C.T. Walker: On Oswald's Trail
Charles Truman Walker (February 24th, 1933 – October 10th, 2007) was a patrolman with the Dallas Police Department who, on the afternoon of November 22nd, 1963, responded to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, investigated the shooting of Officer J.D. Tippit, and took part in the Texas Theater arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald for Officer Tippit’s murder.
Walker was born in Slaton, Texas on February 24th, 1933. He was the only son of Van Walker and Willie Biggs. Following his parents’ divorce, Walker moved to Stephensville, Texas. After reaching the tenth grade, he left school to begin working for Consolidated Aircraft in Fort Worth, Texas as a mechanic. Walker worked for two years in this position, before briefly returning to Slaton - where he worked digging wells. After one and a half years of this, he moved to Grand Prairie, Texas. Walker worked there as an aircraft mechanic and electrician for Chance Vought Aircraft for five and a half years before moving to Dallas in July of 1959; this is where he acquired a position as a patrolman in the Dallas Police Department’s traffic investigation division.
During the years between leaving school and moving to Dallas, Walker and his cousin Coy Biggs enlisted and served in the U.S. Coast Guard. In 1951, Walker married Charlene Richcreek. At the time of his Warren Commission testimony in 1964, the two had one child together (a daughter).
On November 22, 1963
On November 22, 1963, Walker was on patrol in Oak Cliff when he heard that the President had been shot. He proceeded directly to the nearby fire station on Jefferson and 10th streets to learn more, before deciding, on his own initiative, to go to the Texas School Book Depository. While at the site of the assassination, Walker remained on the ground floor and assisted in screening those who attempted to enter or exit the building.
Upon learning of the death of J.D. Tippit in Oak Cliff, Walker left, along with two newspapermen in his car, to assist in the investigation. One of the two reporters left the car when Walker visited the scene of Officer Tippet’s murder.
Walker had known and worked with Officer Tippit for two to three years in the Oak Cliff substation of the Dallas Police Department. According to Walker, Officer Tippit was highly regarded within the department for his exceptional skills as an investigator. Many years later, Officer Walker would vividly describe the scene in a rare interview. Walker said that:
At The Oak Cliff Public Library
While searching for anyone who was acting suspicious in the vicinity of the murder, Walker noticed a man running into the Oak Cliff public library. After calling for backup, the occupants of the library were questioned at gunpoint. A 1991 interview with Officer Walker in the Qunilan-Tawakoni News described the incident:
After determining that the man that he saw running was not the person that had killed Officer Tippit, Walker returned to his vehicle and continued his search for the perpetrator. After leaving the Oak Cliff public library, Walker responded to a request for backup at the Texas Theater.
At The Texas Theater
Upon arriving at the theater, Officer Walker, along with Officers M.N. McDonald and T.A. Hutson, entered the building by way of a rear alleyway. With their weapons drawn, the officers proceeded into the seating area of the theater, where the house lights had been turned on. Including Lee Harvey Oswald, there were six people, aside from the police officers, in the theater at the time Walker, Hutson, and McDonald entered. The officers searched two men in the center of the seating area before they approached Oswald.
While Walker moved toward Oswald from the suspect’s left side, Officer McDonald had already reached him from his right side. Officer McDonald began searching the suspect, before Oswald surprised the officers by attacking him. He would later claim that the only reason that he attacked Officer McDonald was that he knew that he was not allowed to possess a gun. During the ensuing struggle, Walker observed Oswald attempting to draw and fire a revolver. After the gun had been taken away, Officer Walker restrained Oswald using Officer Ray Hawkins’ handcuffs.
Though Oswald complained vocally about police brutality, Walker testified that he had seen no one, apart from Officer McDonald (with whom Oswald was fighting at the time), strike the man. Walker escorted Oswald out of the theater and through a hostile crowd which had gathered outside of the building. Walker then left for the Dallas police headquarters in city hall with Oswald and four other officers in a plain car. In his Warren Commission testimony, Walker recalled an unsettling conversation that he had with Oswald en route to city hall:
At the Police Headquarters in City Hall
After arriving at the police station, Walker escorted Oswald to the Robbery and Homicide Division, where he remained with him in the interrogation room. After leaving the interrogation room, Officer Walker remained in the police station for the rest of the day. Walker testified that he had nothing more to do with the investigations of the murder of Officer Tippet and the assassination of President Kennedy after that day.
Later Life and Death
In the two decades following the assassination, Officer Walker was questioned by the Dallas Police Department’s internal affairs division numerous times about his actions on November 22nd, 1963. He stated that the final instance of that questioning was particularly eventful. Having been accused of intentionally leading other investigators away from Oswald when he searched the Oak Cliff public library, Officer Walker sarcastically responded, “yeah, and I got 25,000 acres in Cuba too!”
The dissatisfaction and anger which Walker felt, as a result of the suspicion that he had come under, seemed to color his recollections of the assassination and the years that followed it. For many years, Walker remained largely silent on the issue. While he gave an interview on the subject in 1991 to the Quinlan-Tawakoni News, he refused to discuss the subject in any great detail with his family.
C.T. Walker and his wife had another daughter in the years following the assassination. Walker continued working with the Dallas Police Department for at least two decades after the events of November 22nd, 1963. Walker’s wife, Charlene Richcreek, died in 1993, and he married Margaret Durden in 1998. Walker died on October 10th, 2007 at the age of 74 in Tawakoni, Texas, and was buried in the Lone Oak cemetery.
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Oswald, Lee Harvey., Diane Holloway, and Bob Cheney. Autobiography of Lee Harvey Oswald: My Life in My Words. New York: IUniverse, 2008.
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