Kilduff: At 1:04 they were still trying to work on him, as Dr. Perry’s statements have subsequently indicated. It was only a few minutes later, however, that in talking to Kenney O’Donnell [White House Appointments Secretary] that we knew the President was, in fact, dead . About 10 or 15 minutes after 1:00 I got hold of Kenney and I said, “This is a terrible time to have to approach you on this, but the world has got to know that President Kennedy is dead.” He said, “Well, don’t they know it already?” and I said, “No, I haven’t told them.” He said, “Well, you are going to have to make the announcement. Go ahead. But you better check it with Mr. Johnson.” His [President Johnson’s] reaction was immediate on that. And he said, “No, I think we better wait a minute. Are they prepared to get me out of here?” By this time it was about 1:20. I went back and talked to President Johnson, and I said, “Well, I am going to make the announcement as soon as you leave.” Then the two of us, President Johnson and myself, walked out of the emergency entrance together, and everyone was screaming at me, “What can you tell us?” It was a scene of absolute confusion.
Dugger: Reporters trying to make phone calls found that all the hospital phones had gone dead. I chased across the street to find a phone in a filling station to call [the] paper I was working with. While I was standing in the storeroom where the phone was, waiting to get through, I heard it announced on the radio, “The President is dead.” I told the editor and rushed back to the hospital. I first believed and comprehended that he was dead when I heard Doug Kiker of the Herald Tribune swearing bitterly and passionately, “Goddam the sonsabitches.” Yes, he was dead. But who had announced it? In the press room that had been improvised out of a classroom, no one seemed to know.
Wicker: When Wayne Hawks of the White House staff appeared to say that a press room had been set up in a hospital classroom at the left rear of the building, the group of reporters began strutting across the lawn in that direction. I lingered to ask a motorcycle policeman if he had heard on his radio anything about the pursuit or capture of the assassin. He hadn’t, and I followed the other reporters. As I was passing the open convertible in which Vice President and Mrs. Johnson and Senator Yarborough had been riding in the motorcade, a voice boomed from its radio: “The President of the United States is dead. I repeat—it has just been announced that the President of the United States is dead.” There was no authority, no word of who had announced it. But—instinct again—I believed it instantly. It sounded true. I knew it was true. I stood still a moment, then began running . I jumped a chain fence looping around the drive, not even breaking stride. Hugh Sidey of Time, a close friend of the President, was walking slowly ahead of me. “Hugh,” I said, “the President’s dead. Just announced on the radio. I don’t know who announced it but it sounded official to me.” Sidey stopped, looked at me, looked at the ground. I couldn’t talk about it. I couldn’t think about it. I couldn’t do anything but run on to the press room. Then I told the others what I had heard. Sidey, I learned a few minutes later, stood where he was a minute. Then he saw two Catholic priests. He spoke to them. Yes, they told him, the President was dead. They had administered the last rites.
Dugger: Then it was that Hugh Sidey of Time came in and, his voice failing with emotion, told the assembled press that two Catholic priests had told him and another reporter or so that the priests had given the President the last rites.
terHorst: I had just paid somebody in the hospital, a nurse’s aid or somebody, $15 to keep a line open to Detroit . I ran down through the corridor and Hugh Sidey was saying, “I have just talked to Father Huber and he said, ‘He is dead, all right.’” I ran back down the corridor to the telephone, to relay this to my office in Detroit, and I couldn’t talk. The girl who had kept the line open for me went and got a little paper cup of water. When I said over the telephone what Father Huber had said, my rewrite man on the other end dissolved. He couldn’t go on. They had to put another rewrite man on.