TESTIMONY OF EDWARD E. PIERCE
The testimony of Edward E. Pierce was taken at 2 p.m., on April 1, 1964, in the office of the U.S. attorney, 301 Post Office Building, Bryan and Ervay Streets, Dallas, Tex., by Mr. Leon D. Hubert, assistant counsel of the President's Commission.
Mr. HUBERT. Mr. Pierce, my name is Leon Hubert. I am a member of the advisory staff of the General Counsel on the President's Commission. Under the provisions of Executive Order 11130, dated November 29, 1963, a joint resolution of Congress No. 137, and the rules of procedure adopted by the President's Commission in conformance with the Executive order and joint resolution, I have been authorized to take a sworn deposition from you. I state to you now that the general nature of the Commission's inquiry is to ascertain, evaluate and report upon facts relating to the assassination of President Kennedy and the subsequent and violent death of Lee Harvey Oswald.
In particular as to you, Mr. Pierce, the nature of the inquiry today is to determine what facts you know about the death of Oswald and any other pertinent facts you may know about the general inquiry and the physical setup of the police department and the municipal building.
Mr. PIERCE. All right
Mr. HUBERT. Now, Mr. Pierce, I think you have appeared here today as a result of an informal request made for you to come here.
Mr. PIERCE. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. Under the rules of the Commission, you are actually entitled to a 3-day written notice before the taking of this deposition, but the rules also provide that you may waive that if you wish, and I must ask you first of all, do you waive the 3-day written notice to which you are normally entitled, and----
Mr. PIERCE. Sure.
Mr. HUBERT. You are ready to go ahead right now?
Mr. PIERCE. Sure. Didn't even know that I have a choice. In fact, it is quite fortunate that it came on this day. I am ready, and much prefer, as I expected this was the time I--and to put it another way, I don't need the other 3 days. It is, I understand, for people who have business appointments or other things and maybe they would, but that is not the case.
Mr. HUBERT. Will you stand and raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. PIERCE. I do.
Mr. HUBERT. Will you tell me your full name?
Mr. PIERCE. Edward Eugene Pierce.
Mr. HUBERT. What is your age, sir?
Mr. PIERCE. 45.
Mr. HUBERT. And your residence?
Mr. PIERCE Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. What is your residence? Where do you live?
Mr. PIERCE. I thought you said, "Resident," sir. 1726 Michigan.
Mr. HUBERT. What is your occupation, sir?
Mr. PIERCE. Building and maintenance employee at the city hall.
Mr. HUBERT. How long have you been so employed?
Mr. PIERCE. 5 years, almost exactly.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, were you on duty in the city hall and police building on Sunday, November 24?
Mr. PIERCE. That's right.
Mr. HUBERT. What time did you come on duty?
Mr. PIERCE. 7 o'clock.
Mr. HUBERT. What time did you leave?
Mr. PIERCE. Almost exactly 3 o'clock, 5 or 6 or 8 minutes, probably, after 3, because after 3 o'clock I was no more on duty, as far duty, which is 3 o'clock, and as far as my actual building, I wanted to look around and see what was taking place, so, probably 7 or 8 minutes after 3 when I actually drove out of the basement area.
Mr. HUBERT. What were your duties, functions and responsibilities in your position on that day while you were on duty with respect to both buildings, to wit, the municipal building and the police building?
Mr. PIERCE. You covered a lot of ground there. To actually be one-half percent accurate, I would nearly need the civil service breakdown of that job responsibility, because you covered all of it. Well, for all practical purposes, the operation of the city hall and its maintenance is a 24-hour a day operation. Consequently, we have three shifts--and they have to use some of the personnel, too, as building engineers, see. If they want one of us they page the building engineer. Actually, we aren't the building engineers. We are merely responsible for the building maintenance and operation of the two buildings, which are joined together on a 24-hour a day basis.
Mr. HUBERT. So, that on November 24----
Mr. PIERCE. I reported for my----
Mr. HUBERT. You were the man in charge of maintenance and operation of both buildings on the shifts from 7 until 3 that afternoon?
Mr. PIERCE. And I was the only one there. That responsibility is handled by what is called our building operator because of air-conditioning equipment that must be maintained and operated for both buildings, and we are equipment
operators, and in building maintenance--also called--that's a step above building maintenance six, technically speaking.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, those two buildings actually join together----
Mr. PIERCE. Right.
