Gunfire in JFK assassination couldn’t have come from shooter on ‘grassy knoll,’ study finds

ROCKVILLE, Md. — Science may have finally put an end to the decades-old debate as to whether or not the bullets that killed President John F. Kennedy actually came second gunman positioned on the “grassy knoll” at Dallas’ Dealey Plaza back in November 1963. A new study shows that, based on the forward motion in which Kennedy’s head snapped after being struck and crime scene forensics, there’s no question that Lee Harvey Oswald was the shooter.

Dr. Nicholas Nalli, a senior research scientist at IMSG Inc. and the lead author of the research, says his findings prove Kennedy couldn’t have been hit with bullets shot from the grassy knoll. His calculations instead show that the fatal gunfire must have come from Oswald’s Carcano military rifle and from the same direction as the Texas School Book Depository, which was located behind the motorcade.

John F. Kennedy motorcade minutes before assassination
Picture of President Kennedy in the limousine in Dallas, Texas, on Main Street, minutes before the assassination. Also in the presidential limousine are Jackie Kennedy, Texas Governor John Connally, and his wife, Nellie. (Public domain photo)

But conspiracy theorists have long pushed the notion that JFK was actually shot by someone else, a second gunman situated on the grassy knoll in front of the president’s motorcade. The famous 26-second-long Zapruder film, shot by Dallas spectator Abraham Zapruder with his home movie camera, shows one of the clearest views of the assassination and only fueled these theories after it was made public. Many believe the film proves JFK couldn’t have been shot from the depository, but Nalli argues the opposite.

“I found that the Zapruder film shows President Kennedy being shot from behind and not from the infamous grassy knoll, in corroboration of the official autopsy findings – that’s the only ‘smoking gun’ in the film,” says Dr. Nalli in a media release. “The historical fact of the matter is that the U.S. federal government investigations were comprised of upstanding civil servants of high ethical standards who, in spite of difficult circumstances, by-and-large got the basics of the case correct.”

Nalli came to his conclusions after studying the motion of Kennedy’s head in the film, which moves back and to the left from a recoil effect upon being struck by gunfire. But he says observers fail to recognize the forward head snap at the moment of impact, which only supports the theory that the bullets came from behind the motorcade.

“Rather than gloss over this fact, as has been done by most previous authors, including anti-conspiracy authors, I chose to study and model it explicitly,” says Dr. Nalli.

Nalli and his research team developed a model to explain the forward snap motion of JFK’s head before it moved back and to the left. Using forensics taken from the crime scene, including bullet mass, speed, diameter, along with camera shutter frequency from the film and measurements from the autopsy report, Nalli was able to put together a one-dimensional gunshot wound dynamics model.

The calculations from the model, Nalli says, quantitatively show that the motions of JFK’s head upon being shot are physically consistent with a gunshot wound that would have been caused by a Carcano military rifle fired from the depository building. While that doesn’t necessarily rule out a conspiracy in the assassination, Nalli does conclude that the shots could not have been fired from the grassy knoll. The Zapruder film, he says, only supports the conclusions that Oswald was the shooter.

“Given the current trendiness of news that are not based on facts, the study shows that thorough scientific investigation can make a difference in supporting one theory over another, and I therefore believe that the topic is as relevant today as it was nearly 55 years ago.” he says.

The full analysis completed by Nalli and his research team were published April 24, 2018 in the journal Heliyon.