Business as usual or meet the lone gunman(UA-66627984-1)

Forrest J. Sorrels

  Forrest J Sorrels JFK

Forrest J. Sorrels was born in 1901 in Texas. In 1922 he obtains work at the Bureau of Narcotics, of the Treasury Department and a year he later moves to the Secret Service.

On that day he rode in the car in front of the limo together with Chief of Dallas Police Jesse Curry.

He found Abraham Zapruder and took him on a long convoluted journey to get the film developed. He also acquired the Nix film, the Moorman Polaroid and the Phil Willis photos for the Secret Service.

Forrest Sorrels is a major player that day. But his importance regarding the TSBD is important for a few reasons:

1/ He claimed he was in the TSBD at 12:50 after returning from Parkland hospital,  He is also recorded as being at the rear entrance of the TSBD at the aforementioned time and pointing out that the rear exit(s) are unguarded!

Forrest Sorrels in The Marshall News Messenger Nov 15 196. Click pic to enlarge.

2/ Furthermore he is credited with finding a star government witness by the name of Howard Brennan to have seen gunfire from the snipers nest. Once the line-up is happening Brennan would not ID Oswald as the man he saw on the 6th floor. Unlike his WC testimony where he does confirm irt was him 4 months after the deed.

3/ And he is also questioning Oswald after the first interrogation with Will Fritz.

Forrest Sorrels gets to talk to Oswald just after 4 PM on Nov. 22nd. He gets Oswald into the back room of Fritz’s office and Sorrels and his fellow Secret Service agents manage to build a report with Oswald. What becomes rather evident is that Oswald shows his ignorance as to what he is being accused of.

Part 1 of Sorrels’ WC testimony:

Mr. SORRELS – At that time, I made a phone call to my office, because I had not been in contact with them since we had departed from Love Field. I was informed that an FBI agent had called the office and said that Captain Fritz of the Homicide Bureau had been trying to get in touch with me, that he had a suspect in custody.

Mr. STERN – About what time was that?

Mr. SORRELS – That would be fairly close to 2 o’clock, I imagine.

Mr. STERN – About an hour after you had returned—-

Mr. SORRELS – Yes. I would say that it was at least that long–maybe a little bit longer.

So when I got that information, I told Mr. Zapruder that I would contact him later and get the pictures, because I wanted to get right down to Captain Fritz’ office.

So I left then with the same police car and had them take me to Captain Fritz’ office.

And upon arrival there, there was many officers around there, there was already cameras out in the hall, tripods, and so forth, and all of the city hall down there. And .there was a number of officers in the detective bureau office there, and Captain Fritz’ office, which is an office within the large office, was closed, and the blinds were drawn in his office there. I did not knock on the door or anything, because I did not want to interfere with him if he was talking to someone. So I just waited there until Captain Fritz opened the door, and he had a man who I later found out to be Oswald in custody at the time. And I told Captain Fritz, I said, “Captain, I would like to talk to this man when I have an opportunity.” He said, “You can talk to him right now.”

And he just took him on back around to the side of Captain Fritz’ office, and there was a number of other officers there, might have been some FBI agents too, there, because there were numbers of FBI agents around in that vicinity almost all the time from that time on. And some of the detectives there.

And I started talking to Oswald, started asking him some questions, and he was arrogant and a belligerent attitude about him.

And he said to me, “I don’t know who you fellows are, a bunch of cops.”

And I said, “Well, I will tell you who I am. My name is Sorrels and I am with the United States Secret Service, and here is my commission book.”

I held it out in front of him and he said, “I don’t want to look at it.”

And he held his head up and wouldn’t look at it at all. And he said, “What am I going to be charged with? Why am I being held here? Isn’t someone supposed to tell me what my rights are?”

I said, “Yes, I will tell you what your rights are. Your rights are the same as that of any American citizen. You do not have to make a statement unless you want to. You have the right to get an attorney.”

“Aren’t you supposed to get me an attorney?”