Mr. HUBERT. They join, as I understand it, in several ways, and I would like you to explain first of all how a person who is--was on the first floor of the municipal building could get to the other building, the police building?
Mr. PIERCE. On the first floor of the municipal building?
Mr. HUBERT. Right. How could he get through under normal circumstances?
Mr. PIERCE. To the first floor of the police and courts building?
Mr. HUBERT. Or to any part of the police building?
Mr. PIERCE. Police department. Very well, sir; simplest way would be to take the first floor corridor of the municipal building which goes immediately to the police and courts building. On the weekends, however, on this particular day; that is on the normal operation any day of the week they are connected and open, and on the weekends, or after regular municipal building hours in every night there is an expansion type steel gate closes that municipal building off, the corridor.
Mr. HUBERT. Does it lock?
Mr. PIERCE. From the--it remains locked.
Mr. HUBERT. But was it locked that day?
Mr. PIERCE. It was locked.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you test it yourself?
Mr. PIERCE. Possibly I did.
Mr. HUBERT. Could anyone open it but yourself?
Mr. PIERCE. I don't have the only key.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you see that door open?
Mr. PIERCE. To my knowledge, that door was never open the entire day.
Mr. HUBERT. And you did test it to see that it was locked?
Mr. PIERCE. It was locked.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you test it prior to the shooting?
Mr. PIERCE. Not prior to the shooting.
Mr. HUBERT. You----
Mr. PIERCE. I saw that the gate was across the corridor, as it should be. I was on the first floor, a matter of walking about as far as from here, a little further to the wall, and I didn't walk up to it prior to the shooting to see that it was locked, but it was in place and latched.
Mr. HUBERT. Could have been open?
Mr. PIERCE. It was locked. That lock--when that latch was engaged, it was in place, latched.
Mr. HUBERT. From what you could see of it, then--although you didn't come up to it, but came to within a distance, which I suggest to you now from the reference you made a moment ago was about 40 feet, 30 feet?
Mr. PIERCE. 60 foot, probably.
Mr. HUBERT. You came to within 60 feet of it, and you saw that the latch was in?
Mr. PIERCE. In place and latched, and in that position the door is locked.
Mr. HUBERT. It is locked and you would need a key to open it?
Mr. PIERCE. That is my sworn statement.
Mr. HUBERT. Right. And you did not open it?
Mr. PIERCE. I never saw it open at any time.
Mr. HUBERT. And you did not open it yourself?
Mr. PIERCE. No; but like I say; I checked it, but it was after we knew that everything had happened, and all of sudden, security got to be of such an utmost importance, or the urgency of security was such that I pulled on it to see if it was, but when you said, "prior to,"---prior to that time, I hadn't, but I do know it was latched at that time. Was actually locked when I checked it manually to see if for some peculiar reason the latch was open.
Mr. HUBERT. What you are saying, in effect, is that while you actually tugged on the door after the shooting and found it to be locked, that your check of it prior to the shooting was visual, but that in your opinion it was in a position that it was locked?
Mr. PIERCE. It is impossible for it not to have been locked.
Mr. HUBERT. It is impossible for it not to have been locked, and that was--that check was made prior to the shooting?
Mr. PIERCE. Prior.
Mr. HUBERT. How much prior? Do you know?
Mr. PIERCE. That would be difficult to say just exactly how much prior, but it was--to give an actual time on it, of course, when we went to the main floor, the first floor on the elevator prior to the shooting, in this corridor, that is a four-way corridor there. There is an information desk sits right in the intersection of the two corridors, and the several elevators is in the corridor that leads--that is the reason I say it takes a little describing because it was facing that corridor and that gate when you get off the elevator, and that was 9:30, probably 9:30.
Mr. HUBERT. All right, now, what other way is it possible to go from the first floor of the municipal building into the police building?
Mr. PIERCE. From the first floor to the police building, the only way from the first floor that you can get into the police and courts building is to leave the municipal building first floor, that is the only way you can get to it.
Mr. HUBERT. And go where?
Mr. PIERCE. And go either outside on the only other way you can get to it is to go outside on either Main Street or Commerce Street and go down to the police and courts building and use one of their entrances, or take the service elevator down to the basement, which you have the model here, and walk across that garage area and the ramp area to the basement. Two ways, but no other way you can get there from the first floor.
