JFK Lancer


Warren Commission Testimony vol. VI

TESTIMONY OF DARRELL C. TOMLINSON

The testimony of Darrell C. Tomlinson was taken on March 20, 1964, at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas, Tex., by Mr. Arlen Specter, assistant counsel of the President's Commission.
Mr. SPECTER. Mr. Tomlinson, this is Miss Oliver, and she is the court reporter. Will you stand up and hold up your right hand and take the oath, please ?
Do you solemnly swear that in the taking of your deposition in these proceedings, you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. TOMLINSON. I do.
Mr. SPECTER. Would you state your full name, for the record?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Darrell Carlisle Tomlinson.
Mr. SPECTER. Mr. Tomlinson, the purpose of this deposition proceeding is to take your deposition in connection with an inquiry made by the President's Commission in connection with the Assassination of President Kennedy to determine from you all the facts, if any, which you know concerning the events surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy and any treatment which was given at Parkland Memorial Hospital to either President Kennedy or Governor Connally, or anything that happened to any physical objects connected with either one of those men.
First of all, did you receive a letter advising you that the Commission was interested in having one of its staff lawyers take your deposition concerning this matter?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes.
Mr. SPECTER. And did that letter include in it a copy of the Executive order creating the Commission?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes.
Mr. SPECTER. And a copy of the congressional resolution concerning the creation of the President's Commission?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes.
Mr. SPECTER. And a copy of the resolution governing questioning of witnesses by members of the Commission's staff?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes.
Mr. SPECTER. And are you willing today for me to ask you some questions about what you observed or know about this matter?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. And it is satisfactory with you to proceed today rather than to have 3 days from the time you got the letter, which was yesterday?
Mr. TOMLINSON. It's immaterial.
Mr. SPECTER. It's immaterial to you?

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Mr. TOMLINSON. It's immaterial---it's at your convenience.
Mr. SPECTER. That's fine. We appreciate that, Mr. Tomlinson.
The reason is, that you have the right to a 3-day notice, but if it doesn't matter to you, then we would like to go ahead and take your information today.
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes.
Mr. SPECTER. We call that a waiver under the law, if it is all right with you to talk with you today, then I want to go ahead and do that; is that all right?
Mr. TOMLINSON.. Yes.
Mr. SPECTER. Well, where are you employed, Mr. Tomlinson?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Parkland Hospital.
Mr. SPECTER. And what is your capacity ?
Mr. TOMLINSON. I am classed as the senior engineer.
Mr. SPECTER. And what duties are involved in general?
Mr. TOMLINSON. I'm in charge of the powerplant here at the hospital, which takes care of the heating and air- conditioning services for the building.
Mr. SPECTER. Will you describe the general physical layout relating to the emergency area and how you get from the emergency area, say, to the second Floor emergency operating rooms of Parkland Memorial Hospital?
Mr. TOMLINSON. You mean just the general lay?
Mr. SPECTER. Yes, sir; please.
Mr. TOMLINSON. Well, we have one elevator that goes from the basement to the third floor, that's what we call the emergency elevator. It's in the south section of the hospital and that would be your most direct route to go from the ground floor, which emergency is on, to the operating rooms on two.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, did you have anything to do with that elevator on November 22, sometime around the noon hour?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes.
Mr. SPECTER. And what did you have to do with that elevator?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Well, we received a call in the engineer's office, the chief engineer's office, and he requested someone to operate the elevator.
Mr. SPECTER. Was there any problem with the elevator with respect to a mechanical difficulty of any sort?
Mr. TOMLINSON. No, sir; it was an ordinary type elevator, and if it isn't keyed off it. will stop every time somebody pushes a button, and they preferred it to go only to the second floor and to the ground floor unless otherwise instructed by the administrator.
Mr. SPECTER. So, what were you to do with this elevator?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Key it off the ground, between ground and second floor.
Mr. SPECTER. So that you would operate it in that way?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes; make a manual operation out of it.
Mr. SPECTER. When you came upon that elevator, what time was it, to the best of your recollection ?
Mr. TOMLINSON. It was around 1 o'clock.
Mr. SPECTER. Was there anything on the elevator at that time?
Mr. TOMLINSON. There was one stretcher.
Mr. SPECTER. And describe the appearance of that stretcher, if you will, please.
Mr. TOMLINSON. I believe that stretcher had sheets on it and had a white covering on the pad.
Mr. SPECTER. What did you say about the covering on the pad, excuse me?
Mr. TOMLINSON. I believe it was a white sheet that was on the pad.
Mr. SPECTER. And was there anything else on that?
Mr. TOMLINSON. I don't believe there was on that one, I'm not sure, but I don't believe there was.
Mr. SPECTER. What, if anything, did you do with that stretcher?
Mr. TOMLINSON. I took it off of the elevator and put it over against the south wall.
Mr. SPECTER. On what floor?
Mr. TOMLINSON. The ground floor.
Mr. SPECTER. Was there any other stretcher in that area at that time?

