Jim Leavelle, the retired Dallas police detective who was handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald when he was shot following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, was recognized for his service during an awards ceremony on Tuesday.
At the event, Dallas Police Chief David Brown named the detective of the year award in Leavelle's honor for his service to the city's police department which stretched over several decades, the Associated Press reported.
The 92-year-old Leavelle joined the Dallas police force in April 1950 and was one of the lead detectives assigned to investigate Kennedy's assassination.
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In the iconic, Pulitzer Prize winning photo of Oswald being shot by local nightclub operator Jack Ruby, Leavelle is wearing his tall white cowboy hat and escorting the 24-year-old assassin through the basement of the Dallas police headquarters.
Following the award's ceremony, Leavelle said that when he saw an armed Jack Ruby approach, he tried unsuccessfully to jerk Oswald behind him to shield him from harm, the AP reported.
"You don't stop and think," Leavelle said. "You have to react."
While accepting the honor, Leavelle told reporters that he was thinking of other deserving officers, particularly Officer J.D. Tippit, who was killed by Oswald hours after the Kennedy assassination according to the Warren Commission.
In a 2011 interview at his home in Garland, Texas, Leavelle recounted his final moments with Oswald moments before the assassin's death.
"I told him if anybody shot at him, I hope they were as good a shot as he is, meaning of course they'd hit him and not me," Leavelle said.
When asked how Oswald responded, Leavelle said: "He said, 'oh nobody's going to shoot at me.' Famous last words, cause it wasn't just a few minutes until somebody did shoot him."
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According to Leavelle, Oswald never uttered another word until he was pronounced dead later that afternoon.
Oswald, according to multiple government investigations, was the sole sniper responsible for killing the 35th President of the United States. The charge has been disputed by many in the years after the assassination, with a 2003 Gallup poll finding that 75 percent of Americans do not believe that Oswald acted alone.
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