Mr. HUBERT. About--what about the fire escape stairs?
Mr. PIERCE. No fire escape.
Mr. HUBERT. Isn't there a fire case where----
Mr. PIERCE. The enter--staircase, you still can't get there. It is impossible to get there, because that staircase is always locked from the municipal building. That stairway is inside the building proper. It is not an outside stairway like this.
Mr. HUBERT. Yes; I understand.
Mr. PIERCE. And the entrance to it is always locked.
Mr. HUBERT. There are two staircases that open onto the main floor of the municipal building, isn't that correct, or three?
Mr. PIERCE. One on Commerce Street. One back in the building, and then another one up on Main Street which goes up into a second floor, but the second floor they are faced also with the same proposition on weekends, which you are speaking of here. That entire building is separated.
Mr. HUBERT. Well, now, as to both of those staircases, is it not a fact that they do not go down into the basement at all. Only one goes down to the basement?
Mr. PIERCE. Only one goes down to the basement?
Mr. HUBERT. And that one is a staircase just off the corridor on the Main Street side?
Mr. PIERCE. Right. That goes down.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, they have doors that--two doors, sort of swinging doors, are they not?
Mr. PIERCE. Not to the first floor; no, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Can't you at all times use those doors to get into the staircase and go either up or down?
Mr. PIERCE. When you say "those doors," you are referring to the single door on each stairway, of which there are two, or still speaking of a one single door which leads to the stairway which goes down to the basement?
Mr. HUBERT. To the basement, the other two do not go down into the basement. It is the single that is what I mean, when I said you would have to leave the first floor and go down into the basement, you could take that stairway, so that a person getting into the main floor, can get to the police basement by using that stairway?
Mr. PIERCE. That's right. He can come down it and go out, but he cannot leave the basement area and go up, because it is always locked. The entrance to the building is locked. That door is always locked.
Mr. HUBERT. But, going the other way, that is to say, from the main building down to the basement via that staircase, you would need no key, and that door is open all the time?
Mr. PIERCE. Right, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Even on weekends?
Mr. PIERCE. Right, sir. That is one of the other means?
Mr. HUBERT. Well, that leaves, I think, one other entrance to the municipal building, and the entrance in the back on the alleyway. Now, are you familiar with that entrance and that door?
Mr. PIERCE, Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Will you tell us about that--how that door operates?
Mr. PIERCE. It is a door--double door.
Mr. HUBERT. A double door?
Mr. PIERCE. Comes together and has a lock on it, which when locked is locked both from the inside-you can't get out, and the outside you can't get in.
Mr. HUBERT. So, when locked you need a key to go either way, is that correct?
Mr. PIERCE. That's right.
Mr. HUBERT. All right, now, suppose someone had a key and went out that door, and simply let the door slam behind him, well, would that door be, at that time, locked or unlocked?
Mr. PIERCE. It will be unlocked.
Mr. HUBERT. To lock it you must use a key to turn the lock?
Mr. PIERCE. You have to step outside the door and turn around and use your keys to lock it back.
Mr. HUBERT. And, if you don't do that, it is an open door?
Mr. PIERCE. It is an open door.
Mr. HUBERT. That is to say, it might be closed, but all you'd have to do is turn the knob and go on in?
Mr. PIERCE. That's what I mean. It is open until you take your key and relock yourself out. No one else can get in without a key.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, do you know whether anyone did go through that door from the first floor into the alleyway that day from your own knowledge?
Mr. PIERCE. Not from actually having seen them, but as a matter of my knowledge, I am quite sure that that door was opened and closed probably several times prior to the shooting because the porters work. In their normal assigned work, now, they take out trash and paper sacks and garbage and whatnot. Mr. Servance, the head porter, always has a key to that door for the removal of trash.
Mr. HUBERT. What is the custom with respect to locking or not locking the door when they routinely perform the porter duties?
Mr. PIERCE. The normal custom is to unlock the door and take their trash out, and their receptacle for the trash is immediately on the other side of the door, and as a matter of habit and routine, while they are they take a garbage can out on four- wheel dollies and leave the door open there until they can set the cans over in there, or as close as from here to that door from the door they have just left open, and they set the full cans off onto the dolly and pick up the four clean cans and set them back on the dolly and push them back into the building, and it is only for that period of time, but they relock it when they come back in.
