Jim Leavelle, lawman at Lee Harvey Oswald’s side, dies at 99

Jim Leavelle Lee Harvey Oswald shooting

FILE – In this Nov. 24, 1963 file photo, Lee Harvey Oswald reacts as Dallas night club owner Jack Ruby, foreground, shoots at him from point blank range in a corridor of Dallas police headquarters At left is Detective Jim Leavelle. The longtime Dallas lawman who was captured in one of history’s most iconic photographs as he escorted President John F. Kennedy’s assassin moments before he was fatally shot, has died on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019. He was 99. (Bob Jackson/Dallas Times-Herald via AP)

By David Warren – AP

Jim Leavelle, the longtime Dallas lawman who was captured in one of history’s most iconic photographs as he escorted President John F. Kennedy’s assassin as he was fatally shot, has died. He was 99.

Leavelle, distinctive in his light-colored suit and white Stetson, is seen in the photograph with his hand on Lee Harvey Oswald, Leavelle’s body stiffening as nightclub owner Jack Ruby shot the handcuffed presidential assassin at close range on live TV in 1963. Leavelle appears shocked as Oswald grimaces in pain.

Leavelle’s daughter Tanya Evers told The Associated Press her father died Thursday while visiting her sister in Colorado. He fell earlier this week and broke his hip, requiring surgery at a Denver hospital, Evers said Friday. He responded well to the surgery, she said, but then later suffered a heart attack.

In the decades after the assassination, Leavelle regularly spoke at schools and before various groups because he believed “he had a responsibility to share his story,” said Evers, who lives in San Antonio.

Her father through the decades received mail nearly every day from people asking questions about the assassination or invoking any one of several conspiracy theories, she said.

Jim Leavelle Lee Harvey Oswald shooting

Jim Leavelle in Stafford, Kansas holding the iconic 1963 photograph, as he escorted Lee Harvey Oswald moments before he is shot in Dallas. Leavelle, the longtime Dallas lawman has died, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019. He was 99. (Sandra J. Milburn/The Hutchinson News via AP)

“He really felt a need to address the theories,” Evers said. “He wanted to make sure that people knew there was no conspiracy and that one misguided person could take a shot at a president and succeed.”

Leavelle joined the Dallas police force in 1950 and retired from active service in 1975. He was among the lead detectives assigned to investigate Kennedy’s Nov. 22, 1963, assassination.

In 2013, Dallas police commanders honored Leavelle with the Police Commendation Award and announced the department’s Detective of the Year Award would be named for him. In accepting the honor, Leavelle said he was thinking of other deserving officers, including J.D. Tippit, who was shot and killed by Oswald when Tippit stopped Oswald to question him some 45 minutes after Kennedy’s assassination.

In comments after that presentation, Leavelle said that when he saw an armed Ruby approach in the basement of Dallas police headquarters, he tried unsuccessfully to jerk Oswald behind him to shield him from harm.

“Him being real close all I did was turn his body so instead of the bullet hitting him dead center it hit about 3 or 4 inches to the left of the navel,” Leavelle said.

The photo that captured the attack was taken by Robert H. Jackson, a photographer for the Dallas Times Herald who won a Pulitzer Prize for his image.

comments

  1. avatar 16V says:

    “…choreography stiffer than the Lee Harvey Oswald prison transfer. Pretty stringent security network there, huh? Hey boss, the guy who owns the local tittie bar is here. He’s got a handgun. Should I let him in? Yeah”

    I’m sure I misquoted a bit, but my memory is going…

    Courtesy – Dennis Miller –The Off White Album

    1. avatar Scott says:

      Oswald should have been more closely guarded than Fort Knox. There should have been cops on every side of him, in a four man diamond formation, which would have made it nearly impossible for Ruby to do what he did.

      Just one of many details about the “official story” which stinks to high heaven IMO.

      1. avatar Omer says:

        You make it sound like the point of was for Oswald to make to trial, quaint thought.

      2. avatar Tim says:

        Forgot who said it, but: “never attribute to malice those things that can be more readily attributed to (routine) government incompetence”.

