Fifty years after President Kennedy’s shocking assassination, Detective Jim Leavelle has been honored by Dallas Police Chief David Brown by receiving the police commendation award for his years of service on Dallas' police force.
Leavelle was the first man to interrogate Lee Harvey Oswald after his arrest in the Texas theater in Oak Cliff and was handcuffed to Oswald as they exited Dallas police headquarters that fateful evening, when nightclub owner Jack Ruby shot the assassin at point blank range in November 1963.
Leavelle was given the police commendation award on Tuesday while the Detective of the Year Award was also named after him. Leavelle, who joined the Dallas force in 1950 and retired in 1975, was humble while receiving the honor, saying: “To say I’m surprised is putting it mildly. I can think of so many other officers who should be standing here, receiving this award.”
Leavelle, who admitted that retelling his story can “occasionally” get “a little monotonous” believes that it is still an important story to tell from his first-person perspective and recalls how, as they prepared to leave the station, he told Oswald, “Lee, I hope that if anybody shoots at you, they are as good a shot as you were.” He later tried to save Oswald as he was shot by Ruby.
Recalling the incident, Leavelle relates how he saw Ruby with the pistol but that no one appeared to notice what was about to happen, reveals the Daily Mail.
“I tried to jerk back on him and put him behind me,” he said of Oswald.
“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.”
Oswald was then rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital where he later died of his injuries.
Chief David Brown, who presented Leavelle with the award, praised the detective highly: ”Being the chief and being able to recognize such an iconic figure is just special,” said Brown who was three-years-old at the time of the president's death.
“This is an honor for me personally, being a Dallasite, knowing the rich history of Dallas,” the Daily Mail reports.