Mr. HUBERT. But, normally, it is an open door while they are performing----
Mr. PIERCE. While they are performing their duties.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you know whether the Main Street entrance to the municipal building was locked that day?
Mr. PIERCE. It was locked; yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. You tested it yourself?
Mr. PIERCE. And I inadvertently did. Not purposely, for any purpose, but I did.
Mr. HUBERT. You say that you inadvertently did?
Mr. PIERCE. And I am glad it happened that way.
Mr. HUBERT. Well, tell us about that, briefly.
Mr. PIERCE. The Main Street door is comprised of a revolving door with two
little vestibule-type doors, one each--that is, one on each side of the revolving door and the two vestibule doors and revolving door are all locked, and I do know that they were locked, because for this reason. In the crowd and milling of curiosity seekers and general public that had gone up and down Main Street, as well as Commerce, and in an attempt to get in and see what was going on, a couple two women looked through the glass of the doors there. And apparently thought, well, if they could get in here they could see in, because I believe it was a time no, I wouldn't even say I believe it was a time. It might be they had tried the ramp area, and at any rate, they came up to the door and tried to get in the revolving door as if to come in off of Main Street, and apparently not knowing that the building was closed for the weekend, they thought they could come right in city hall, and I just waved my hand at them this way [indicating] and they had seen it was locked, and I waved my hand at them as if to say, "I'm not going to open it for you. City hall is closed." We have to do that quite often, because people come down and want to pay their water bills and we have to say, "We are closed for the weekend." And I know it was closed because they were trying to see if they could get in. In fact, this was the time when even I didn't know all this other was going to take place, but I figured, too, curiosity.
Mr. HUBERT. What about the Commerce Street----
Mr. PIERCE. No; it was locked.
Mr. HUBERT. Was it ever open in your presence?
Mr. PIERCE. I opened it myself one time.
Mr. HUBERT. Did Servance open it one time, too?
Mr. PIERCE. He was there, but I opened it.
Mr. HUBERT. I understand that you all stood in the vestibule?
Mr. PIERCE. The other doors stay open for the convenience of people who want to make payments of their water bill. There is a bill drop there.
Mr. HUBERT. So, you opened the door and stood in the vestibule and sometime afterward you locked the door back again, is that correct?
Mr. PIERCE. Sometime afterward I did, but there was a whole lot which took place in between before I locked it back.
Mr. HUBERT. What I am interested in, did anyone come in the building?
Mr. PIERCE. No one came in the building. That, I can safely swear to. The reason I opened those two or three doors there which lock the vestibule there from the entrance to the building that allows people at night, or any hour of the day to come in and make payments, drop their water bill there, and this is the reason I refer to it as a vestibule, foyer.
Now, we are making 45 minutes, I would think or an hour's change in time with relation to this particular occasion when I opened up. This happened after we had been told we couldn't remain in the basement area.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you come up from the basement area?
Mr. PIERCE. We came up from the basement area and porters asked me why they couldn't stand----
Mr. HUBERT. When you came up from the basement area, who was operating the elevator?
Mr. PIERCE. McKinzie was operating the elevator.
Mr. HUBERT. Who came up with you?
Mr. PIERCE. I and Servance and Riggs and the telephone operator named Ruth.
Mr. HUBERT. And Kelly?
Mr. PIERCE. Who?
Mr. HUBERT. Kelly? Did Kelly----
Mr. PIERCE. I don't know a Kelly. Maybe her last name is Kelly.
Mr. HUBERT. No; this is a man called Edward Kelly. What about Henry, or Harold Fuqua?
Mr. PIERCE. Harold Fuqua remained in the basement momentarily. He remained in the basement and started to stay and--he did stay--at that time he wasn't on the elevator when we came up. He did stay, but later he was also required to leave though his immediate job responsibility--he stated he was forced to leave later. At that time he stayed----
Mr. HUBERT. At any time was the service elevator locked in such a way that it couldn't be operated, to your knowledge?
Mr. PIERCE. Are you asking me if there were a time when it was locked? That, I don't know. I don't think it was, but it is possible that it might have actually been locked but I don't actually know.
Mr. HUBERT. What about the two elevators used during the week, were they locked?
