Detective handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald when he was fatally shot dies at 99
The Texas police officer handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald when he was fatally shot at Dallas police headquarters two days after the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, died Thursday at age 99, according to family.
Former Dallas police Detective Jim Leavelle was transporting Oswald to the Dallas County Jail when the assassin was suddenly shot on live television by nightclub owner and police informant Jack Ruby at point-blank range on Nov. 24, 1963.
Karla Leavelle, daughter of the retired detective, confirmed her father’s death to FOX 4 Dallas.
In addition to the television footage, historic photos show Leavelle wearing a light-colored suit and matching cowboy hat as a bullet whizzes into Oswald, who later died from the gunshot wound.
Two days earlier, President Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a motorcade during a Dallas campaign visit. Oswald was arrested that day in connection with Kennedy’s death, as well as the fatal shooting of Dallas patrolman J.D. Tippit, History.com reports.
Another of Leavelle’s daughters, Tanya Evers of San Antonio, told the Dallas Morning News that her father felt obligated, as he grew older, to dispel conspiracy theories around Kennedy’s assassination and Oswald’s subsequent death.
Leavelle previously said he met Ruby at his nightclub, where officers patrolled around closing time to prevent disturbances. He said he spoke to Ruby again after his arrest.
“I told him, ‘You know you didn’t do us any favor by shooting Oswald,’” Leavelle told the Dallas Morning News before his passing. “He said, ‘All I wanted to do was to be a hero, and it looks like all I did was foul things up.’”
Before joining the police department, Leavelle fought in the Navy during World War II and was aboard one of the first destroyer ships to respond to the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was born outside of Detroit but settled in Dallas after leaving the Navy.
He celebrated his birthday in Colorado last week with a group of about 60 family members and friends — including a man who worked as a reporter covering the Oswald shooting and a woman who wrote to Leavelle as a middle-school student, asking about Kennedy’s assassination, the Dallas Morning News reported. Leavelle fell and broke his hip Monday before his death Thursday.
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