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JFK-Era Dallas Detective Honored

May 17, 2013  | 

Photo courtesy of Dallas PD.
Photo courtesy of Dallas PD.
The Dallas Police Department honored retired Det. Jim Leavelle this week for his role in the investigation of the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963.

As one of the lead detectives investigating the Kennedy assassination and the murder of Officer J.D. Tippit on Nov. 22, Leavelle appeared in an iconic photograph of the assassination of suspect Lee Harvey Oswald. Leavelle, wearing a white suit and cowboy hat, was handcuffed to Oswald when Jack Ruby fatally shot Oswald.

Leavelle, who retired in 1975, was honored Tuesday during a ceremony at the Dallas PD's media conference room. The agency's annual Detective of the Year award will now be named in his honor, according to the agency.

At the time, Leavelle was given the assignment to transport Oswald following a press conference at police headquarters announcing his arrest as Kennedy's suspected killer. Leavelle began escorting Oswald to the county jail by taking him to the basement parking area of police headquarters.

Leavelle said that when he saw an armed Ruby approach, he tried unsuccessfully to jerk Oswald behind him to shield him from harm. "You don't stop and think," Leavelle said Tuesday. "You have to react."

Leavelle continues to serve as an agency ambassador and has conducted numerous interviews, events, and speaking engagements related to the investigation of the assassination.

Comments (2)

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2

Steve @ 5/22/2013 6:08 AM

Congratulations Officer Leavelle! A well deserved award! I was just ten at the time, and never dreamed that I myself would wind up in law enforcement, but remember well all of the media coverage of the event. At that time there were only three major TV stations and all were non-stop coverage of the assassination. It seemed to go on forever. Made that ten year old kinda mad after a while that it was causing him to miss his regular TV programs! I'm glad now though that I was able to see all of what went on in that incident and investigation.

Clare @ 2/21/2016 11:49 PM

B.S. We can know that Ruby was allowed, because it allowed the polarizing president to, for some years, be widely believed to be shot by a "lone nut", and this police officer, no matter his other accomplishments, in this case was on the side of evil. He wore a bone color suit which has been shown easily was not his only suit, though he's claimed it was ... and he wore it that day to make it easier to see him and not to shoot him. Ruby's hideout in the garage was all known within a few years. Don't be ahistorical. We can forgive but not forget or refuse to understand. RIP Lee Oswald and Jack Kennedy and a host of others, including Jack Ruby himself as the only one who tried early on to tell.

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