Mr. PIERCE. They were turned off.
Mr. HUBERT. They couldn't operate at all? It is possible to lock the service elevator so that it cannot move?
Mr. PIERCE. Well, now, that is an embarrassing question. In 5 years I have never seen it locked, but all other elevators that I know of do have locks on the outside, and undoubtedly it does, too, but in my mind I am trying to----
Mr. HUBERT. Isn't there a lock on the inside that you turn and the elevator simply becomes immobile?
Mr. PIERCE. Oh, there's a switch where you can turn off the operation of it. I was thinking of a lock---oh, of course.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you use a key, to turn the elevator off so that it can't be used unless the key is used again to turn it on?
Mr. PIERCE. The elevator operator inside the car can.
Mr. HUBERT. Well, do you know if the elevator was locked in that way so that it couldn't move without switching it back on again with the key?
Mr. PIERCE. To my knowledge, I don't know. At that point in the story I would only say that it is my speculation that it probably was not locked, but it might have been switched off. I think maybe this is not the answer you are looking for.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, I have shown you a document consisting of three pages, purporting to be a report of an interview with you by a special agent Hardin and Wilkeson. I have seen it "Wilkinson," spelled both Ways----
Mr. PIERCE. He introduced himself to me as Wilkinson.
Mr. HUBERT. In order to identify it, I am marking it, "Dallas, Texas, April 1, 1964. Exhibit 5132, Deposition of E. E. Pierce," signing my name, placing my name and that information on the first page. Putting my initial on the right-hand bottom of the second page, and my initials on the right-hand side of the third page at the bottom. You have, I think, read this document now identified as Exhibit 5132, have you not, Mr. Pierce?
Mr. PIERCE. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. I ask you if it is correct? Any changes you would like to make, anything of that sort?
Mr. PIERCE. None of any importance. I have been through there. As I read the article there it occurred to me that maybe a word might have been changed or a statement as written there might leave the meaning which in actual analysis was not exactly true. Like I explained it to you, that they referred to us as building engineers. If a call was sent out for the building engineer who was in charge on that day, I would go even though I am not a building engineer, but substantially, the copy of the statement is correct.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, so that the record may show that both of us are talking about the same document, I would like you to place your name near mine here on the first page and your initials on the other two pages?
Mr. PIERCE. Full name?
Mr. HUBERT. Well, just your regular signature.
Mr. PIERCE. That position on the first floor there, the vestibule there, that we were speaking of one door being open a while ago, we didn't pursue that to the conclusion, but that is where I was. That is the point in the municipal building where I was at the time. Oswald was shot, although, at that time, even until just a few short minutes, maybe like 5 until 5 or 8 minutes after he was shot did we know that he had even been shot, and it was immediately after that then that everyone left that position and I relocked the door.
Mr. HUBERT. Good enough.
Mr. PIERCE. The reason I had to unlock the door is because of human nature, like everyone else, we wanted to see what was taking place so, I unlocked the door and--so we could look down the side of the building toward the ramp area,
which is the one right here [indicating], and see if anything was taking place.
Mr. HUBERT. All right, now.
Mr. PIERCE. Because at that time when the officers out there told us that we could not remain outside we would have to step back inside and close the doors, that is where we were. I wanted to finish that part of it so that you would understand about the door being unlocked, because I was there at the time.
Mr. HUBERT. And that is all you have to say about that?
Mr. PIERCE. I think that it is pretty well covered in here.
Mr. HUBERT. Yes; I think so, too.
Mr. PIERCE. Other than the actual time the door was locked after we left that area, but it was after he had been shot, and had it all----
Mr. HUBERT. Do you know Jack Ruby?
Mr. PIERCE No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. You have seen pictures of him, of course, since?
Mr. PIERCE. I have many times since.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you see him around anywhere on November 24?
Mr. PIERCE. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Or any other date prior to the shooting?
Mr. PIERCE. No other date did I see, him. As a matter of--I imagine at the time, because there were so many, and I hadn't seen any--I didn't even know he existed, and in the crowd of people that were there, it is very possible that he might have been in the group that I saw as I worked back and forth, but he could have been there, but I didn't know.
Mr. HUBERT. But, you have no----
Mr. PIERCE. Nothing but hearsay to the effect that he was there from time to time. It developed later that he had been in the building there several times.
