Warren Reynolds

Warren Reynolds

Warren Reynolds was born in Dallas on 22nd June, 1935. After leaving Forest Avenue High School he found work at his brother's company, Reynolds Motor Company.

On 22nd November, 1963, Reynolds was in the Oak Cliff area when Officer J. D. Tippit was killed. He did not see the shooting but saw the gunman running from the scene of the crime. Robert J. Groden later claimed that Reynolds stated that the man he saw was not Lee Harvey Oswald.

On 23rd January, 1964, Reynolds was himself the victim of a violent attack. Darrell Garner was arrested but Betty Mooney MacDonald, who had worked for Jack Ruby gave Garner an alibi. MacDonald was then arrested for fighting with her roommate. Soon afterwards MacDonald committed suicide in her police cell.

Despite being shot in the head Reynolds survived and after making a full recovery gave evidence to Warren Commission. He had now changed his mind and identified Oswald as the man he had seen running from the scene of the crime.

Primary Sources

(1) Robert J. Groden, The Search for Lee Harvey Oswald (1995)

Warren Reynolds was also one of the people to see a man fleeing the scene of the murder. Reynolds is on the South side of Jefferson Boulevard east of Patton Avenue in a used car lot. Initially, Reynolds stated that the man he saw was not Oswald. On January 23, 1964, Reynolds was shot in the head. A man named Darrell Garner was arrested for the shooting, but Betty Mooney MacDonald, who had worked for Jack Ruby gave Garner an alibi. MacDonald was then arrested for fighting with her roommate; the roommate was not arrested. MacDonald was found hanged in her jail cell. Reynolds, miraculously recovering from the gunshot wound, then changed his story and identified Lee as the man he had seen.

(2) Jim Marrs, Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy (1989)

One witness was Warren Reynolds, who chased Tippit's killer. He, too, failed to identify Oswald as Tippit's killer until after he was shot in the head two months later. After recovering, Reynolds identified Oswald to the Warren Commission. (A suspect was arrested in the Reynolds shooting, but released when a former Jack Ruby stripper named Betty Mooney MacDonald provided an alibi. One week after her word released the suspect, MacDonald was arrested by Dallas Police and a few hours later was found hanged in her jail cell. Neither the FBI nor the Warren Commission investigated this strange incident.)

(3) Anthony Summers, The Kennedy Conspiracy (1980)

Warren Reynolds, was shot in the head two days after telling the FBI he could not identify Oswald. There was no apparent cause for the shooting. Reynolds recovered and later agreed he thought the fleeing gunman had been Oswald after all. Within a week or two of the Reynolds shooting, a key witness in that affair was found dead in a police cell, having apparently hanged herself. She had herself earlier mentioned an association with Jack Ruby and his club. The brother of a Tippit witness was shot dead, and many assumed it was a matter of mistaken identity. While these incidents arouse speculation, there is nothing evidentiary to link them to the Tippit or Kennedy killings. However, it is clear they were inadequately investigated.

(4) Warren Reynolds was interviewed by Wesley J. Liebeler for the Warren Commission (22nd July, 1964)

Wesley Liebler: Tell us what you saw; will you, please?

Warren Reynolds: OK; our office is up high where I can have a pretty good view of what was going on. I heard the shots and, when I heard the shots, I went out on this front porch which is, like I say, high, and I saw this man coming down the street with the gun in his hand, swinging it just like he was running. He turned the corner of Patton and Jefferson, going west, and put the gun in his pants and took off, walking.

Wesley Liebler: How many shots did you hear?

Warren Reynolds: I really have no idea, to be honest with you. I would say four or five or six. I just would have no idea. I heard one, and then I heard a succession of some more, and I didn't see the officer get shot.

Wesley Liebler: Did you see this man's face that had the gun in his hand?

Warren Reynolds: Very good.

Wesley Liebler: Subsequent to that time, you were questioned by the Dallas Police Department, were you not?

Warren Reynolds: No.

Wesley Liebler: The Dallas Police Department never talked to you about the man that you saw going down the street?

Warren Reynolds: Now, they talked to me much later, you mean?

Wesley Liebler: OK; let me put it this way: When is the first time that anybody from any law-enforcement agency, and I mean by that, the FBI, Secret Service, Dallas Police Department, Dallas County sheriff's office; you pick it. When is the first time that they ever talked to you?

Warren Reynolds: January 21.

Wesley Liebler: That is the first time they ever talked to you about what you saw on that day?

Warren Reynolds: That's right.

Wesley Liebler: So you never in any way identified this man in the police department or any other authority, either in November or in December of 1963; is that correct?

Warren Reynolds: No; I sure didn't.

Wesley Liebler: So it can be in no way said that you "fingered" the man who was running down the street, and identified him as the man who was going around and putting the gun in his pocket?

Warren Reynolds: It can be said I didn't talk to the authorities.

Wesley Liebler: Did you say anything about it to anybody else?

Warren Reynolds: I did.

Wesley Liebler: Were you able to identify this man in your own mind?

Warren Reynolds: Yes.

Wesley Liebler: You did identify him as Lee Harvey Oswald in your own mind?

Warren Reynolds: Yes.

Wesley Liebler: You had no question about it?

Warren Reynolds: No.

Wesley Liebler: Let me show you some pictures that we have here. I show you a picture that has been marked Garner Exhibit No. 1 and ask you if that is the man that you saw going down the street on the 22d of November as you have already told us.

Warren Reynolds: Yes.

Wesley Liebler: You later identified that man as Lee Harvey Oswald?

Warren Reynolds: In my mind.

Wesley Liebler: Your mind, that is what I mean.

Warren Reynolds: Yes.

Wesley Liebler: When you saw his picture in the newspaper and on television? Is that right?

Warren Reynolds: Yes; unless you have somebody that looks an awful lot like him there.

(5) Gary Richard Schoener, Fair Play Magazine, A Legacy of Fear (May, 2000)

Mr. Warren Reynolds, who was employed in a car lot one block from the scene of the shooting of police officer Tippit, told the FBI on January 21, 1964 that he had seen a man carrying a pistol fleeing from the scene of the killing. He also told them that he could not identify the man as Oswald, despite the fact that he had followed the man for a block and seen him at close range. Two days after this FBI interview he was shot through the head in the basement of his office. Since nothing was stolen there was no obvious motive.

Reynolds was hospitalized and miraculously recovered from his head wound. He had been out of the hospital for about three weeks when, late in February of 1964, an attempt was allegedly made to kidnap his ten year old daughter. He and his family received telephone threats. Reynolds' growing fear brought about major changes in his everyday life including continuous worry, the end to night walks, and the presence of a friend at the car lot after dark. He owned a watchdog and surrounded his house with floodlights which could be instantly turned on...

But the story is not over. Darrell Wayne Garner, the "prime suspect" arrested after the shooting of Reynolds, was released on the strength of an alibi provided by his girlfriend, Nancy Jane Mooney, alias Betty McDonald. Ms. Mooney had worked as a stripper at Jack Ruby's Carousel Club. Eight days after providing an alibi for Garner, Ms. Mooney was herself arrested. The charge was "disturbing the peace." She had allegedly been fighting with her roommate on a street corner, although the roommate was not arrested. Two hours later she was dead, allegedly having hung herself in her jail cell. Several years later Mr. Garner was located by independent investigators and denied shooting Reynolds but admitted knowing a number of the principal figures in the case and gave a good deal of information to independent investigators. He was buried in Dallas on January 24, 1970, allegedly the victim of a heroin overdose, his role in this whole affair still pretty unclear.