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Mr. TOMLINSON. There was a stretcher about 2 feet from the wall already there.
(Indicating on drawing to which the witness referred.)
Mr. SPECTER. Now, you have just pointed to a drawing which you have made of this situation, have you not, while we were talking a few minutes before the court reporter started to take down your testimony?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, would you mark in ink with my pen the stretcher which you pushed off of the elevator?
Mr. TOMLINSON. I think that it was this one right here (indicating).
Mr. SPECTER. Will you draw the outline of it in ink and mark an "A" right in the center of that?
(Witness complied with request of Counsel Specter.)
Mr. SPECTER. Now, would you mark in ink the position of the stretcher which was already on the first floor?
Mr. TOMLINSON. This was the ground floor.
Mr. SPECTER. Pardon me, on the ground floor? Is there a different designation for the first floor?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes.
Mr. SPECTER. Where is the first floor?
Mr. TOMLINSON. One above the ground. We have basement, ground, first, second, and third on that elevator.
Mr. SPECTER. What floor was Governor Connally taken to, if you know?
Mr. TOMLINSON. He was on two, he was in the operating rooms up on two. That's our surgical suites up there.
Mr. SPECTER. And what level is the emergency entrance of the hospital on?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Well, it's the ground floor---it's there at the back of the hospital, you see, it's built on the incline there.
Mr. SPECTER. And the elevator which you found in this area was on the ground floor?
Mr. TOMLINSON. The elevator?
Mr. SPECTER. The stretcher.
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes.
Mr. SPECTER. Will you mark with a "B" the stretcher which was present at the time you pushed stretcher "A" off of the elevator?
Mr. TOMLINSON. (Witness complied with the request of Counsel Specter.) I believe that's it.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, what, if anything, did you later observe as to stretcher
Mr. TOMLINSON. Well, sir; I don't recall how long it had been exactly, but an intern or doctor, I didn't know which, came to use the men's room there in the elevator lobby.
Mr. SPECTER. Where is the men's room located on this diagram?
Mr. TOMLINSON. It would be right there (indicating) beside the "B" stretcher.
Mr. SPECTER Would you draw in ink there the outline of that room in a general way?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Well, I really don't know.
Mr. SPECTER. And would you mark that with the letter "C"?
(Witness complied with request of Counsel Specter.)
Mr. SPECTER. That's fine. What happened when that gentleman came to use the men's room?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Well, he pushed the stretcher out from the wall to get in, and then when he came out he just walked off and didn't push the stretcher back up against the wall, so I pushed it out of the way where we would have clear area in front of the elevator.
Mr. SPECTER. And where did you push it to?
Mr. TOMLINSON. I pushed it back up against the wall.
Mr. SPECTER. What, if anything, happened then?
Mr. TOMLINSON, I bumped the wall and a spent cartridge or bullet rolled out that apparently had been lodged under the edge of the mat.
Mr. SPECTER. And that was from which stretcher?
Mr. TOMLINSON. I believe that it was "B".

