The man injured on Dealey Plaza the Day JFK was shot

Posted at 7:12 AM, Nov 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-22 07:28:31-05

CBS 6 reporter Greg McQuade filed a series of special reports on the assassination and the people impacted by the murder of President Kennedy. Watch Greg’s 30-minute special scheduled to air Sunday at 11:30 p.m. on WTVR CBS 6.

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – When President John F. Kennedy arrived in Dallas on November 22, 1963, an estimated 200,000 Texans lined the streets to greet him. James Tague did not plan to be one of them.

“I read in the paper that the president was going to be in town,” Tague, 27 years old at the time, recalled.

Tague was driving that day, running late for a lunch date with his girlfriend, when police stopped him under a triple overpass near Dealey Plaza.

“Got out of my car and walked into the open of Dealey Plaza,” he recalled. Tague stood on the plaza when President Kennedy’s convertible turned onto Elm Street. He was there when shots rang out.

“I said what kind of idiot would throw a firecracker with the president in town,” Tague recalled thinking at the time. “Then the crack, crack of two rifle shots. And I felt something sting me in the face.”

A piece of concrete or bullet fragment fired from an assassin’s rifle hit Tague’s right cheek.

“I stood there stunned watching the motorcade for a second. Then I ducked behind the cement,” he said.

Tague moved toward the growing crowd that had gathered near the infamous grassy knoll.

A police officer saw Tague and asked about his injury.

“He turned and looked up at me and says you’ve got blood on your face. I reached up and sure enough there was blood. I remember I was stung,” Tague said.

As the officer took down Tague’s statement, Tague noticed a person in handcuffs.

“A detective said ‘who you got there?'” Tague recalled. “This is the guy who shot the police officer at Oak Cliff,” the officer replied.

That suspect was Lee Harvey Oswald.

Tague went home and wrote down what he saw and experience. The Warren Commission heard his testimony in July 1964.

Along with President Kennedy and Governor Connolly, Tague was the only other person wounded on Dealey Plaza that dreadful day.

“I didn’t let it affect me. I did not,” he said. “It could have happened to anybody.”

This fall Tague will release his second book “LBJ and the Kennedy Killing.” In the book, he explores the possibility Oswald was not the lone shooter. Even as we reach this milestone anniversary, Tague finds his place as an obscure footnote in the history books – a bit surreal.

“It has been 50 years and I’m still trying to accept what happened. I’m still trying to accept that I was here and part of it,” he said.