A Secret Service agent who was just feet away from President John F. Kennedy when he was assassinated is raising new questions about the “magic bullet” theory.
Paul Landis, who was one of the agents with Kennedy during that parade in Dallas, has come forward to tell his version of the assassination in an interview with The New York Times and in an upcoming book.
After decades of trying to erase that day from his memory, he said that if his recollections of that day are correct, the so-called “magic bullet” theory may be debunked.
The ”magic bullet” theory was put forward by The Warren Commission Report in the year after Kennedy’s assassination. That commission concluded that one of the bullets fired at Kennedy’s limousine struck not only the president, but also hit Texas Gov. John B. Connally Jr. in multiple places.
Investigators came up with the single bullet theory in part due to finding the bullet on the stretcher of Connally at Parkland Memorial Hospital, The Times noted. But Landis, 88, told the newspaper that this theory does not match what he saw on Nov. 22, 1963 and instead, he was the one to find the bullet.
Instead of at the hospital, Landis said he picked up the bullet from the limousine seat where Kennedy was sitting.
“There was nobody there to secure the scene, and that was a big, big bother to me,” Landis said. “All the agents that were there were focused on the president.”
“This was all going on so quickly. And I was just afraid that — it was a piece of evidence, that I realized right away. Very important. And I didn’t want it to disappear or get lost. So it was, ‘Paul, you’ve got to make a decision,’ and I grabbed it,” he added.
Landis said that he believes that the bullet he found hit Kennedy in the back but not deeply, which resulted in the bullet coming out before he president was removed from the limo, The Times reported. He said this has made him wonder if there was a second shooter in addition to Lee Harvey Oswald.
In the years since Kennedy’s assassination, the National Archives has released numerous troves of documents from that day as people have speculated whether Oswald acted alone that day. There has been no smoking gun in the documents since the assassination that significantly debunks what the commission found.
Other experts and historians told The Times that Landis’s account is not in line with other facts from that day.
“Even assuming that he is accurately describing what happened with the bullet,” author Gerald Posner told The Times, “it might mean nothing more than we now know that the bullet that came out of Governor Connally did so in the limousine, not on a stretcher in Parkland where it was found.”