Mr. HUBERT. But, you don't know that from your own knowledge at all.
Mr. PIERCE. I do not know it, and even at that time I wouldn't have known him if I would have seen him because I didn't know he existed much less what he looked like.
Mr. HUBERT. Well, one other area I would like to explore, there is an area called the subbasement, is there not?
Mr. PIERCE. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. That is below the----
Mr. PIERCE. It is immediately----
Mr. HUBERT. Below the actual basement used for parking area?
Mr. PIERCE That is this area.
Mr. HUBERT. In the city hall.
Mr. PIERCE. Right here.
Mr. HUBERT. In that subbasement you have all your actual machinery?
Mr. PIERCE. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Is it possible to get into the subbasement from the outside on Commerce Street?
Mr. PIERCE. On a weekend, normally; no, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. There is a door, though?
Mr. Prunes. There is a door that connects the subbasement with the staircase that leads to the sidewalk on Commerce Street.
Mr. HUBERT. All right.
Mr. PIERCE. Now, that door is normally locked on weekends.
Mr. HUBERT. Always locked on weekends.
Mr. PIERCE. Unless, inadvertently, someone left it open. It is supposed to be and it is all the time when I am on duty, it is locked. Because I don't want any----
Mr. HUBERT. Was it locked November 24, all the time?
Mr. PIERCE. It was locked.
Mr. HUBERT. You were in charge of it, and you say that it was locked?
Mr. PIERCE. Yes. Now, with this reservation being that the head porter, our--Mr. Servance, also has a key to that door, because the porters' quarters, their locker room area and quarters, what we refer to as quarters generally is on the outside of that door in the police and courts building proper, and to get to it--
their duties and in this garage area here, and in the municipal building, they are required to go in and out of that door to get their assigned jobs. He has a key, and when I say, "to my knowledge it was looked," the only reservation is that at sometime he was there and present in that area, and it was locked unless opened by him, or a porter who was working.
Mr. HUBERT. So, if a person could get into this subbasement, he could go very easily into the basement, itself?
Mr. PIERCE. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. No looked door between them?
Mr. PIERCE. No looked doors. It has the stairway that goes from the subbasement, the stairway level up to----
Mr. HUBERT. What kind of a lock is there on that subbasement door that you are talking about? Do you need a key to get in?
Mr. PIERCE. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. When you pass through the door does it automatically lock?
Mr. PIERCE. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. That is a push button type look. It is true, you can let yourself out of the subbasement and go out towards their area.
Mr. HUBERT. Porters' area?
Mr. PIERCE. And when it closes back, it is looked. It locks, and to come back through you have to use your key again unless you are going to be there for some period of time, you want to be you can push the button you are speaking of automatically and that releases itself automatically. If you push the button it remains unlocked for you.
Mr. HUBERT. That would be true also if a person was coming from the outside and wanted to get into the subbasement, or you--use the key to get in and when the doors shuts again, it is locked?
Mr. PIERCE. It is locked; yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. All right, I think that about covers it, Mr. Pierce. Have you been interviewed by any member of the President's Commission to your knowledge, sir?
Mr. PIERCE. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. All right, sir.
Mr. PIERCE. As for the any personnel going in the garage area there at the time he was shot, I guess I am not in the position to say positively there was no one other than news personnel or media and police.
Mr. HUBERT. But, you don't know that to be a fact, do you?
Mr. PIERCE. I was fixing to say that I would be willing, even though I am under oath here, to swear to tell the truth, that there was no one there, because those personnel we have mentioned here, Riggs and Fuqua, at the time we were forced to leave, and came up, you know, I mentioned he remained in the basement momentarily there until it was evident that he also would have to leave. Then he and Harold went to the--because of the availability there of a television set, went to the police looker room lounge.
Mr. HUBERT. Well, now, do you know that of your own knowledge?
Mr. PIERCE. I do know that.
Mr. HUBERT. Or have you been told?
Mr. PIERCE. Well, as a matter of security I mentioned it, because after they got to that position then they couldn't even come back and were required to stay there.
Mr. HUBERT. But, you know that only because other people told you that?
Mr. PIERCE. That is where they were required to stay. That is where they spent the reminder of their time, because they could not come back and rejoin us.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you know how they left that building to get to the police recreation room?
