When it came to the events of November 22, 1963, Charles Truman (C.T.) Walker remained mute. However, his family knew him differently.
“He was a very fun-loving guy,” Cecelia Hurst, Walker’s cousin, said.
“I’ll never forget the day we went to the state fair,” Hurst said of her cousin.
We got on this giant roller coaster and it went chuch…chuch…chuch all the way to the top and before we knew it, we were flying straight down to the ground. My head was swimming. [Truman] asked if we wanted to do it again. That’s the kind of guy he was.
Hurst also said he was the kind of guy she could joke with and laugh till their sides hurt with, and he would, on occasion, take her and their other cousin Dwayne Mounce upstairs in the house he once occupied in Stephenville to tell stories about how the house was haunted.
On November 22, 1963, thirteen-year-old Dwayne Mounce returned home from school to see what the rest of the world was quickly finding out: President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. “I noticed Oswald, but who I really noticed was C.T.,” he said.
Mounce was shocked to see the video image of his cousin, C.T. Walker, flash across the screen as he took accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in handcuffs through the panicked downtown streets of Dallas.
“This was our family’s fifteen minutes of glory,” Mounce said from the Slaton Bakery in 2009. “We just want the people of Slaton to know one of their own sons was a very important part of history.”
Walker was born in 1933 in Slaton. His cousin Coy Biggs still resides in Slaton. “C.T. and Coy were very close,” Mounce said. “The two bonded very early in life and remained friends even after C.T. moved to Stephenville.” The two eventually joined the Coast Guard together, and Walker later began a career in law enforcement. Biggs later served as Lubbock county commissioner.
The events that took place on the day of the assassination have been surrounded by speculation, mystery and, for some, legend.
According to the Warren Commission Report, soon after shooting Kennedy from the sixth floor of the book depository warehouse, where he was an employee, Oswald boarded a bus, which took him to his rooming house to retrieve a jacket. He encountered Patrolman J.D. Tippit on a residential street in the Oak Cliff neighborhood. When Tippit exited his squad car, Oswald shot him four times with a .38-caliber revolver, killing him in view of two witnesses.
In a 1991 article for the Quinlan-Tawakoni News, Walker said that as he was leaving the book depository, he heard over his radio that a policeman had been shot. He immediately went to the place where the shooting had occurred.
“I parked behind [Tippit’s] vehicle. He was shot outside his car and fell by the left front door. There was so much blood, I knew he couldn’t possibly survive,” Walker said in the article.
Walker also described the scene that took place downtown as he and his patrolmen tried desperately to find Oswald. The search included a brief chase through alleyways, streets and even the local library: “We searched and checked the library and everyone in it. We had everyone with their hands over their heads, holding shotguns on them. We scared everyone to death.”
Walker was still searching when a call came across his scanner, reporting a suspicious man in the Texas Theater.
According to the commission reports, Officer Maurice N. McDonald approached Oswald and ordered him to stand. Soon, McDonald noticed a gun placed within his belt. Walker recalled:
McDonald’s hand was on the belt of Oswald. Oswald’s hand was under it. Then everyone’s hands were on his belt. Other officers rushed up and someone yelled for him to let go of the gun. He said, “I can’t!” and he couldn’t. There were too many hands on him. It looked like a stack of pancakes. Some plainclothesmen got his gun. I handcuffed him, and we took him out.
In the interview, Walker described Oswald as cold and emotionless as he yelled to the people and reporters who gathered outside the theater. Walker sat in the right rear seat of the police vehicle, the detective sat on the left side and Oswald was in the center as they drove him to the station to be arraigned. He described Oswald as being evasive. “The man had no emotion,” Walker said. “We were all nervous wrecks, but he was so calm, no emotion at all. It was spooky calm.”
The interview for the Quinlan-Tawakoni News is the only interview Walker’s family is aware of. “He never told the family a whole lot about what happened that day,” Mounce said. “I would try to ask him about the events, but he never really talked about it and always changed the subject. We never knew the details, and we thought we would never know.”
Walker’s family believed that his story and what took place in the Texas Theater would be carried with him to his grave. Walker died on October 10, 2007, at his home in Tawakoni, Texas.
“Three weeks ago, we discovered this interview,” Mounce said of the newspaper article that had been written for the Quinlan-Tawakoni News. “We finally got to see his story, and we thought it was fitting to share his legacy with the people of Slaton.”
In the article, Walker said he was bombarded by autograph seekers and received a lot of “crazy letters.” He also didn’t believe any of the conspiracy theories that arose from the incident:
Up to the 19th year, every once in a while I was called up to internal affairs and questioned about the events of that day. Rumors were always surfacing and they would question me. On the 19th year I was told that I put in a false report at the library to give Oswald time to get away. I answered, “Yeah and I got 25,000 acres in Cuba, too!” It was so ridiculous and it made me angry! That was the last time I was questioned but I don’t think it will ever go away.
“Like I said,” Mounce said, “we never knew the details, and we thought we’d never know. Now, we at least have some closure.”
“He was a national hero,” Hurst said, “but he never wanted to be. He was just happy being who he was.”