Missoula Resident Shares JFK Assassination Memories - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Missoula Resident Shares JFK Assassination Memories

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MISSOULA -

On this 50th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination -- Missoula residents pause to remember the death of our 35th president.

Darrel Johnson spent nearly 30 years in law enforcement here in Missoula, and says JFK's assassination shook him to his core.

Johnson said he served six years with the Missoula County Sheriff's Office, and a solid 21 with city police.

He said on November 22, 1963, he was driving his patrol car through Missoula.

"I'll never forget -- South Avenue and Brooks Street, the old 'suicide junction' we called it out there," Johnson said.

He was pulling through the intersection, when he heard radio chatter about the president being shot.

"And I thought that I didn't hear it right, I thought it was a shooting here in town."

Johnson said he immediately pulled the car over, anticipating he'd be taking notes down on a shooting.

"I called back in and asked what happened, and they said that he had just been pronounced dead at the hospital down there," Johnson said. "I… totally dumfounded, I didn't know what to think."

As a longtime member of law enforcement, Johnson said he found himself imagining what it would have been like to be a police officer in Dealey Plaza that day.

"That is something that would tear your heart out, and then you'd second guess yourself all the time," Johnson said.

Johnson said the nation never got the chance to really know President Kennedy. He says he believes our country would have benefited from Kennedy staying in office.

"I loved him -- he just seemed like he was a down-to-earth man, it looked like he was going to do a lot for our country, and we will never know," Johnson said.

The investigation of Kennedy's assassination, revealed Lee Harvey Oswald also shot and killed Dallas police officer, J. D. Tippit, who tried to stop the shooter.

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