Abilene man who discovered rifle that killed JFK has died

Gene Boone, the Abilene man who found the gun used to kill President John F. Kennedy, talked to KTXS in 2013 for the 50th anniversary of the assassination.

ABILENE, Texas - Gene Boone, the Abilene man who found the gun used to kill President John F. Kennedy, has died.

Boone passed away Saturday after a brief illness, according to the Taylor County Sheriff's Office. He was 79.


On Nov. 22, 1963, Boone was working as a deputy with the Dallas County Sheriff's Department.

"I'd been on the job about a year and a half, " Boone told KTXS in 2013 in an interview for the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination.

RELATED: Abilene man discovered the rifle that killed Kennedy

Boone watched Kennedy's motorcade as it passed the sheriff's department on the way to Dealey Plaza.

As Kennedy's car turned onto Elm Street, Boone remembered hearing three shots.

"There was a little space between the first and second shot and then it was like bang ... bang,bang!"

The limousine rushed Kennedy to Parkland Hospital, while Boone and other officers searched the Texas School Book Depository for a shooter.

"We just started in and different officers broke off for different floors. I just happened to be one of the officers that went to the sixth floor," said Boone.

They didn't find Lee Harvey Oswald. But, Boone found Oswald's rifle.

"I looked down and there was a rifle in a crevasse between two rows of books," said Boone.

After his career in law enforcement, Boone worked in residential child care. When KTXS interviewed him in 2013, he was the executive director of the Texas Family Institute in Abilene.

Boone was preceded in death by his wife Charmaine. She died Sept. 21.

The Taylor County Sheriff's Office says a memorial service will be held for Boone at the Granbury Church of Christ at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in Granbury. His family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Foster's Home for Children at PO Box 978, Stephenville, Texas 76401. Boone had worked with the home for 19 years before retiring.

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