Man who helped apprehend Lee Harvey Oswald honored

DALLAS Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:06pm EST

Related Topics

DALLAS (Reuters) - Forty-eight years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, police on Tuesday honored a former Dallas shoe store worker who provided a key tip allowing them to apprehend suspect Lee Harvey Oswald.

Johnny Calvin Brewer, now living in Austin, received the Citizens Certificate of Merit for his help to police on the day Kennedy was shot dead while visiting Dallas.

Lt. Scott Walton said police did not deliberately overlook Brewer's role for nearly half a century.

"We didn't know about it until a researcher presented us with the information recently," Walton said. "We did decide to wait until November 22 because it is anniversary of the assassination."

Police said Brewer was working at a shoe store in the area of Dallas known as Oak Cliff and listening to news of the assassination on the radio. A manhunt for the unidentified assassin was underway when Brewer noticed that a suspicious man had stepped into the store's foyer.

Moments before the man arrived, Brewer had heard on the radio that Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippit had been shot and killed near the shoe store.

The suspicious man walked away from the store toward the nearby Texas Theater. Brewer followed him into the theater and asked the clerk to alert police. Brewer stayed at the theater until police arrived and then pointed out the man to officers.

Oswald was arrested and taken into custody. He was shot and killed two days later, while in police custody, by nightclub owner Jack Ruby.

The Citizens Certificate of Merit recognizes "unselfish devotion to fellow man," Walton said.

"Mr. Johnny Calvin Brewer's actions on November 22, 1963, were heroic," police said in a statement. "At no time did he concern himself with the fact that Lee Harvey Oswald may be armed and possibly involved in the murder of a police officer."

Brewer's "outstanding observation skills and his quick action" were worthy of this award, which is presently rarely and only to very deserving individuals, Walton said.

(Editing by Greg McCune)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (1)
gregparker wrote:
Among the many problems with Mr Brewer’s story is that the arresting officer, Nick McDonald, was reported by the Associated Press that weekend as stating that “a man sitting near the front, and I still don’t know who it was, tipped me the man I wanted was sitting in the third row from the rear on the ground floor and not in the balcony…” This most certainly doesn’t sound like Mr Brewer. Moreover, McDonald would go on to give yet another version to the Warren Commission. He told the commission that Mr Brewer never pointed “the man” out personally [to him] but to another officer at the right of the stage. The man sitting near the front whom McDonald originally claimed pointed Oswald out, has now completely disappeared from he narrative and Mr Brewer is not even giving him the details in this account, but is giving them to another [unnamed] officer. The Devil, as they say, is in the detail — and there is enough devil in the arrest of Oswald to keep Pat Robertson active for the next 100 years.

Nov 24, 2011 6:21am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.