Jack Ruby's Deathbed Interview



Jack Ruby's deathbed interview, conducted by his attorney, Elmer Gertz, and his brother, Earl Ruby, at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas, Texas. (Listen to a slightly condensed audio file of the interview.)

From Elmer Gertz, Moment of Madness: The People vs. Jack Ruby (Chicago: Follett, 1968), pp. 485-92:


BACKGROUND NOISE--YIDDISH--Talk into the . . . here the device mechanical is in here, talk into the case.

A. When I went into the Western Union to try to send the money, and naturally the clerk took my money, and uh, and uh, turned away after he took the money, I turned away and walked out. I walked down the street, just natural strides, and as I . . .

Q. Main Street?

A. No -- Yes, Main Street, going west to Main Street, the south side of Main Street, as I walked toward the ramp, I noticed the police squad car at the head of the ramp and an officer leaning over talking to him with his back to me. All I did was walk down there, down to the bottom of the ramp and that's when the incident happened, at the bottom of the ramp -- according to the Western Union records -- the time stamped on the Western Union records -- it's 11:17 the time the incident taking place 11:21, it was 11:21.

Q. Did you walk slowly?

A. I walked my natural pace.

Q. You did not rush?

A. No.

Q. Did you recognize anybody when you reached the bottom of the ramp?

A. No. I recognized the police officer in the car -- that was in the car -- it was Lt. Sam Pierce, and this other man was just talking to him, and why Sam Pierce had not seen me, I don't know.

Q. Did you try to avoid him or anything?

A. No, I didn't.

Q. When did you finally realize that something had happened, Jack, when did you finally know?

A. Well, it happened in such a blur -- well it happened in such a blur, that before I knew it, I was down on the ground -- the officers had me on the ground.

Q. Had you realized you had done anything?

A. Well, really it happened so fast, and anything else I cannot recall what happened from the time I came to the bottom of the ramp until the police officers had me on the ground.

Q. Have no recollection?

A. No. But, I knew they were holding my hand and grabbing for the gun.

Q. Had you ever known Oswald, Jack?

A. No.

Q. Ever know Oswald before?

A. Never had known him or seen him before.

Q. You never met him?

A. Never have, my clubs were all money that either I borrowed for the family or self-accumulated. I was not obligated to any other source, never had I attempted to ask anybody for anything, so I owe the government a little money at the time, but we were working out a deal on a compromise, those things over a period of years you pay off.

Q. Had you ever planned anything like this?

A. Had I ever what?

Q. Did you ever plan this. Did you ever think you were going to do this?

A. I don't know how to answer that. I was so emotionally upset for three days. At one time I had to have some money and I borrowed some money from Ralph Paul, and I gave him some stock in the Club to show good faith, that sort of collateral, for it.

Q. You did not try to sneak in the place, did you?

A. No, I didn't.

Q. Was there anybody at Western Union ahead of you?

A. Yes, one customer, one customer.

Q. Did you try to hurry up the people at Western Union?

A. No, I didn't.

Q. Were there other people at Western Union while you were there, Jack?

A. No, I didn't recall, I noticed only this one customer.

Q. Did you think that Oswald was already taken over by the Sheriff by the time you went to Western Union?

A. Uh, I don't know how to answer that, I don't know one way or the other.

Q. Do you remember when you drove by Dealy [sic] Plaza and saw those wreaths what you thought at that time?

A. What I saw?

Q. Yeah, what you thought?

A. The same thing I had gone through for the other two days, the letdown and remorse.

Q. Were you planning after Kennedy was shot to leave Dallas for a few days, Jack?

A. Yes, it came to my mind momentarily when I called my sister in Chicago, I said "Eileen, now I ought to come home for a few days," so the first thing she said was "who is going to look after Eve?", meaning my sister Eve just got out of the hospital, so she felt that she was convalescing somebody should be with her.

Q. Otherwise you would have gone home?

A. Well, there was a chance that I could of [sic] if Eileen would have talked me into it, you know.

Q. Is there any truth at all to the stories that Oswald had been in your club?

A. None whatsoever, it's just a fabrication -- in one particular incident that has never been enlightened to the public, I believe, is that a friend of mine, Mr. McWillie who invited me down to Havana, Cuba. I didn't come down, but he finally sent me plane tickets to come down as a good friendly gesture. So I accepted the invitation. I stayed with him for eight days, and then I left, and I had lived constantly with him the eight days, but then right after he called me from Havana, Cuba and said "Jack, I want you to call Ray Brantley at Ray's Hardware store in Singleton Avenue and tell him to send me four Cobras" -- a Cobra is a little revolver. So, I did call him and gave him the address. When I called him he answered and said, "Oh, I know Mr. McWillie very well" so that left it out of my hands. All I had to do was relay the message, but that is the only extent I ever had of any association with anything [sic] business dealings outside of the United States and that was only a message to relay.

Q. Normally you carried a gun with you didn't you, Jack?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. This was nothing unusual you had with you that day?

A. No. I always carried a gun because of various altercations I had in my Club then I carried pretty large sums of money at times.

Q. You had your dog with you, Sheba?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. Will you tell about Sheba, Jack?

A. Well, I was very fond of Sheba. She brought me a very large litter and I raised the litter myself in my apartment, and I distributed the dogs to certain friends, but I kept Sheba and another dog called Clipper. Sheba was wherever I were [sic] go, leave the house, she jumped the door ready to go with me.

Q. She was with you that day?

A. Yes, I left her in the car. The ironic part of this is had not I made an illegal turn behind the bus to the parking lot, had I gone the way I was supposed to go straight down Main Street, I would have never met this fate because the difference in meeting this fate was 30 seconds one way or the other.

Q. When you were down there you didn't try to hide or conceal?

A. No, I didn't because if you checked the walking distance from the Western Union to the bottom of the ramp, you know it would have to be synchronized so perfect to the second, and to plan something you had in your mind premeditatedly. In that sense I didn't even allow myself one second of interval time. I presume there was a public phone. I never accepted a call for somebody to let me know what is happening.

Q. Did you know when Oswald was going to be moved, Jack?

A. I'll be honest with you, no.

Q. You had no idea?

A. Later on I found out he was supposed to be moved at 10:00.

Q. You were never told by anybody he was going to be moved?

A. No.

Q. Is there anything else you think I ought to know, Jack? Are you uncomfortable?

A. My rectum, I am bedridden, you know.

Q. You got sores, eh?

A. No, it's not sores -- it's the pain.

Q. Jack, when you left the Western Union office what made you walk toward the jail house?

A. Because when I drove by I saw some people down at the ramp and the curiosity had aroused me because of the flash in my mind seeing the people there because before I went to Western Union as I drove by on Main Street.

Q. Is there anything else you can think of, Jack, anything else when you were walking by or going down there?

A. I don't know what to think -- happened.

Q. Well, you are doing very well -- just think a minute. Do you remember anything when you reached the bottom of the ramp?

A. Yeah, I did, like I said, a flash came to me from the point at the bottom of the ramp at the time that I was grappling with the police officers for the gun. Actually, what had happened I don't know at that time.



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