Yet Earle V. Brown was a Dallas cop who was stationed on the railroad overpass that crossed the Stemmons Freeway. By his own estimation he was about 100 yards from the Triple Underpass. The following testimony can be found in WC volume 6, pp. 233-234:
Mr. BALL. Did you hear the shots?The location of the Stemmons Freeway railroad overpass can be seen in the following photo:
Mr. BROWN. Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL. How many?
Mr. BROWN. Three.
Mr. BALL. Where did they seem to come from?
Mr. BROWN. Well, they seemed high to me, actually; if you want, would you like me to tell you?
Mr. BALL Sure, tell it in your own words.
Mr. BROWN. Well, down in that river bottom there, there's a whole lot of pigeons this particular day, and they heard the shots before we did because I saw them flying up must have been 50, 75 of them.
Mr. BALL. Where was the river bottom?
Mr. BROWN. You know, actually off to the between us and the, this overpass you are talking about there's kind of a levee along there. It's really a grade of the railroad, is what it is; that's where they were and then I heard these shots and then I smelled this gun powder.
Mr. BALL. You did?
Mr. BROWN. It come on it would be maybe a couple minutes later so at least it smelled like it to me.
Mr. BALL. What direction did the sound seem to come from?
Mr. BROWN. It came it seemed the direction of that building, that Texas . . .
Mr. BALL. School Book Depository?
Mr. BROWN. School Book Depository.
Is it plausible that an officer could smell gunpowder from shots in Dealey Plaza from 100 yards past the Underpass in the opposite direction? And that any such smell would still be in the air two minutes after the shooting?
To make matters worse, the wind in Dealey Plaza at the time of the head shot was from the southwest. This can be clearly seen in a frame from the Muchmore film. The coats of Mary Moorman and Jean Hill show a brisk wind.
The wind would thus have carried any "gunpowder" smell away from Officer Brown, who was due west or perhaps west-northwest of the Plaza.
So it seems that these reports of "smelling gunpowder" have to be explained in psychological, rather than narrow olfactory, terms. As Gary Nivaggi has suggested:
I too do not believe that there was any gunpowder smell following the shooting, but a similar "combustion by-product" odor combined with the psychological effect may have caused the confusion. Those enormous, inefficient V-8 engines in the motorcade vehicles would, under the obvious rapid or full throttle acceleration, give off some very strong exhaust fumes. Upon passing through these fumes, especially after hearing the shots, those fumes could be mistaken for gunpowder smells.