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Mr. SPECTER. And what was on "B", if you recall; if anything?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Well, at one end they had one or two sheets rolled up; I didn't examine them. They were bloody. They were rolled up on the east end of it and there were a few surgical instruments on, the opposite end and a sterile pack or so.
Mr. SPECTER. A sterile what?
Mr. TOMLINSON. A sterile pack.
Mr. SPECTER. What do you mean by that?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Like gauze or something like that.
Mr. SPECTER. Was there an alcohol sponge?
Mr. TOMLINSON. There could have been.
Mr. SPECTER. Was there a roll of 1-inch tape?
Mr. TOMLINSON. No; I don't think so.
Mr. SPECTER. Were there any empty packets from hypodermic needles?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Well, now, it had some paper there but I don't know what they came from.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, Mr. Tomlinson, are you sure that it was stretcher "A" that you took out of the elevator and not stretcher "B"?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Well, really, I can't be positive, just to be perfectly honest about it, I can't be positive, because I really didn't pay that much attention to it. The stretcher was on the elevator and I pushed it off of there and I believe we made one or two calls up before I straightened out the stretcher up against the wall.
Mr. SPECTER. When you say "one or two calls," what do you mean by that?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Went to pick up the technician from the second floor to bring him down to the ground floor to get blood.
Mr. SPECTER. And when you say before you straightened the stretcher up, what do you mean by that?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Well, we Just rolled them out of the way where we had some room on the elevator-that's a small elevator.
Mr. SPECTER. So, when you rolled them out of the elevator, when you rolled the stretcher out of the elevator, did you place it against the wall at 'that time?
Mr. TOMLINSON. No.
Mr. SPECTER. Were both of these stretchers constructed in the same way?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Similar--yes.
Mr. SPECTER. Will you describe the appearance of the stretcher with reference to what it was made of and how many shelves it had, and that sort of thing?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Well, it's made of tubed steel with a fiat iron frame on the top where you lay the patient and it has one shelf down between the four wheels.
Mr. SPECTER. Does it have any bumpers on it?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes, and it has rubber bumpers.
Mr. SPECTER. Does it have any rail to keep the patient on?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes; they have the rails on the side made of tubed steel. The majority of them have those.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, just before we started this deposition, before I placed you under oath and before the court reporter started to take down my questions and your answers, you and I had a brief talk, did we not?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes.
Mr. SPECTER. And we discussed in a general way the information which you have testified about, did we not?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. And at the time we started our discussion, it was your recollection at that point that the bullet came off of stretcher A, was it not ?
Mr. TOMLINSON. B.
Mr. SPECTER. Pardon me, stretcher B, but it was stretcher A that you took off of the elevator.
Mr. TOMLINSON. I believe that's right.
Mr. SPECTER. But there is no question but that at the time we started our discussion a few minutes before the court reporter started to take it down,

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that your best recollection was that it was stretcher A which came off of the elevator?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes, I believe that was it--yes.
Mr. SPECTER. Have you been interviewed about this matter by any other Federal representative?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes.
Mr. SPECTER.. Who interviewed you about it?
Mr. TOMLINSON. I don't remember the name of either one of them, but one was the FBI man and one was the Secret Service man.
Mr. SPECTER. How many times did the FBI interview you?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Once.
Mr. SPECTER. How many times did the Secret Service interview you?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Once.
Mr. SPECTER. When did the FBI interview you?
Mr. TOMLINSON. I believe they were the first to do it.
Mr. SPECTER. Approximately when was that?
Mr. TOMLINSON. I think that was the latter part of November.
Mr. SPECTER. And when did the Secret Service interview you?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Approximately a week later, the first part of December.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, do you recollect what the FBI man asked you about?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Just about where I found the bullet.
Mr. SPECTER. Did he ask you about these stretchers?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Well, he asked me about the stretchers, yes, just about the same thing we've gone over here.
Mr. SPECTER. What did the Secret Service man ask you about?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Approximately the same thing, only, we've gone into more detail here.
Mr. SPECTER. What did you tell the Secret Service man about which stretcher you took off of the elevator?
Mr. TOMLINSON. I told him that I was not sure, and I am not--I'm not sure of it, but as I said, I would be going against the oath which I took a while ago, because I am definitely not sure.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you remember if you told the Secret Service man which stretcher you thought you took off of the elevator?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Well, we talked about taking a stretcher off of the elevator, but then when it comes down on an oath, I wouldn't say for sure, I really don't remember.
Mr. SPECTER. And do you recollect whether or not you told the Secret Service man which stretcher you took off of the elevator?
Mr. TOMLINSON. What do you mean ?
Mr. SPECTER. You say you can't really take an oath today to be sure whether it was stretcher A or stretcher B that you took off the elevator?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Well, today or any other day, I'm just not sure of it, whether it was A or B that I took off.
Mr. SPECTER. Well, has your recollection always been the same about the situation, that is, today, and when you talked to the Secret Service man and when you talked to the FBI man?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes; I told him that I wasn't sure.
Mr. SPECTER. So, what you told the Secret Service man was just about the same thing as you have told me today?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. When I first started to ask you about this, Mr. Tomlinson, you
initially identified stretcher A as the one which came off of the elevator car?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes; I think it's just like that
Mr, SPECTER. And, then, when
Mr. TOMLINSON. (interrupting). Here's the deal--I rolled that thing off, we got a call, and went to second floor, picked the man up and brought him down. He went on over across, to clear out of the emergency area, but across from it, and picked up two pints of, I believe it was, blood. He told me to hold for him, he had to get right back to the operating room, so I held, and the minute he hit there, we took off for the second floor and I came. back to the ground. Now, I don't know how many people went through that---I don't know how many

