The Stetson-wearing Dallas police detective handcuffed to JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald when he was shot by Jack Ruby died Thursday.
James R. Leavelle, 99, died on a family trip to Colorado, Dallas media reported.
Two days after Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy — on Nov. 24, 1963 — Leavelle was escorting Oswald through the basement of Dallas police headquarters when Jack Ruby ran up and shot Oswald in the stomach.
The moment the bullet struck Oswald was captured in a famous photo by Dallas Times Herald photographer Bob Jackson that won a Pulitzer Prize.
Moments before the attack, Leavelle had unknowingly foreshadowed what was about to happen.
“I said, ‘Lee, if anybody shoots at you, I hope they’re as good a shot as you are’ — I meant that they would hit him and not me,” Leavelle told the Daily News in a 2013 interview. “And he said, ‘Nobody’s gonna shoot at me.’ Famous last words.’”
Ruby was sentenced to death for murdering Oswald, who shot Kennedy and Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippit. He died in prison before his appeal was decided.
Leavelle was a World War II veteran who had survived Pearl Harbor. He joined the Dallas police force in 1950, and retired in April 1975.
In 2013, Leavelle received the Police Commendation Award from Dallas Police Chief David Brown. The department’s Detective of the Year Award was renamed in his honor.
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