Separated by 15 years that encompassed a tumultuous period in American history, the two official U.S. government investigations into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy reached widely divergent conclusions. While they added significantly to the body of knowledge about the major players in the assassination, each seemed to raise new questions for every one answered. Here are brief summaries:
Warren Commission • Formed soon after the assassination and chaired by U.S. Chief Justice Earl Warren, the commission published its report the following fall and stated in no uncertain terms that it was Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, who fired three shots from the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. He also shot and killed Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippit about 45 minutes later while attempting to flee, the commission concluded.
The commission hedged on the so-called "Magic Bullet" theory that asserted one bullet passed through the president's throat and then struck Texas Gov. John Connally's chest and wrist before lodging in his thigh. While there was a "difference of opinion" on the matter, the report concluded, there was no doubt among commission members that the three shots emanated from the book depository.