      3. avatar James A. "Jim" Farmer says:

        I’ll say this stinks! So does the continuous deceitful cover up and white washing of various career criminal politicians, and those of high treason in the judiciary, from our nation’s shameful past: Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ), Ted Kennedy, the Earl Warren Supreme Court and his nine justices (injustices) of the Supreme Court. The latter rightly deserves blame for favoring the criminal over the crime victim! And of course the late Thomas Dodd (D) of Connecticut: LBJ’s then lieutenant in the U.S. Senate who framed the damnable 1968 Federal Gun Control Act into socialist oppressive federal legislation which punitively targeted the innocent honest American gun owner! Afterwards Dodd was censored by his own U.S. Senate peers for corruption and abuse of power. Why do wed never hear about this? Read on:

        Klamath Falls Herald and News: Tuesday, September 27th, 2016/Letters To The Editor

        Trump description would fit LBJ well

        Letter to the Editor

        In her Sept. 20th letter Sandy Couch describes Donald Trump as “narcissistic and egotistical.” That is an accurate description of Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) , perhaps the worst president in American history. Unfortunately, an issue doesn’t disappear simply because it’s been ignored, censored, covered up and concealed for decades.

        Also, the legacy of deceit, abuse of power, and political corruption that continues to curse America today! Case in point: “American Experience, “LBJ: Beautiful Texas/My Fellow Americans. A profile of Lyndon B. Johnson.” This recently aired on KSYS Channel 8.1 Aug. 15 and 16, respectively.

        Consider the following the itemized links below:

        Barr McClellan’s 2003 book: “Blood, Money, and Power: How LBJ Killed JFK”. Also posted at YouTube.

        J. Evett Haley’s 1964 book: “A Texan Looks At Lyndon: A Study In Illegitimate Power.” “How Persecution of American Christians Really Began in The US!” via the Constitution Party of Oregon (www.constitutionpartyoregon.net) posted under “Liberty In The News.”

        Trump to Pastors: ‘Christians Have Been Silenced Like a Child” via Pat Robertson’s 700 club confronts the 1954 Johnson Amendment which remains blatant censorship.

        “Lyndon Johnson Murdered John F. Kennedy” at YouTube. The oppressive 1968 Gun Control Act LBJ signed into federal legislation and its Nazi/ racist roots long since exposed by JPFO, Inc. at http://www.jpfo.org.

        Finally, the Vietnam War (1961-1975). How LBJ and then Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara greatly escalated this “no win war” in Southeast Asia. And at a cost of 58,000 American lives. Lyndon B. Johnson likewise paved the way for Carter, Clinton, and Obama.And while Richard M. Nixon was no saint, he wasn’t even in the ballpark with Lyndon when it came to the above political atrocities, abuses, and crimes against the American people.

        James A. Farmer, Ashland
        Now a resident of Merrill, Oregon (Klamath County)
        Long live the State of Jefferson!

      4. avatar jwm says:

        It could be as simple as the Dallas PD had never handled a presidential assassin before and they defaulted to SOP.

      5. avatar 4808 N says:

        The lessons learned from Oswald would have served Epstein well.

    2. avatar Roger says:

      Wikipedia – He developed close ties to many Dallas Police officers who frequented his nightclubs, where he provided them with free liquor, prostitutes and other favors.

  2. avatar Tim says:

    I love that when leftists discuss Oswald, they try to cast him as a right-wing extremist, ignoring the well-documented marxist’s multiple attempted defections to the Soviet Union. He was such a leftist lunatic, even the soviets didn’t want him & sent him back.

    1. avatar Patrick H says:

      Lee Harvey Oswald was deeply connected to American Intelligence. He was sent to the Soviet Union to be “sheep-dipped” – to make it easier for him to infiltrate domestic left-wing organizations. That’s why the Soviets didn’t want him.

      1. avatar Tim says:

        C’mon Patrick, you can do better than that. Oswald is Nancy Pelosi & DJT’s love child from her days in porn. They sent him back to 1963 in a DeLorean to stop the Apollo space program ‘by any means necessary’. He did the best he could. Rest in peace, Agent Oswald. Rest in peace.

    2. avatar 4808 N says:

      Or the Rooskies told Oswald, “we have a nation full of Saps like you. Off you go!”

  3. avatar Indy Jonze says:

    This guy was pretty funny about the incident in a low key way. In one of the interviews they asked him what was he thinking at that moment and he said something like I was hoping he wouldn’t get another shot off since I was handcuffed to this jerk. Good times

  4. avatar James A. "Jim" Farmer says:

    Now that I rightly castigated Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ), Earl Warren, and their socialist treasonous ilk lets focus on the 2″ barrel Colt Cobra .38 Special revolver Jack Ruby used to kill Lee Harvey Oswald. Originally produced from 1950 to 1981 the Colt Cobra was simply an alloy frame variant of the classic Colt Detective Special, which in turn was simply a 2″ or 3″ barrel version of Colt’s D-Frame Police Positive Special revolver. Of course, I tend to be a Smith and Wesson person. Historically it’s too bad this same Colt .38 Cobra, instead of being owned by Jack Ruby who supposedly had underworld links to organized crime, including Cook County, Illinois (Chicago), wasn’t instead owned by an innocent decent moral law abiding citizen. It would have been an ideal handgun for concealed carry for both sexes. Women would have found it’s unloaded weight of 15 oz. (21 oz. for an unloaded Colt .38 Detective Special with 2″ barrel) and smaller D-Frame size and grips very comfortable, light, and convenient to carry inside either a purse or handbag. In the decades following it’s 1950’s vintage the advent of nationwide concealed carry would have greatly increased it’s demand, and of course, price!

