Key artifact helps shed light on historic moment of JFK’s assassination

Dallas, TX — Barely 12 hours after President John F. Kennedy was murdered on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, reporters from around the world crowded into Dallas police headquarters in an attempt to interview the suspect, Lee Harvey Oswald.

“I was pushed around,” said reporter Bill Mercer, who at the time worked for CBS affiliate KRLD. “I’m short, so I got pushed out the door once, got beat up.”

Mercer had just received a tip from an officer that Oswald had been formally charged with the president’s murder, which Oswald didn’t even know until Mercer broke the news to him on camera.

“You’ve been charged, sir,” Mercer told Oswald on camera. “You have been charged.”

“And he looked at me, ‘What?'” Mercer, now 97, told CBS News this week. “And I said, ‘You’ve been charged with the president’s murder. “”

Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby in the basement of Dallas police headquarters on November 24, 1963, two days after Kennedy’s assassination.

Nearly 60 years later, Camera #3 in this interview finally belongs to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, which chronicles the Kennedy assassination.

In January, Mercer found this piece of history during a visit to the museum.

“It’s especially special because we have the footage, we have the artifact, and we have the man who was reporting this news,” said Nicola Longford, CEO of the Sixth Floor Museum.

Longford explained that, decades later, physical artifacts are still showing up from this point.

“We need physical objects that fire people’s imaginations and attempt to step back into a historical moment,” Longford said.

Camera No. 3, which is almost too heavy to lift, will go on public display later this year to mark 60 years since Kennedy’s death. For Mercer, it’s a piece of history he will never forget.

“Well, that’s great because, what if we didn’t have the camera?” reflects Mercer. “It would just be an audio thing, maybe.”

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Key artifact illuminates historic moment hours after JFK’s assassination

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