Detective who was handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald dies

A man who was in one of the most famous photographs in U.S. history has died. Former Dallas Police detective James Leavelle died Thursday in Denver at the age of 99.

Leavelle, seen in a tan suit and stetson, was handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald when he was shot to death by Dallas strip club owner, Jack Ruby, on November 24th, 1963. Oswald had been charged with the murder of former President John F. Kennedy two days earlier and was being transferred from police headquarters to the county jail.

“I said, ‘Lee, if anybody shoots at you, I hope they’re as good a shot as you are.’ Meaning, of course, they’d get him and not me,” Leavelle said.

Lee Harvey Oswald, accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy, reacts as Dallas night club owner Jack Ruby, foreground, shoots at him from point-blank range in a corridor of Dallas police headquarters, Nov. 24, 1963.  AP

Ruby reached through a crowd of reporters and opened fire as much of the nation watched on live television. Dallas Times Herald photographer Bob Jackson won a Pulitzer for this photograph, which appeared on the front pages of newspapers around the world on the day of Kennedy’s funeral.

Leavelle’s famous stetson and suit are on display at The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas. For the record, Leavelle, who investigated the Kennedy assassination, said he had no doubt Oswald acted alone.

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