A MOMENT IN HISTORY:
Detective James R. Leavelle
Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby
"If somebody wants to shoot me from a window with a rifle, nobody can stop it. So, why worry about it?" - John F. Kennedy to his wife on Nov. 22, 1963 in his Ft. Worth hotel room, just hours before his assassination.
November 22, 1963. President John F. Kennedy travels to Texas, where he is assassinated during a motorcade run through downtown Dallas. In the hours following the assassination, a 24 year old named Lee Harvey Oswald will be picked up and charged with the crime, as well as the murder of Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit. Just two days after his arrest, Oswald himself will be murdered by Dallas club owner Jack Ruby.
In Dallas throughout that whole historical weekend, and escorting Lee Harvey Oswald through the basement when he was shot, was Detective James R. Leavelle. Detective Leavelle was the officer dressed in the white suit with the white hat.
Detective Leavelle questioned Lee Harvey Oswald and knew Jack Ruby.
Now retired, Detective Leavelle recently served as a consultant to Oliver Stone's upcoming film about the J.F.K. assassination, tentatively scheduled to be released in December by Warner Bros.
Detective Leavelle spoke about his unique perspective of that tragic weekend in Dallas 28 years ago.
Q. The picture that was taken of you with Oswald while
Ruby was shooting him has captured an important moment in history. People
will be looking at that picture forever. How does that feel?
A. At first, I didn't think too much about it. It never even crossed my mind. And then, everywhere I'd go, I'd be recognized. People want to talk to me about it, and so forth. And so, it got a little monotonous for a time, there. It got repetitious ‘cause there’s only so much you can say about it. Then I realized this thing was gonna go down in history, and whether I liked it or not, I was gonna be a part of it. So, that’s the reason I took the suit off and didn’t wear it anymore and the hat and tie. I wore my boots. I wore them out. The handcuffs and pistol I still got. I kept all of those.
Q. After Oswald’s death, did you ever work on
a case that received a lot of attention?
A. No. I worked on a lot of murders, but they were just run of the mill murders, but nothing that drew any kind of national attention like that did