Memorial planned for Dallas officer slain after JFK

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on November 22, 2010 at 8:44 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 23 at 12:55 AM

DALLAS — Every day, the curious show up at Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas for another look at the site where President Kennedy died.

But just three miles away, in Oak Cliff, there's no marker, memorial, or way for anyone to know where Dallas police Officer J.D. Tippit died.

According to the Warren Commission Report, suspected Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald shot Tippit about 100 feet east of Patton Avenue on 10th Street.

Local historians say there's been talk over the years to place a marker, but nothing ever happened.

The neighborhood along 10th Street transitioned over the decades. The original wood frame homes are gone, replaced by newer brick houses.

But what remains constant is that Officer Tippit died here trying to question a man who was suspected of killing the President of the United States about 45 minutes after the assassination.

Michael Amonett, president of the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League, says that should change.

"Officer Tippit deserves to be honored, and deserves to be recognized for the sacrifice that he made that day," Amonett said.

Despite Tippit's sacrifice and place in history, there has never been a historic marker where he died.

The old School Book Depository building from where the shots that killed President Kennedy were fired is a Texas Historic Landmark, as is the the old Dallas City Hall where Oswald was slain.

The Texas Theater, where police arrested the suspected assassin, is a city landmark.

But at the spot where Tippit died in the line of duty, there is nothing.

Temple Bowley, the man honored Monday by Dallas police for calling for help on Tippit's radio that day, says it's time.

"I would imagine that would be a timely place to put some sort of marker," he said.

Marie Tippit, the officer’s widow, agrees. "There definitely should be a marker there," she said. "I would love to see one put there."

The time may have arrived.

The Dallas school district purchased lots on the north side of 10th Street, across from the shooting site, for Adamson High School's new tennis courts. Amonett said he thinks his group can get the ball rolling.

"This is great," he said. "They own this land right across the street from where this happened. It would be a great opportunity for the school district to put a historical marker here and commemorate this spot."

Amonett said the next step is to approach the school board about getting permission to place a small curbside marker on what's now public property.

Private funds could pay for the marker to show where history happened on 10th Street, and where Officer J.D. Tippit made the ultimate sacrifice.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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