“No, I am not supposed to get you an attorney.”

“Aren’t you supposed go get me an attorney?”

I said, “No, I am not supposed to get you an attorney, because if I got you an attorney, they would say I was probably getting a rake off on the fee,” or words to that effect, and kind of smiled and tried to break the ice a little bit there.

I said, “You can have the telephone book and you can call anybody you want to.”

I said, “I just want to ask you some questions. I am in on this investigation. I just want to ask you some questions.”

Mr. STERN – Was there anything further said about an attorney?

Mr. SORRELS – Not that I recall at that time. I don’t recall anything further said about an attorney. I asked him where he worked. He told me worked at this Book Depository. And as I recall it, I asked him what his address was and where he was living, and he explained to me that he was living apart from his wife, and that she was living over in Irving, Tex. I asked him, as I recall it, what his duties were at this Book Depository, and he said filling orders. I asked him if he had occasion to be on more than one floor, and he said, yes. I asked him if he had occasion to be on the sixth floor of the building. He said, yes, because they fill orders from all the floors.

But he said most of his activity was down on the first floor.

And I think I asked him whether or not he had ever been in a foreign country and he said that he had travelled in Europe, but more time had been spent in the Soviet Union, as I recall it.

And then he just said “I don’t care to answer any more questions.”

And so the conversation was terminated.

Mr. STERN – Did he give you his address?

Mr. SORRELS – As I recall it, he did give me an address. I don’t remember what it was offhand.

Mr. STERN – Then were you finished with your questions, or did he refuse to answer any more?

Mr. SORRELS – He just said, “I don’t care to answer any more questions.”

Mr. STERN – You wanted to ask him other questions?

Mr. SORRELS – Oh, yes.

Mr. STERN – And what happened then?

Mr. SORRELS – He was taken by the officers, as I recall it, and was taken out of that area and I suppose put back in jail.

Mr. STERN – Did you then talk to Captain Fritz?

Mr. SORRELS – Yes. As I recall it, I asked Captain Fritz whether or not he had gotten anything out of him or not, and Captain Fritz said that he hadn’t been able–that he had not made any admissions or anything like that at that time, and that he was going to talk to him again. That is all I recall that transpired at that time. Of course I contacted the Chief’s office, when I got that information as to who he was, and gave that information to them.

Mr. STERN – This is Chief Rowley?

Mr. SORRELS – I think I talked to Deputy Chief Paterni.

Mr. STERN – Of the Secret Service here in Washington?

Mr. SORRELS – Yes, sir.

Mr. STERN – Did anything else transpire between that time and the Friday night show up?

Mr. SORRELS – I did not talk to Oswald again, and I was around there. When I contacted Washington, I was informed that Inspector Kelley was being directed to be there, and he would be there later on that evening, that they had caught him out on the road, and he would come there to help out.

Sorrels’ WC testimony continues:

Mr. HUBERT. Well, now, for example, when Captain Fritz afforded you an opportunity to speak to Oswald and indicated that you could do so at a little office around the corner, did that mean that you had to pass Oswald out of Fritz’ office, and through this third floor corridor, where all the newsmen were gathered?

Mr. SORRELS. No, sir.

Mr. HUBERT. That was still within Fritz’ office?

Mr. SORRELS. Yes, sir; in other words, there was an office there, and Captain Fritz had an office built within that office just merely to take him out of the door and right around the corner of his inside office there.

Mr. HUBERT. Then you did interview Oswald.

Mr. SORRELS. I talked to him, started asking him questions, and he was belligerent and arrogant in his attitude and he said to me, “I don’t know who you fellows are, a bunch of cops.”

Mr. HUBERT. How long did you speak to him

Mr. SORRELS. Not very long.

Mr. HUBERT. In point of time.

Mr. SORRELS. Not over–I don’t think over 10 minutes at the most.

Mr. HUBERT. Do you know what happened to him after that?

Mr. SORRELS. As far as I know, he was taken back to the jail.



