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The man who shot John F. Kennedy's assassin

After all: A hearing of evidence was almost superfluous.

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The man who shot John F. Kennedy's assassin

After all: A hearing of evidence was almost superfluous. Because the perpetrator had not only confessed. He had also committed it in front of dozens of eyewitnesses on the spot and in front of several running television cameras. So all the viewers of the NBC TV network watched. Before November 24, 1963, there was probably no murder that was watched live by more people.

The United States was still in shock this Sunday. It was just 46 hours and 50 minutes ago that President John F. Kennedy was shot on Elm Street on the outskirts of downtown Dallas. After all: That same afternoon, the authorities were able to arrest the alleged shooter, a certain Lee Harvey Oswald. But when the accused was escorted to the car in the underground car park of the police headquarters that was supposed to take him to the district jail, there was another bang at exactly 11:21 a.m.

Without one of the numerous city police officers and FBI agents being able to prevent it, a stocky man in a dark suit and beige hat jumped out of the crowd of onlookers towards Oswald. In his hand he held a Colt Cobra in caliber .38 special, with which he aimed at the body of his opponent - and pulled the trigger. The round, about nine millimeters in diameter, entered Oswald's left anterior body, rupturing his spleen, injuring his stomach, aorta, one kidney, diaphragm and the eleventh rib before it lodged on his right side.

Oswald cried out in pain and clutched his waist with his bound hands, then slumped to the concrete floor and groaned loudly several times. At the same moment, as the recorded TV broadcast showed, Detective Billy Combest from the Dallas Police Department called out: "Jack, you son of a bitch!" The 31-year-old detective recognized the perpetrator.

Any help came too late for the suspected presidential assassin, who had now become the target of a homicide himself. He was taken to the same hospital as Kennedy. But the doctors at Parkland Memorial Hospital were only able to confirm the death of the inmate, as they had on the previous Friday. But there was – after all, one could say sarcastically – no debate about the person of his killer.

In 1911, Jack Ruby had been born into a poor immigrant family; his Jewish-Orthodox parents both came from Poland. His full name was Jacob Leon Rubenstein, but he officially changed that name in 1947; Dallas authorities accepted his claim to be known as "Jack Ruby."

His childhood in Chicago was characterized by paternal violence and (petty) crime - literally "difficult circumstances". He found early contact with organized crime, which was to shape his life, even though he himself only received a few minor fines until November 24, 1963. During World War II, Ruby served as an airplane mechanic with the US Army Air Forces and then ran his first nightclub in Dallas; two more were added later. Nevertheless, he was not a boss, more of a small player in the prostitution and drug business.

According to assumptions that have never been proven, he belonged to the "Yiddish Connection", a mafia-like gang in Jewish milieus. Ruby skilfully made contacts with the police, some of whose officers were welcome guests in his establishments. In 1959 he briefly provided information to the FBI, but the federal police were dissatisfied with the results and ended the cooperation. It is quite possible that Ruby had tried to protect his own actions here as well.

When Ruby found out about the attack on Kennedy, according to witnesses about 15 minutes after the shooting, he feared that an alleged Jewish conspiracy could be blamed. The background was that a man with a Jewish-sounding name had signed one of the leaflets directed against Kennedy.

On November 24, 1963, Ruby settled a money order. He was out and about with his dachshund "Sheba", whom he liked to call the "woman in my life". Personally, he lived with a man, a certain George Senator, but denied being gay – which at the time was still punishable in the United States. The deposit slip was timestamped at 11:17 am.

Right after that Ruby went over to police headquarters and got into the basement unhindered; the dachshund was sitting in his master's wagon. That Oswald was being shown through the garage at that moment was purely coincidental - he might as well have been taken out five minutes earlier. Then Ruby would not have had an opportunity for what he had done.

Obviously, Ruby spontaneously took the opportunity to kill the suspected Kennedy assassin in vigilantism. On the other hand, TV recordings show that the later murderer had already attended a press conference on the evening of November 22nd, at which the arrested Oswald had also answered a few questions from journalists. According to his own statements, he had his revolver with him.

Ruby was contradictory about the motive for shooting the assassin. Sometimes he said he shot for the sake of Jacqueline Kennedy, the young widow; sometimes he wanted to restore the honor of his adopted home of Dallas. He mourned the assassinated president and claimed to have swallowed stimulants before the crime.

Ruby emphatically denied having acted on anyone's behalf - but of course none of those who saw a conspiracy behind Kennedy's assassination believed him. In her opinion, Ruby should kill the surviving assassin in order to eliminate the accomplice.

After a short, but legal process given the clear situation, he was sentenced to the maximum penalty on March 14, 1964: death in the electric chair. However, the next higher instance overturned the verdict for formal reasons. Ruby, of course, remained in custody until the trial.

However, before the new trial could open as planned in February 1967, Ruby had to be hospitalized on December 9, 1966 with symptoms of severe pneumonia - again at Parkland Memorial, by the way. There, doctors diagnosed the heavy smoker with end-stage lung cancer. On January 3, 1967, Jack Ruby died where the deaths of Kennedy and Oswald had been determined a good three years previously.

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