"Tippit's father told me he had been informed by Marie Tippit, the officer's widow, that J.D. and another officer had been assigned by police to hunt down Oswald in Oak Cliff. According to Edgar Lee, 'They called J.D. and another policeman and said he (Oswald) was headed in that direction. The other policeman told Marie.'
As the story passed along by Tippit's father has it, the other officer involved (whose name Edgar Lee could not recall) gave this explanation to Marie Tippit to help her understand what had happened to her husband...
Edgar Lee made another important revelation in our interview. He told me what Marie learned from that other policeman about why he had not made it to the scene of the shooting on Tenth Street: 'The other boy stopped- he would have got there but he had a little accident, a wreck. They both started, but J.D. made it. He'd been expecting something. The police notified them Oswald was headed that way.' ..."
McBride deduces that the other officer was William Duane Mentzel.
"But verification that there was an accident in the area around the same time as the Tippit murder does appear in Dallas police radio dispatches and in an FBI report of June 15, 1964, as well as in a 1977 HSCA interview with Mentzel, who said he responded to the accident. The police radio transcript includes an accident report on West Davis Street in Oak Cliff: 'Signal 7 (code for an accident), 817 West Davis. 1:11.' That is eleven and a half blocks from the scene of the Tippit shooting. The accident was reported on the radio about two or three minutes after the time the Tippit shooting most likely occurred, which would mesh with the story told to Marie Tippit about an auto accident nearby. The report is not directed to any particular officer, but Mentzel is one of two who responds on the radio." ...
...if what was told to Marie Tippit was true and not a further cover story, then J.D. Tippit and the other officer must have been given their actual instructions by some other means than the police radio, such as by public telephone to and from someone other than the official dispatcher, or by an off-channel form of radio communication. And, in fact, in one instance during that period, Tippit was reported to have been outside his patrol car using a telephone, and perhaps in another instance as well. Mentzel similarly reported calling the station 'by telephone', not with his police radio.
And given the discrepancies between Mentzel's accounts of his whereabouts between 12:30 and 1:00 p.m., one has to wonder whether that officer actually was at Luby's or whether that was a convenient (if garbled) cover story for other unacknowledged activities. Did he actually go to the accident scene to investigate? Was he already there when the accident was reported? Did he have the accident and pretend otherwise?"
W.D. MENTZEL, Districts 91 and 92, Car 84, was eating lunch at 430 West Jefferson at time of assassination. Left restaurant to answer shooting call in 400 block East 10th Street, Oak Cliff. Did not pass intersection of Zangs and Beckley.
On June 1, 1964, WILLIAM DUANE MENTZEL, Officer, Dallas, Texas, Police Department, advised that on November 22, 1963, he was assigned to patrol alone Districts 91 and 92 in Car 84.
(N.B. Tippit was murdered in Mentzel's District 91)
Officer Mentzel stated at approximately 12:30 p.m. he stopped for lunch at Luby's Cafeteria, 430 West Jefferson, Oak Cliff. He advised he tried on several occasions to call the station by telephone, but did not get through to the operator until about 1:00 p.m., at which time he was told that the President had just been shot. He stated he left the remainder of his lunch and went into service by car radio, and was immediately dispatched to the 800 block of West Davis on an accident call, code 7, where he remained about ten minutes handling that call. He advised he then traveled west on Davis to Tyler when he heard the call involving shooting of a police officer in the 400 block of East Tenth Street. He stated he was dispatched to the intersection of Beckley and Jefferson to look for a reported individual running away from that intersection, but was unable to locate the suspect. He stated that he, in company with other officers, entered the library at that intersection, and then was dispatched to the Texas Theater, where the suspect was reportedly hiding.
Officer MENTZEL advised he did not go north on Beckley to Zangs Boulevard at any time on that day, and could not recall being within six or eight blocks of that location.
Officer MENTZEL advised he knows no one residing at 1026 North Beckley and would have no reason to stop at that address or blow his automobile horn in passing.
The library was actually at the corner of Marsalis and Jefferson, 4 blocks from Beckley and Jefferson.
- Martin Hay
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Some more interesting tidbits:
Mentzel reported "91 will be clear" at 1:21. The other officer to investigate the accident at 817 West Davis, the Accident Prevention Bureau's V.R. Nolan, #222, reported "clear" at 1:41. Nolan acknowledged he was "en route" to the 1:11 accident at 1:15, when he was still 0.4 miles away, up at Sylvan & Colorado.
There was another accident in the 600 block of West Jefferson at 1:04, investigated by the Accident Prevention Bureau's Howell W. Summers, #221. He had just left that scene when he heard TF Bowley make his distress call and since he was only 2 miles away at the time, became the first officer to arrive at 10th & Patton.
I still have to look for Mentzel's HSCA interview.
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Parker (56) had said that he was on East Jefferson a minute or so before Murray Jackson supposedly sent Tippit (78) and Nelson (87) to Oak Cliff on the basis that it was being drained of resources. Yet, Mentzel had not been cleared for a lunch-break. After 12.45, he was the only Dallas patrol officer taking a break.
