This fall marks fifty years since one of the most traumatic events in American history; the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Less than 48 hours after the president was murdered, while the nation was still in shock, disbelief and grief, came another jolt: the president’s suspected assassin was gunned down.
Millions of Americans watched on live television as Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby used a black gun to fire a single shot at Lee Harvey Oswald inside Dallas police headquarters. Oswald later died at Parkland Hospital, where the President died two days earlier.
Ruby’s motives are debated to this day. Conspiracy theorists still argue Ruby killed Oswald to keep him from talking. I was fortunate to once have the chance to get some answers from the man who told the Warren Commission everything about Jack Ruby: his brother.
In 1991, I was working at WWMT-TV Channel 3, the CBS affiliate for Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, Michigan, where I was assigned to interview Earl Ruby, the owner of a dry cleaning business in Detroit. Ruby, five years younger than his infamous sibling, was involved in a battle with the government to get a hold of the pistol used to shoot Oswald. The IRS and a defense attorney from Dallas were after Ruby for money, because his brother left behind sizeable back taxes and legal bills. Earl Ruby wanted the gun so he could sell it, and pay off his brother’s debts, some 28 years after Oswald was killed, and 24 years after Jack Ruby died.
This past Sunday in our Face the State Flashback, we showed you that report, titled “Jack’s Gun.” The link is below. You’ll see Earl Ruby talk about his brother, the phone call he received from Jack on November 24, 1963, and the reason his brother gave for shooting Oswald. Remarkably, Earl told me his brother never wanted Oswald to die. Earl also talked about the gun and showed me the suit and hat his brother was wearing when he committed murder.
Watch the vintage report from my personal archives here: http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=9360767