In Vince Palamara’s  Survivor’s Guilt Sorrels is credited with having Roy Truly draw up an employee manifest only to discover that Oswald was the ‘only’ employee missing (page 305).

We know that nothing is further removed from the truth regarding the missing employee Lee Harvey Oswald, other individuals were missing at that time and the list is way incomplete. For more about this go to the ROKC forum and read up on Ed Ledoux’s post The Roll Call Remedy.


Sorrels’ Warren Commission testimony regarding this so called creation of the manifest by Truly reads as follows:

Mr. STERN – Then you got inside the building and what did you do?

Mr. SORRELS – I asked for the manager, and I was directed to Mr. Truly. He was standing there.

I went up and identified myself to him. I said, “I want to get a stenographer, and we would like to have you put down the names and addresses of every employee of the building, in the building.”

And I then walked on out the front door and asked, “Did anyone here see anything?”

And someone pointed to Mr. Brennan.

Mr. STERN – What was your purpose in asking for a list of the employees of the building?

Mr. SORRELS – Because I knew that they would have to be interviewed. I was trying to establish at that time without any delay, who all was in that building or was employed there, because I knew they would have to be talked to later.

In other words, I was looking for someone that saw something.

Mr. STERN – You were looking for potential witnesses?

Mr. SORRELS – Yes, sir.


But Roy Truly paints a whole different picture in his Warren Commission testimony.

Mr. BELIN. And then you got down eventually to the first floor?

Mr. TRULY. That is right.

Mr. BELIN. About how long after these shots do you think it took you to go all the way up and look around the roof and come all the way down again?

Mr. TRULY. Oh, we might have been gone between 5 and 10 minutes. It is hard to say.

Mr. BELIN. What did you do when you got back to the first floor, or what did you see?

Mr. TRULY. When I got back to the first floor, at first I didn’t see anything except officers running around, reporters in the place. There was a regular madhouse.

Mr. BELIN. Had they sealed off the building yet, do you know?

Mr. TRULY. I am sure they had.

Mr. BELIN. Then what?

Mr. TRULY. Then in a few minutes–it could have been moments or minutes at a time like that–I noticed some of my boys were over in the west corner of the shipping department, and there were several officers over there taking their names and addresses, and so forth.



Although Sorrels was present during all of the interrogations of Lee Oswald, he did not put forward an official report of these interrogations and it is only by sheer coincidence that a partial report was recovered by Larry Haapanen who noticed the top half of one of the pages from Sorrels’ notebook which were submitted as part of Jack Ruby’s interrogation which contained the notes on the top half of the page belonging to the questioning of Oswald and not to Ruby:

Forrest J Sorrels Oswald interrogation notes



It is possible that these notes represent the interrogation attended by Sorrels on Saturday, November 23rd, when Oswald was asked about the mail order rifle.

The amount of notes for the time spent at these interrogations of Lee Oswald is very little and not enough to go by.

William Manchester in Death Of A President writes: When Oswald was returned to the 11 × 14 interrogation room, Forrest Sorrels felt he was “baiting Fritz, hoping Fritz would beat him up so he’d have a police brutality charge.” On the other hand, police interrogation techniques hadn’t improved either. The tiny room was again invaded by a convention of city, state, and federal officers, and some of the questions put to the prisoner seem scarcely pertinent. Fritz, for example, asked him if he believed in “a deity.” The Captain later recalled that Lee said he “didn’t care to discuss that”—a sensible rebuff. He did offer a pitiful fabric of lies about his past. He insisted that he couldn’t afford a rifle on the Book Depository’s $1.25 an hour. And he was anxious that the standees in the cubicle understand that “I’m not a Communist, I’m not a Leninist-Marxist, I’m a Marxist,” an effort which, considering the absence of a dialectical materialist among his questioners, seems pointless.

Read the documents below carefully!






Thanks to Malcolm Blunt, Vince Palamara and Gayle Nix Jackson.