Nelson ignored Jackson's order, leading some to believe it was added at a later stage.
Parker claimed to have gone off to Garland ten miles away to mount road-blocks.
CT Walker (223) said he was at a fire station on 'Jefferson and 10th' listening to news about the assassination on the radio. If he meant the old fire station at Tyler and 10th, he was less than half a mile from the Texas Theater. Just after Jackson's 12.45 command, Lewis (35) was at 105 Corinth, only a few hundred yards from the Tippit murder site.
The first officer on the scene (although off-duty), Kenneth Croy, lived three blocks from Tippit on Glenfield. Rather than watch Oswald being arrested, he drove off to Austin's Barbecue.
Then there was car #207 seen by Earlene Roberts.
I'm not sure if there is evidence to support the accident story. However, Murray Jackson's excuse for Tippit's presence in Oak Cliff is ridiculous.
http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docID=95338&relpageId=1 (link doesn't work)
"...We were curious, after listening to the tapes of Channel One with Murray Jackson, as to what Mentzel was doing in the critical period when Officer Tippit was called in by the dispatcher to cover central Oak Cliff.
Mentzel said that he checked out on a Signal 5 (meal) and was at Luby's Restaurant at the time the President was shot. He had his tray, but had not yet eaten when someone behind the counter told him that the President had been shot in downtown Dallas. He left his tray of food untouched and returned to his car. Mentzel told us that he reasoned at the time that if an assassin was fleeing downtown Dallas at the time they just might come his way. The description was not yet broadcast, but he looked for anyone or anything 'unusual'. While cruising west 10th and Zangs, the dispatcher told him (91) to handle an accident at Tyler and Davis (See Radio Log Transcript #830) just before 1 p.m.
Mentzel said he went to 817 West Davis and found that it was a minor "fender-bender" type of an auto accident. He clears at about 1:16 PM. At 1:16 PM Tippit (78) is shot and killed at the 400 block of W. 10th (and Patton), but it is not until minutes later that a citizen using the police radio in Tippit's car alerts the dispatcher and presumably Mentzel who is 17 blocks away. ( N.B. Incorrect. Bowley's call is on the transcript at 1:16 PM) When he arrives at the scene, Tippit's body has been removed to Methodist Hospital and other police are on the scene. Mentzel never knew that Tippit was in Sector 91 until after he was killed. He did not go to the Texas Theater when Oswald was apprehended. He later went to the funeral home and became part of Tippit's honor guard.
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Most will be aware of the controversial instruction of dispatcher Murray Jackson to Tippit and Nelson to move from their assigned patrol districts to Oak Cliff around 12.45. This instruction was absent from the original police transcripts prepared for the WC (Sawyer Exhibits A&B) that were supposed to contain all relevant communications relating to the assassination and Tippit. After some months the call appeared in subsequent transcripts. This call allayed concerns of the WC about why Tippit would be so far outside his assigned district when shot.
In order to get a clearer picture of whether Oak Cliff was indeed being drained of police presence following the call for all units to proceed down town I used the following documents.
CE2645 -an FBI report dated June 1964 that outlined each patrol assignment for that day and what their response was. This report was prepared to determine if any patrol car could have been responsible for the sighting of a car at 1026 North Beckley around 1pm as claimed by Mrs Roberts. Interestingly the one officer excluded from this summary is Tippit!
Putnam Exhibit 1 is a map of the patrol districts.
The transcripts that appear at John McAdams site http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/dpdtapes/index.htm
From these I prepared the following map.
Those units who were reported to attend downtown in response to the call are indicated in red and are positioned in the district allocated prior to the shooting. Cars containing 2 officers are indicated by circles and those with one are squares. There were some cars instructed to stay in their district and some of them were instructed to set up road blocks. All roadblocks were to the North and north-east of the city. Officers instructed to stay in their areas RA indicated in blue. There are some officers that require attention. Parker, Nelson, Menzel and Tippit.
Officer Parker (56)
Parker was assigned districts 56 and 58. After making a call at 12.28 Parker disappears for a period "anyone know where 56 is? However the transcripts indicate he radioed in his position to dispatch around 12.44 that he was on East Jefferson. This is within the Oak Cliff district and it appears he has not responded to the downtown call. In CE2645 it is stated he remained in his allocated district. This is clearly wrong and Jackson knows he is in Oak Cliff. His position at this time is indicated on the map. Parker does not broadcast again until 2.13! CE2645 claims he remained in his district about 10 miles away the whole time.
Officer Nelson (87)
It appears that Nelson probably responded to the downtown call as he is well north of his assigned district when he calls his position to Jackson at 12.45. He was at RL Thornton and Marsalis, many miles North of district 87. He is closer to Oak Cliff at this time than Tippit. Apparently he ignores this call from Jackson and continues to the TSBD. In CE2645 it simply states he proceeded downtown as instructed. No mention of the Jackson instruction to patrol Oak Cliff.
