A book signing with Frank Griffin, author of “Touched by Fire,” will be held at 6 p.m. on March 28 at the Cleveland Historical Museum, 203 E. Boothe St., Cleveland. The public is invited to attend this free event.
Griffin will reflect on historical events to which he and his father were connected – the 1954 assassination of Alabama Attorney General Albert Patterson and the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Griffin further claims that he witnessed police officer J.D. Tippit lying on the ground and seeing Lee Harvey Oswald fleeing from the scene. Tippit was the Dallas police officer who was shot dead about 45 minutes after JFK’s assassination while investigating. Oswald is accused of both murders. He was shot and killed the following day by the late Jack Ruby, who owned a Dallas nightclub.
Griffin’s father witnessed Patterson’s assassination and came forward with the story. It eventually led to his stabbing death the day after his testimony to the grand jury.
“Over the years, there is not a day that has gone by that I haven’t thought about it,” Griffin said. “I have experienced things in my life that people wouldn’t believe, but now I am talking about it.”
After witnessing JFK’s assassination and Lee Harvey Oswald casually leaving the scene afterward, Griffin kept quiet about what he had witnessed initially because he was scared of sharing his father’s same fate.
“It just doesn’t go away,” Griffin said.
In 2008, he defined to write a book about the experiences that had plagued his memory for 45 years. The gunshots that burned lasting images of violence and corruption into Griffin’s mind inspired the title “Touched by Fire.”
“Albert Patterson was murdered with a pistol. Officer J.D. Tippit was murdered with a pistol. I thought with all that gunfire, that’d be a good title,” he said.
Former Alabama Governor John Patterson, son of Albert Patterson, wrote the foreword for the book, which details the dark days when Phenix City, Ala., was the most dangerous city in the state.