.
Mr. BELIN. About what weight?
Mr. BRENNAN. Oh, at—I calculated, I think, from 160 to 170 pounds.
Mr. BELIN. A white man?
Mr. BELIN. Do you remember what kind of clothes he was wearing?
Mr. BRENNAN. Light colored clothes, more of a khaki color.
Mr. BELIN. Do you remember the color of his hair?
Mr. BRENNAN. No. [3H144-145]