Questions to Tom alyea (the first newsman on the sixth floor)

Questions to Tom Alyea

by Pierre NAU

Tom Alyea was a newsman at the time of the assassination in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963. Very little time after the shots, he joined with the police officers who invested the Texas School Book Depository and together they inspected each floor of the building . With his 16 mm camera , he filmed all these particularly important moments.

Thus he took sevreral shots of the rifle discovered by the Sheriff’s Deputy Boone on the 6th floor. Incredible but true, he never was interviewed by the Warren Commission. It seems that the official inquiry did not consider to be convenient to ask some questions to such an interesting witness who could be useful for it in its searching for the truth investigation. Both curious and regrettable ...

A part of his report can be read at this address :

After having contacted him and asked questions about this important moment in the Dallas drama, he provided me the following answers published here by permission. As it can be noticed, his remarks are interesting and debunk some facts and ideas often reported by people who were not on the spot.

Q - If I have well understood, the discovering of the weapon took place after you and the other people present at the time had made a first inspection on the sixth floor. After that, you reached the upper floor and returning to the sixth floor a few minutes later, Ltt Boone discovered the weapon. My question is : how was possible that a lone man discovered what several people were unable to do previously ? In addition I have often heard about Seymour Weitzmann as the man who found the weapon. Can you give me some precisions regarding this remark insofar as you do not mention in your report the presence of this Police officer ?

Boone was not a Lt. (Lieutenant). He was a Sheriff’s deputy and was at the Sheriff’s Office during our search that took us to the roof. Capt. Fritz then ordered us to continue our search back down again. At that time a Sheriff’s Deputy who was in our search party went back to the Sheriff’s Office to get some flashlights so we could see into the dark recesses inside the stacks of towering book cartons. Boone helped carry some of the flashlight back to the TSBD and met us as we were searching the 6th floor for the second time. We were looking for a sniper, not a rifle. With the aid of his flashlight, Boone said he found the rifle. It had previously been missed because it was under some overhanging boxes in the darkened enclosure.

I do not refer to Weitzman because I have strong doubts that he was there, although he made this claim in his testimony. When the officer called out to Capt. Fritz concerning his find, Capt. Fritz and I were only a few feet away, possibly about four meters. There was no officer near him. Other officers had fanned-out over the floor, still searching for the Sniper. There was no officer near the man who called to Capt. Fritz. Weitzman’s testimony regarding the location and positioning of the rifle is so highly inaccurate that I am convinced that he was not at the scene or he has a very bad memory. He invented things that were not there and omitted things that were extremely important.

Dept. Constable Weitzman was not with the police or Sheriff’s department. He was with a company called Robie Love. It is possible that this company had some connection with a Dallas County department. His testimony revealed that it would be nearly impossible for him to be at the rifle site when it was found, regardless of his testimony. But on the strength of this, his testimony was accepted by others who had never heard of him nor saw him on the floor. I took movie footage of the officers in our search group and officers surrounding both the window shooting location and the rifle site, and Weitzman does not appear in any of my shots. Also, In Weitzman’s testimony, he said that he thought the rifle looked like a Mauser, but this was a guess on his part. I was at the scene recording the small portion of the rifle butt that was exposed beyond the overhanging boxes. I also included the torso of Capt. Fritz within the small enclosure. Only about four or five inches of the butt end of the rifle cold be seen. The scope and bolt were not visible. There is no way anybody could determine the make of the rifle.

Q - Was the weapon identified at first as a Mauser or not ? This fact is of importance because it had led to many speculations or assumptions for decades. If true, can you tell me how this weapon became an Italian Mannlicher Carcano shortly after ? Without to be involved in controversy, this brutal changing discredited at the time the people in charge of the inquiery.

No, the rifle was not first identified as a Mauser. I was only about two meters away and I heard no reference to a Mauser. Capt. Fritz testified that he heard no reference to the rifle being a Mauser. It was never touched. I, along with Capt. Fritz and other officers in our search team stayed at this location until the Crime Lab arrived and Lt. Day pulled the rifle from under the overhanging boxes. A few seconds after Lt. Day started dusting the rifle, he read the inscription on the rifle and announced that it was made in Italy. He did not refer to it as a Mannlicher Carcano. The name Mannlicher Carcano did not appear on the rifle. I think this was established later at police headquarters. The inscription Made in Italy and the caliber of the rifle was stamped on it. It is obvious that the relentless pursuit to establish the original rifle as a Mauser is one of the many false claims promoted by the conspiracy book authors.

Q - Was it possible for the lone Oswald to build the barricade in a very short time and without being noticed by the people gathered on Elm street ? If Brennan and others had noticed the gunman at the window it seems to me very unlikely those people did not see a man moving boxes indiscreetly ?

It must be remembered that there were three barricades. However, the one near the assassin’s window, referred to as "the" barricade, and part of the "Sniper’s Nest was already there. Oswald did not construct it. If it had been, he would have completed it to totally conceal his shooting position. It is apparent however, that he hurriedly constructed a second barricade to the North that would complete his concealment from possible unwanted eyes that might wander to mid floor or further east. I refer to this barricade as Barricade #2. This was probably done long before the president’s motorcade arrived, and Oswald he could have not been seen from outside the building.

After the shots were fired, Oswald did not move any boxes. I do not see the reasoning in the Buffs promoting this. What would be the point in taking time to move boxes from the barricade and leave his shooting support boxes on the window ledge and the casings on the floor ?

Q - Did Oswald get enough time to hide his weapon so perfectly, if we considered that he was interviewed by Baker and Truly less than 1 minute after the last shot. According to you and with your perfect knowledge of the building, was that possible ?

Yes, Oswald had time to hide his rifle. The location was in front of the stairway that Oswald took to leave the floor. It was obviously pre constructed so he could slip the rifle under the overhanging boxes as he entered the down stairway, only about five feet away. It would have not taken him over two seconds. No boxes had to be moved. The rifle did not touch any of the three overhanging boxes, and there were no boxes touching the rifle. When Lt. Day retrieved it, he pulled it effortlessly from under the overhanging boxes. This was the first time any of us saw the scope, bolt and trigger housing.

One minute would be calling it a bit close, however, if I recall correctly, Officer Baker said he encountered Oswald 90 seconds after he entered the building. We are playing with time estimates from an officer who provided a rough calculation. He could be correct, but 90 seconds is well within the time it would take for Oswald to get from the sniper’s window to the second floor. Oswald was accustomed to handling heavy boxes and the race downstairs would certainly not leave him breathless. It is my understanding that this trip was duplicated by the FBI and found to be possible. Do you recall if Officer Baker indexed the time from when he entered the building or when the president was shot ?

Q - Can you confirm me wether the Warren Commission questionned you or not ? I did not your name among the people listed on the Warren Commission Hearings ? If it did not ask you to report what you saw that is very regrettable and incomprehensible.

No, the Warren Commission did not question me or ask for my deposition. Yes, if they had questioned me, it would definitely have affected their report.

Site Map Contact RSS

2014-2023 © JFK Questions on the assassination - All rights reserved
Top of the page
Created with SPIP
Template ESCAL 5.0.8