TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – At the age of 16, Dan Alarcon took off from school like many of his friends to catch a small glimpse of President John F. Kenndy speeding by through the streets of Tampa.
Four days later, he learned the president had been killed in Dallas and he recorded the day in his journal.
“During history, principal announced President Kennedy has been shot. At that instant, shrieks rose from parts of the third floor. Most of the girls were crying. Although he was a man I had only seen once four days ago, I couldn’t help feeling pain and emptiness inside,” Alercon read the words from his journal entry for the first time in 50 years.
His memories are like many who were alive at the time, but he has another tie to the death of the president.
His name is mentioned in the documents that were just released to the public from the official FBI investigation.
“It was quite a shock, quite a shock,” said Alarcon.
In the days after Kennedy’s death, Alarcon told his father a man in a photo taken in Tampa while Kennedy was here looked very much like Lee Harvey Oswald.
His father reported the photo to the FBI and they investigated the lead.
Retired FBI Special Agent Jim Cusack had a different role when President Kennedy visited Tampa. He was working for the bureau, assigned that day to keep an eye on members of the Ku Klux Klan.
“There were two groups that really presented a threat. There was the Klan, which was on my squad, and there were some of the Cuban dissidents,” said Cusack.
The FBI believed the Klan posed a threat to the president.
“This was the first time Kennedy had been south of the Mason Dixon line after all of the summer of ’63 problems, and they thought he was pushing integration and there was general antipathy toward him,” said Cusack.
After the assassination, Cusack tracked down a lot of leads, like the one from Alarcon.
“There was no stone unturned. It was the most exhaustive investigation in history,” said Cusack, who doesn’t believe in conspiracy theories about the president’s murder. He also believes the right man was arrested after his death.
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