    I again endorse for women Paxton Quigley’s revised 2010 book: “Armed and Female: Taking Control.” And of course “Dial 911 and Die: The Shocking Truth About The Police Protection Myth (1999)” by Attorney Richard W. Stevens. This is also available for public viewing at You Tube. JPFO, Inc. is “America’s Aggressive Civil Rights Organization” and is non-NRA affiliated.

  5. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

    When I saw this story yesterday, my first thought was that it never occurred to me that this guy was even still alive. He was only about 43 when that picture was taken, but he looks like he’s about 65. I figured he’d been dead since the 1970s or 1980s.

    1. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

      Ditto. Have you ever noticed that a lot of old pictures of people in the 30’s or 40’s look much older than they actually were?

      1. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

        You know, I have noticed that, too. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s due to higher rates of smoking and drinking among those generations. Perhaps coupled with lesser nutrition, less sleep, more childhood illnesses, and longer, harder, more dangerous work days? All of that could take a toll on one’s youthful looks.

        I wonder what they’ll say in 50+ years about our looks today, especially our eyes, now that we’ve been staring at T.V., PC, and smartphone screens for a few decades now?

        1. avatar jwm says:

          They will be jealous of how slim and healthy we all looked.

  6. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    A communist murdered the President of the United States. Anyone who says different is just selling a story and you are paying $$$ for it. If you believe it.
    Rest In Peace sir.

    1. avatar Tim says:

      Way back when democrats were marginally sane. Leftist maniacs haven’t changed a bit in 200 years.

  7. avatar Jabberwockey says:

    Poor Jim, cut down in his prime.

    1. avatar Mantitude says:

      We need a thumbs up system for posts like this.

  8. avatar Cucamonga Jeff says:

    Using the middle finger to pull the trigger 🤦‍♂️

    1. avatar Tim says:

      I believe in some of the reading that I’ve done, they called out that “middle finger on the trigger” as “the assassin’s grip”, such that it couldn’t be yanked out of his hand at the last minute.

      Ah, here it is:

      https://imgur.com/a/JyuKc3k

      From “Trauma Room One: The JFK Medical Coverup Exposed, By Charles A. Crenshaw, J. Gary Shaw”

      (Not commenting on the validity of the book, just saying that I’ve read it.)

      And, something useful is no longer in my head because I can remember that! Good eye, though.

  9. avatar Ralph says:

    I’m surprised that the leftards haven’t blamed the Kennedy assassination on Trump. Also the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby. And the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. And Pearl Harbor.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Well at least they can’t pin the Zodiac killings on him since they’ve already established that that was Ted Cruz.

  10. avatar Coincidence. Man. says:

    Jack ruby was Jewish.

    1. avatar Smokin’ Joe Biden says:

      ‘Jack’ Ruby was actually born ‘Jaqueline’ Ruby, a bouncing baby girl. True fact. I was there.

  11. avatar Hannibal says:

    Perp walks then aren’t that different than now, although now a high profile prisoner would at least have a vest… hopefully. There are some departments who probably would have been about as bad as dallas.

  12. avatar Graybeard says:

    >sigh< And the armchair commandos kick in again omniscient (/sarc) opinions.

    The procedures for prisoner transfer were different in the 1960s – and saying "they should do things like we do them now!" shows how historically ignorant folks are.

    RIP Mr. Leavelle. You left a legacy of honor for us to follow.

  13. avatar trump is not duly elected says:

    A foul play?

    1. avatar HRC says:

      Seth Rich? Definitely.

  14. avatar Yes he is. says:

    Wrong.

