General Walker’s Sharpshooter

At about 9 O’Clock, on April 10, 1963, retired Army General Edwin Walker sat at his desk and worked on his income taxes in his home in Dallas, Texas. Most of the lights were on in the house and the window shades were up. Had he looked out the window he may have seen someone watching him. Outside, a sharpshooter pulled his 6.5 mm caliber Carcano rifle to his shoulder and rested the barrel on a slat in the lattice fence beside his house. He lined up the shot just as he had learned while in the Marine Corps. He went over the plan in his head one last time. He knew that once he pulled the trigger there was no turning back. He had but one chance to complete his horrible, self-imposed, task.

He had left nothing to chance. On previous days, he had spent hours watching General Walker and had learned his daily routine. He had dug a shallow hole near the lattice fence just big enough to hide the rifle once the deed was done. He watched the buses and learned precisely how often and at what times the buses stopped at the nearest bus stop. In his pocket he had the exact amount of change needed for his escape. He would lose precious seconds, you see, if the bus driver had to take the time to make change. He carefully planned his escape route so it would be difficult for anyone to follow him. Everything was set.

Staring patiently at his target, the sharpshooter took slow, deep breathes to slow his heart rate. General Walker was just 100 feet away. He only had a small window of opportunity to take the shot and walk to the pre-selected bus stop to meet the bus which would arrive in less than two minutes. He took careful aim and waited. He felt his pulse slowing and waited to squeeze the trigger until he was in between the beats of his heart.

Bu bump, bu bump, bu bump, POW!!! The sharpshooter fired a single shot, only one shot would be necessary at this short distance, and turned away. Qualified as an expert marksman while in the Marine Corps, he had no doubt that he had hit his mark. He quickly buried the rifle in the hole he had previously dug. Thinking only of remaining calm while escaping, he turned and walked coolly to the bus stop. He boarded the bus thinking he had killed General Walker. But General Walker was not dead, not even seriously injured. The bullet left the sharpshooters rifle, hit the window screen, then the window frame and part of the window and ricocheted. The bullet splintered. The largest fragment hit the wall just above General Walker’s head. Small slivers of the bullet went into General Walker’s arm. At first General Walker thought some kids had taken the screen off the window and had thrown a firecracker into the room with him. Once he realized the severity of the situation, he grabbed a pistol and headed out into the alley where the sharpshooter had been just seconds before. He found no one there. No one was ever charged for the shooting of General Walker.

The sharpshooter returned to his home late that night in a euphoric state. He was pleased with his work and even bragged about it to his wife. His mood went from euphoria to devastation when he learned that his assassination attempt had failed. He went over every detail in his head to try to figure out how he had failed. He may have failed at his attempt to kill General Edwin Walker but he would not fail on his next attempt. Just seven months later, three and a half miles away, on November 22, 1963, the sharpshooter, Lee Harvey Oswald, fired three shots and assassinated President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

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