When Lee Harvey Oswald was shot dead in 1963, Detective Jim Leavelle was handcuffing his left arm with his right hand.
On November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was assassinated while sitting in a convertible parade through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas.
Two days later, authorities escorted suspect Lee Harvey Oswald to the basement of the Dallas police station to transfer him from the municipal jail to the county jail. Jim Leavelle, the homicide detective, stands to Oswald’s right, handcuffing his left hand to the suspect’s right hand. Detective L.C. Graves stands to Oswald’s left during escort.
Jim Leavelle (dressed in bright colors) was escorting Lee Harvey Oswald when he was shot by Jack Ruby on November 24, 1963. Photo: Dallas Times Herald.
“I told him: ‘Lee, if someone shoots you, I hope they shoot right like you did,’ Leavelle said in 2005.” Oswald laughed and said to me: ‘Grandpa No one is going to shoot me. ”
As they passed the group of reporters, nightclub owner Jack Ruby stepped out of the crowd, pulled out a revolver, and fired a shot at Oswald. In the moment captured by photojournalist Robert H. Jackson, Ruby pointed his gun forward, while Oswald winced in pain.
Leavelle, dressed in a light-colored suit, leaned back, looking shocked as she looked Ruby in the face. Jackson’s photo won the Pulitzer Prize, becoming one of the most famous photographs of all time.
Leavelle said he saw Ruby approaching but could not react. “I tried to pull him back,” Leavelle said in 2002, “but I was only able to swing him, causing the bullet to hit a point about 10cm to the left of his navel, instead of hitting the center. “.
As Oswald collapsed, Leavelle used her right hand to grab Ruby’s left shoulder. Detective Graves put his hand on the revolver, preventing the club owner from continuing to fire. The other policemen quickly restrained Ruby. Leavelle opened the cuffs and checked Oswald’s pulse when the suspect was taken to Parkland Hospital, where Kennedy had been rescued two days earlier. Oswald died 105 minutes after being shot.
Leavelle began to participate in the investigation after Oswald was arrested at a movie theater accused of murdering J.D. Tippitt, 88 minutes after Kennedy’s assassination. At first, the police did not believe that the police murder was related to Kennedy’s assassination, but Leavelle and the other detectives became suspicious of Oswald’s answer.
“I didn’t shoot anyone,” said Oswald when interrogated.
“Most suspects would say ‘I didn’t shoot that cop’ or ‘I didn’t shoot that person,'” Leavelle said. “I realized he knew what happened and was preparing to deny the charges soon.”
The day after Oswald was killed, Leavelle drove Ruby to the Dallas County Prison. This time the police did not notify the media and were very wary of getting Ruby into the car. Ruby explained her motive for the crime was too grieving over Kennedy’s death and wanted to enforce justice right away instead of wasting time with trials. Others have hypothesized that Ruby wanted to kill oral killers and was involved in organized crime. Ruby was sentenced to death but died in prison in January 1967 of cancer while she was appealing.
Jim Leavelle was born on August 23, 1920 in Bogota, Texas, and grew up on a farm in northeastern Texas. After graduating from high school, he joined the navy and worked on the USS Whitney.
Luckily Leavelle was not injured in the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, but was later seriously injured in an accident on board. While recovering from his health, he met with nurse Taimi Trast and they got married in October 1942.
Leavelle spent months investigating Kennedy’s assassination and figuring out if Oswald had an accomplice. “We did not discover anyone else involved,” he said.
Despite the conclusions of the authorities, many conspiracy theories spread about the assassination. “The only person they haven’t accused of pulling the trigger is Lady Jackie Kennedy,” Leavelle said in 2002.
Leavelle died in August 2019 at the age of 99. One of the reasons why so many people remember Leavelle in the shooting of Oswald is that among the policemen there, he was only in brightly colored clothes and in a white hat. The suit and hat are being kept at the 6th Floor Museum in Dallas, along with the handcuffs he has used with Oswald.
(According to Washington Post)