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people hit them--I don't know anything about what could have happened to them in between the time I was gone, and I made several trips before I discovered the bullet on the end of it there.
Mr. SPECTER. You think, then, that this could have been either, you took out of the elevator as you sit here at the moment, or you just can't be sure?
Mr. TOMLINSON. It could be, but I can't be positive or positively sure I think it was A, but I'm not sure.
Mr. SPECTER. That you took off of the elevator?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, before I started to ask you questions under oath, which have been taken down here, I told you, did I not, that the Secret Service man wrote a report where he said that the bullet was found on the stretcher which you took off of the elevator---I called that to your attention, didn't I?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes; you told me that.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, after I tell you that, does that have any effect on refreshing your recollection of what you told the Secret Service man?
Mr. TOMLINSON. No it really doesn't---it really doesn't.
Mr. SPECTER. So, would it be a fair summary to say that when I first started to talk to you about it, your first view was that the stretcher you took off of the elevator was stretcher A, and then I told you that the Secret Service man said it was---that you had said the stretcher you took off of the elevator was the one that you found the bullet off, and when we talked about the whole matter and talked over the entire situation, you really can't be completely sure about which stretcher you took off of the elevator, because you didn't push the stretcher that you took off of the elevator right against the wall at first?
Mr. TOMLINSON. That's right.
Mr. SPECTER. And, there was a lot of confusion that day, which is what you told me before?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Absolutely. And now, honestly, I don't remember telling him definitely-I know we talked about it, and I told him that it could have been. Now, he might have drawed his own conclusion on that.
Mr. SPECTER. You told the Secret Service agent that you didn't know where---
Mr. TOMLINSON. (interrupting). He asked me if it could have been brought down from the second floor.
Mr. SPECTER. You got the stretcher from where the bullet came from, whether it was brought down from the second floor?
Mr. TOMLINSON. It could have been--I'm not sure whether it was A I took off.
Mr. SPECTER. But did you tell the Secret Service man which one you thought it was you took off of the elevator?
Mr. TOMLINSON. I'm not clear on that---whether I absolutely made a positive statement to that effect.
Mr. SPECTER. You told him that it could have been B you took off of the elevator?
Mr. TOMLINSON. That's right.
Mr. SPECTER. But, you don't remember whether you told him it was A you took off of the elevator?
Mr. TOMLINSON. I think it was A---I'm not really sure.
Mr. SPECTER. Which did you tell the Secret Service agent--that you thought it was A that you took off of the elevator?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Really, I couldn't be real truthful in saying I told him this or that.
Mr. SPECTER. You Just don't remember for sure whether you told him you thought it was A or not?
Mr. TOMLINSON. No, sir; I really don't remember. I'm not accustomed to being questioned by the Secret Service and the FBI and by you and they are writing down everything, I mean.
Mr. SPECTER. That's all right. I understand exactly what you are saying and I appreciate it and I really just want to get your best recollection.
We understand it isn't easy to remember all that went on, on a day like November 22d, and that a man's recollection is not perfect like every other part of a man, but I want you to tell me just what you remember, and that's the

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best you can do today, and I appreciate that, and so does the President's Commission, and that's all we can ask a man.
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes, I'm going to tell you all I can, and I'm not going to tell you something I can't lay down and sleep at night with either.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you know where the stretcher came from that you found on the elevator?
Mr. TOMLINSON. No, sir; I do not. It could have come from two, it could have come from three, it could have come from some other place.
Mr. SPECTER. You didn't see anybody put it there?
Mr. TOMLINSON. No, sir--it was on the elevator when I got there. There wasn't anyone on the elevator at the time when I keyed it off.
Mr. SPECTER. And when you say "keyed it off," you mean?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Put it in manual operation.
Mr. SPECTER. Mr. Tomlinson, does it make any difference to you whether you sign this deposition at the end or not?
Mr. TOMLINSON. No.
Mr. SPECTER. We very much appreciate your coming, Mr. Tomlinson. Thank you very much. Those are all the questions I have.
Mr. TOMLINSON. All right. Thank you.
Mr. SPECTER. Off the record.
(Discussion between counsel and the witness Tomlinson regarding a proposed exhibit.)
Mr. SPECTER. On the record.
Now that the deposition of Mr. Tomlinson has been concluded, I am having the paper marked as Tomlinson Exhibit No. 2.
(Instrument marked by the reporter as Tomlinson Exhibit No. 2, for identification.)
Mr. SPECTER. May the record show that Mr. Tomlinson is present, and will you identify this paper marked Tomlinson Exhibit No. 2 as the one which contains the diagram of the emergency room and the letters A and B of the stretchers we have been discussing?
Mr. TOMLINSON. That's just the elevator lobby in emergency.
Mr. SPECTER. And this is the diagram which you drew for us?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes.
Mr. SPECTER. That's all, and thank you very much.

 

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