He is instructed to remain in districts 85 and 86 south of Oak Cliff.
Officer Menzel (91)
Menzel assigned district 91 and 92, reports clear at 12.28. It appears he heads for lunch at a diner at 430 West Jefferson. It would seem strange he hears nothing on the radio about the shooting on the radio 2minutes later. He seems to be the only officer who takes a lunch break at this time. He does not report back until after one and in CE 2645 it states he repeatedly tried to call by phone but couldn't get through. Obviously no news of the shooting had reached him in nearly 40 minutes. Believable? No attempt by dispatch to contact him in this time to help patrol Oak Cliff. Strange, given Jackson's concern about draining the area of resources.
Officer Tippit (78) It might appear that he too was responding to the downtown call but certainly at a slower pace than Nelson. He reports he is at Keinst and Bonnie View at 12.45 and his position on the map reflects this. However we know that there are 5 witnesses that put him at the Gloco station around this time.
So does it appear that Jackson's justification for ordering Tippit and Neslon to Oak Cliff is logical from the evidence? It certainly appears to me that there are large areas of Dallas devoid of police to me. In fact apart from those downtown at the TSBD, Oak Cliff is blessed with police.
An update to the original post having trawled through the transcripts and listened to the calls. Comments in chronological order.
1. There is a call of 78 (Tippit) at 12.29 one minute before the shots. it is not clear if this it Tippit or Dispatch.
2. At 12.30 91(Menzel) calls clear twice. The second time is just 5 seconds before sirens are clearly heard on the radio. Menzel does not get confirmation of clear from dispatch? Apparently he goes to lunch.
3.At 12.36 93 is called from dispatch and reports at 12.36 at Sylvan and Fort Worth? This appears to be way outside the assigned district. Assists an ambulance by blocking a road.
4. Who is 97 that called in at 12.41? Reports in at Westmoreland and Fort Worth less about 5 minutes from 1026 North Beckley. Dispatch seems suprised 97 is in service.
5. The 12.41 call for squads in down town area to code 3 elm and Houston. Note the call is for local units only.
6. Unit 43 already there at the jail.
Unit 233 is already at Elm and Houston.
Unit 61 is close by.
Then 77 responds from the district west of Tippit. He does not get confirmed by dispatch for this.
Then Unit 63, I have no idea who that is but district 63 is close to the scene.
Then dispatch calls 76 in.
Then 97, again no idea who 97 is but district 97 is west of Oak Cliff, is called by dispatch.
Then 60, 80, and 100 are called by dispatch to attend (Sgts. Putnam, Davis and Jennings).
113 is enroute 113 is downtown close already. I could not find a listing for 113. Is it car 113 (Woods) in district 68 or Osburn as indicated on McAdams site. The position called, Gaston and Haskell is North of Fort worth? Strange.
66 calls enroute, again no idea who 66 is.
At 12.42 81 Calls he is at Corinth and 8th this is in northeastern oak cliff
56 reports East Jefferson again in Oak Cliff
12.45 suspect description is broadcast and 233 broadcasts the suspect is in the TSBD
81 has moved north on industrial moving closer to the TSBD.
This call triggers 78 and 87 immediately. There is almost no gap between the 10-4 call from the previous call and the instruction to Tippit and Nelson to move. Why? Surely no drain of Oak Cliff has occurred. There is no indication that dispatch even knows that Menzel is at lunch. Also. there is no 10-4 call from Tippit or Nelson to this instruction, merely a call of current postion. No 78 for Tippit is audible.
79 (Anglin) calls a position of 1400 Corinth this is after - so dispatch doesn't know he left his Oak Cliff district until now.
Then 93 calls asks where to go dispatch says TSBD he is also originally assigned to Oak Cliff
12.46 77 assigned to Oak Cliff asks where to report and is told the TSBD
12.48 81 arrives at the TSBD and calls out to dispatch
12.52 79 (Anglin) calls he will be out at underpass
Then 87 (Nelson) calls out down here (TSBD). THis is when it would be apparent Oak Cliff is possibly needing backup. Could he have made a call at this point for Tippit to move there and it has been moved up?
Finally, Jackson's strange 12.55 call to confirm Tippit is in Oak Cliff and at to be at large for any emergency. It seemed to me the "78" on this recording sounds different to Jackson's previous 78. No so much pronounced Southern twang.
When alanysed in sequence I find no evidence that a call should be made at 12.45. Possibly 10 minutes later. Initially only downtown squads were asked and reported to the scene. It was not until later that Units such as 81 responded or asked if they should attend.
Who is car 97? Even dispatch is suprised by that call.
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Ed. Ledoux wrote:RC Nelson speaks about the Tippit murder:
Have you ever seen such an error laden report? Is this what passes for journalism these days?
Colin Crow wrote:Ed. Ledoux wrote:RC Nelson speaks about the Tippit murder:
Have you ever seen such an error laden report?
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But one better as far as journalism goes would be ....
But I digress.
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