History

Ruby’s Brother: Jack Didn’t Want to Kill Oswald

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Watch the vintage report from my personal archives here: http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=9360767

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17 replies »

  1. I was in my 6th grade math class. Mr Shea was my math teacher. Very vivid memory of the PA system suddenly coming on, broadcasting the live radio report of Kennedy being shot.

  2. I was just getting on the late bus at South Windsor High School .I was told by my bus driver about the shootings in Dallas.My mom and I were watching our black and white tv when Lee Harvey Oswald was shot.

  3. Was driving a taxi in R.I. when JFK was shot. Watching the Oswald shooting on TV on that Sunday. Got hooked on all that conspiracy stuff for over 50 years, wrote about it in articles, letters and have a short fiction story “The Job” on Kindle. Everybody from that time has their own opinions and conclusions.

  4. I was in the second grade and as I was walking home from school, one of my schoolmates ran out of his house yelling “the President was shot in the head!”. I remember I felt panic as I ran home. My mother and Grandmother were in front of the TV. My mother hugged me so tight I thought I’d thought she was going to crush me. I’ll never forget that day or the events that happened that week.

  5. I was in 4th grade when the Principle announced over the PA system that the father of our country has died. I was watching tv. when Jack Ruby shot Oswald.

  6. I was a Senior in High School and I was in a business class. I think it was shorthand or bookkeeping. My next period was study hall and that is when the announcement was made that the president had died and school was being dismissed.

  7. I was in high school on that day in history and I was in the Principals office printing out an English Test on the old fashioned print machines that printed all test is blue ink. I returned to class and told the teacher that the President had been asasinated and she sat at her desk and cried. It was a sad time in our history, Just two days later, I was watching TV as Lee Harvey Oswald was asasinated live on TV., That was a shocker for everyone, myself included. Since then, I have come to the conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald (DID NOT) shoot the President or J.D. Tibbits that day. This was master minded by big business and President Johnson because they had so much to lose on the new war that was coming along in Vietnam. When the President of South Vietnam was assassinated, Kennedy had the mindset to pull out of there and end involvement in the war. So, with President Johnson and big business about to lose billions on a war that would never be, they had President kennedy eliminated and that would give President Johnson the reigns to go full bore in Vietnam and they could all make Millions of the war at the cost of young American veterans lives. They placed no value on the life of the American Veteran at that time. I was one of those Veterans of Vietnam who was just very lucky to make it back alive The Warren Report, when oit is released in 2025 will confirm all this..

    • Many theories out there Jeffery but as far as I’m concerned Oliver Stone’s movie “JFK” is damn near close to nailing it. Might want to pick up a copy of the book, “Six Seconds In Dallas” published many years ago but also pretty much on track with regard to those events.

  8. On that day in history, Vice President Johnson was in the same motorcade and there was not one single shot fired near him at all because he was the mastermind of this whole thing. How could Lee Harvey Oswald know ahead of time that the motorcade was going to go where it did, he couldn’t have. He qualified as an Expert in Marine Bot Camp and just because he di, does not make him an assassin. I qualified as an Expert in basic Training and it didn’t make me become an assassin. The photo of Lee Harvey Oswald holding his rifle is photo cropped from the crease in his chin up and the only part of the picture that is Lee Harvey Oswald is his upper facial features.Also, being a Communist sympathizer does not make him an assassin either. There were lots of people like that back in those days and they chose him because he was in the lime light in his own right. perfect scapegoat.

  9. I was a junior in Thomaston High School in geometry class. it was announced over the pa system ” President John F Kennedy was shot”. School is dismissed.

  10. I was five years old…People in school were upset..( Just as they were when we had to go in the school basement when they thought they were going to release the nuclear bomb) I remember watching it on our black and white TV…I wasn’t suppose to watch or listen…lots of people were upset and then worried. When they killed Oswald my father said…he must have known something. He also said JFK was killed because he pushed and learned something he wasn’t suppose to know and they killed him too.

  11. I was feeding my 14 month old daughter when Walter Cronkite came on the air and announced that President Kennedy has died. I remember him removing his glasses to wipe his eyes.I was watching TV when Jack Ruby killed Lee Harvey Oswald, It seemed very much like a crime show.

  12. I was on the second tier of a riser rehearsing with my high school chorus for a concert. The principal came into the auditorium/gym to give us the news that the President of the United States had been shot and that school was being dismissed early. It wasn’t until we got back to our homerooms that we found out that the President had died. I remember being in utter shock. For the first time in my life I felt truly vulnerable. Then of course, all that was on TV was coverage of the Kennedy assassination, most of it live. I remember watching as Oswald was being quickly ushered through a crowded court hallway in Dallas; and I vividly remember Jack Ruby stepping out and shooting him. The whole thing was so surreal and so sad.

  13. The motor rout was publish in a Dallas news paper 5 days before Kennedys assentation. Oswald worked at the school book depository two mouths or more before the assentation. Lee Harvey Oswald was a sad person. His family life was a mess.

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