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'I never realized his life was that much in danger until I saw that on television.' Local man's uncle handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald during shooting

In November 1963, Jim Leavelle was escorting Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, when he was shot by Jack Ruby. Last week Leavelle died at 99 years old.

TEXAS, USA — During his 99 years of life, Jim Leavelle was sharp as a tack. He could recall stories from his long career as an officer and remembered every detail.

"It's almost like a tape recorder," Lurry Leavelle, Jim's nephew, said.

One of the biggest memories was his time handcuffed to President John F. Kennedy's killer, Lee Harvey Oswald back in 1963. Jim Leavelle was escorting him in Dallas when Jack Ruby came up and shot Oswald. 

"You could see he was trying to fire some more shots and would have probably hit Uncle Jim," Leavelle said. "The other police officer had the cylinder where it wouldn't spin and he couldn't pull the trigger."

Leavelle said he was in his first year of medical school when the shooting happened.

"I never realized that his life was that much in danger until I saw that on television," Leavelle said.

Before the shooting, Leavelle said his uncle had an uneasy feeling and suggested they take another route.

"The captain said, 'Well, I already promised those blankety blank reporters that I would bring him out through the basement," Leavelle said.

Jim Leavelle became well-known from the photo captured during the shooting, but his family remembers much more.

"He was still fun to be around because he would bail you out of whatever thing he got you into," Leavelle said. 

His story and the picture will forever be a historic part of American history, but his family will always remember the man behind the photo.

"Always just delightful and energetic to be around," Leavelle said.

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