As the US government releases thousands of secret files on the killing of President John F. Kennedy 54 years ago, here is a look back at what happened.

Three shots ring out

About 200,000 people line the route as Kennedy’s open-top blue Limousine makes its way through central Dallas. It is November 22, 1963 and he is on a tour as part of preparations for the 1964 presidential elections.

His wife Jackie is at his side, on her first official trip since the death of her newborn son Patrick.

The governor of Texas, John Connally, and his wife are sitting in front of them. As the car slows down to make a wide turn, three shots ring out. It is exactly 12:30 pm.

Kennedy slumps forward, blood splashes onto his wife’s pink Chanel suit. The president is bleeding from the head. He has been hit twice.

Connally is also hit. “My God, they’re going to kill us all,” he says.

The car speeds off toward Parkland hospital. Despite the efforts of 14 doctors and surgeons, Kennedy is officially declared dead at 1:00 pm. Connally survives.

A visibly moved CBS television newsman Walter Cronkite breaks the news to the nation live on television.

Assassin detained

At 1:50 pm, Lee Harvey Oswald, an employee in the book warehouse from where the shots were fired from a sixth-floor window, is detained in a cinema as he was leaving the area. He is said to have shot dead a police officer who had earlier tried to arrest him.

Investigators have determined he was the presidential assassin, but their conclusions failed to quell speculation over how the former Marine and defector to the Soviet Union could have acted single-handedly.

Oswald is shot

On November 24 Oswald is surrounded by police as he is escorted from the Dallas police headquarters to an armoured vehicle to take him to court.

With cameras rolling and as a throng of journalists shout questions, a man emerges from the crowd, points a gun and fires.

Oswald grasps his abdomen and falls. It’s less than 59 hours after the killing of Kennedy.

His assassin in a cabaret owner, Jack Rubinstein - known as Jack Ruby - who was also linked to the Mafia. He dies in prison in 1967 from cancer.

Kennedy is buried

Four days after his assassination, Kennedy is buried at Washington’s Arlington National Cemetery on November 26, 1963.

The entire ceremony is broadcast live to tens of millions of people, from his closed casket lying in state, to a parade on a horse-drawn bier and the burial itself.