  15. avatar Bob Wyman says:

    The people who still cling to conspiracy amount to 75% of the public to this day. This is the same public conspiracy buffs refer to on the whole as “sheeple”. They show derision for those who may agree with them!
    The “buffs” all have a different take on what they think really happened that weekend and carefully choose statements and comments taken out of context as their guide. They have a list over 200 different names that were the “actual” shooters and hardly any group or agency is left out of their list of plotters. Their opinions based on something someone said about anything a and are twisted to resemble what they hope can be inferred by the “sheeple” as some plot which in the final analysis holds no water and most important of all they provide nothing more than an biased opinion. No evidence of any sort that is tangible or remotely usable. Every provable thing is a “lie” to them. They deride The Warren Commission’s voluminous report as being constructed only to be backup to the pre-planned outcome. What the Commission they allege is covering up would be a conspiracy so huge it defies logic and sanity, yet the theorists glean their very own talking points, “proof” and “plots” sourced from that very same report they claim is the “evidence” of cover-up. The Commission interviewed hundreds and left no one out. A few changed their eyewitness testimony years later usually coinciding with a book tour in an effort to cash in, a by-product of the conspiracy crowd and their lust for the truth as long as the truth fits their own narrative. They do not like you to believe the government but they insist the FBI is factual in the poor quality of the rifle and nobody can hit anything with it, including the FBI that said so first.
    That a conspiracy they allege would have had to involve 100s of actors all doing what they were assigned to do with timed precision and then to stay completely silent about it until after they died is without question an impossibility in real life. (Oliver Stone should have been able to film his fictional account in the same real time as the actual event but he couldn’t even considering his film had re-takes and did not contain facts).
    If these buffs applied to police departments to become officers and investigators not a one would even get through the academy if they even got that far. Dallas Police did a stellar job and the public or disbelievers do them a disservice. Those who imply DPD of conspiring or incompetence are the lowest form of life not to mention are delusional about their own mental capacity. And I am not a fan of police in general. It is common for the intelligence challenged to believe they are deep thinkers and capable of solving a crime-if we just give them a half century or more to investigate and maybe they will get a clue. Maybe they will take down their monuments to Lee Harvey Oswald as a great American and martyr. Or not…

    As an aside, the photographer was in the press car in the motorcade on Friday. After the second shot he looked up and saw two men (employees at TSBD) looking up from their fifth floor window reacting to the shots from above when the third shot was fired. That was when he saw the rifle being withdrawn from the 6th floor window. He had two cameras and was quite upset at not being able to get a photo. He was not the only one to see the rifle and a few others saw someone in that window just prior to the motorcade’s appearance. That rifle was tested and proven as being the rifle that fired the bullets recovered to the exclusion of all other rifles. (No other bullets were ever found but you are free to look). The rifle was proven to be the one Oswald ordered from an NRA publication’s paid advertisement on page 65 of American Rifleman Feb 1963 by Klein’s Sporting Good Chicago Illinois. (Buffs will say “a ha! Chicago! Mobsters! Proof positive Oswald worked for the CIA!”) Included in Klein’s deal was 108 rounds of ammo. When questioned that day Oswald denied ever even owning a rifle or a pistol, especially the pistol that he used to kill DPD Officer J.D. Tippet 45 minutes after shooting Kennedy. There was an eyewitness to that shooting and numerous witnesses placing him within yards of the killing from which he fled just as he did his workplace. He denied being there as well. He was the only employee to leave his work early that day. All of which points to his guilt. He also tried to shoot another officer when he was tackled by them when he was arrested at the movie theater. He pulled the trigger but the officer had gotten his hand over the back of the cylinder of the cocked pistol and the firing pin dropped on his hand between the thumb and first finger puncturing the skin. Oswald was hardly a skilled or intelligent intelligence operative. Ruby being sent to “silence” Oswald was only two days late and was at Western Union sending money to an employee minutes before he shot Oswald. Ruby was in possession of the time stamped Western Union receipt as proof. He would have been the most casual of all hit men to cut the timing so close as to even stop to run an errand yet being so late as well. How did he get into the lower parking garage of police headquarters? Well, make something up or research it. By the way, Oswald was being transferred to county jail from police department’s holding cell not to prison as 16V quotes he claims Dennis Miller, who is not a historian but a comedian. Convictions are what sends people to a prison.
    Incompetent government everyone states in one breath and next government is orchestrating the conspiracy of all conspiracies with the timing down to milliseconds and vows of secrecy unlike any ever taken in the history of history of all histories. That should be such a prideful act that who could keep quiet about it?! Nobody.

    1. avatar Ed Schrade says:

      Thanks for clearing that up Mr. Warren. Please help us with the ” magic bullet ” that defies ballistics and the laws of physics.

  16. avatar Blue says:

    The actual conspiracy was the cover up of the FBI and CIA intelligence errors leading up to the motorcade. Both agencies knew about Oswalds communist activism and activities around Dallas weeks and even months in advance and did nothing to account for him and failed to inform the S.S. That can be gleaned from the recent declassified documents that FBI etc. were whining about getting released.

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