Mr. PIERCE. From the elevator area here let's see; no, I don't know if they walked directly across to a stairway there, another stairway that goes to the police locker lounge other than the stairway we are speaking of, comes from Commerce Street down to the subbasement itself, and in the building. A stairway which policemen use all the time to go down to the lockers.
Mr. HUBERT. You mean from the municipal building?
Mr. PIERCE. No; from the garage area.
Mr. HUBERT. From the garage area, right.
Mr. PIERCE. But, from the municipal building that is not so. From being required to stay there and unable to even leave there, even now, like I said, I can't possibly state there was no one else there, but I do know they weren't in this area, because they were supposed to be---stay where they were and----
Mr. HUBERT. Do you know how they got out of the municipal building that they were in with you to get to the police room, from your own knowledge? Not what somebody else told you, but from your own knowledge?
Mr. PIERCE. From my own knowledge; no, sir. I don't know. Now, there was a small interval of time elapsed when we first left the basement area here on the elevator and came up to the first floor. McKinzie was the operator of the elevator, which has a buzzer system on it for calling, and. as such, is required to answer calls to whatever floor the personnel is calling for elevator service there, because that is the only elevator in operation, and he did answer a call or two probably from the phone operators up on five, like I say, when we left the basement area and went up to one, he was there, too, and in that small interval of time, I would say about 10 minutes, he came back and reparked the elevator there on one and said that--told me that a policeman had told him not to answer any more calls on that elevator. To even remove the elevator completely from the basement area, and don't answer any more calls until notified later. And that--and that elevator stayed there then at that point there is one of the things that entered my mind a while ago when you were speaking of--about the elevator being shut off, and the operator can turn a switch and turn it out of service, and he brought up the elevator and told me, and Servance was there, at the time, and Servance is his immediate boss, and told Servance that he had been instructed not to answer any more calls on that elevator.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, I asked you whether or not you know how Riggs and Fuqua got out of the building? What way they used to get out of the building?
Mr. PIERCE. Now, they left us where we were there in that small interval of time and it is possible that they went back down and walked across to the stairway that goes to the police locker room, is--that is the only way they could get to it, if they took that route, actually, the question was, "Do I know how?", and I'm not certain, because I did not follow them or go with them.
The easiest way, across the other stairway and went down to the police locker room or that stairway from Commerce Street down to the porters' quarters, and the subbasement where our equipment is, from that stairway there is a door that is locked there, also. They would have to have a key. If they got in the police locker room there is a fire escape from the locker room out to the outside in case they ever have to leave, but you cannot go into it without a key.
If they used that route, they had to use a key, which I don't know if anybody has a key or not.
It is the only two ways they could have gotten there, and at that time when they were immediately clearing out of this area, it is very possible the policemen, knowing that they were building maintenance employees, and been seeing them for years, especially John the head porter, why, and Harold Fuqua in charge of parking of cars in this basement area, might have said it was all right for them to take these stairs down to the locker room as they were going to have to leave this area anyway. They could either have gone to the--they could either have gone from the municipal building down the stairs or permitted them to go back into the police and courts building.
Mr. HUBERT. Well, now, they have gotten out of the municipal building by going through the service elevator, through the alleyway door and out through the alley to Main Street, couldn't they?
Mr. PIERCE. They could have, but they couldn't have gotten--they would have to come hack into this basement area down this ramp in order to get into where the stairway is to go down to the police locker room.
Mr. HUBERT. Well, they could have gone down the police department building entrance on Harwood, down into this basement.
Mr. PIERCE. They would have had to----
Mr. HUBERT. Walked around the block, so to speak?
Mr. PIERCE. And come down the elevator and walked from there down to the locker room where they did stay.
Mr. HUBERT. All right. Okay. Thank you very much, sir. I appreciate it. I think that's it. Do we have everything that you know?
Mr. PIERCE. If it be of help. I am privileged to be of help. If I have, I'm glad.
Mr. HUBERT. Good----
Mr. PIERCE. In fact, I trust that I have. At least, we ascertained--like I told her. I might have written it myself, but, actually, it was written from statements that I made, so that is----
Mr. HUBERT. You are talking about Exhibit 5132?
Mr. PIERCE. The statement that I read there; yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Thank you very much, sir.
Mr. PIERCE. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. All right, you can go out this way.