Nick McDonald, 76, the Dallas police officer who arrested Lee Harvey Oswald at a movie theater after President Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, died yesterday in Hot Springs, Ark., from diabetes complications.
Mr. McDonald arrived at Dallas' Dealey Plaza moments after the shooting. About 90 minutes later, he searched the Texas Theater and helped make the historic arrest, grappling with the man who had killed the president.
"He made a fist and bam, hit me right between the eyes," Mr. McDonald recalled years afterward. "Knocked my hat off. I came back and hit him."
At the time, police were also looking for the man who had shot to death Officer J.D. Tippit on a Dallas street. It wasn't until later in the day that McDonald realized whom he had captured.
In a memoir, The Arrest and Capture of Lee Harvey Oswald, Mr. McDonald recalled going to the rear of the theater after police received a tip that a suspicious man had entered without paying.
"As I peeked through the heavy curtains out into the audience, [fellow officer Johnny Brewer] at my shoulder, pointed out the suspect," McDonald wrote.
As the two officers confronted Oswald, the suspect said, "Well, it's all over now."
As police attempted to search and handcuff him, Oswald pulled a pistol and tried to fire, but Mr. McDonald said he grabbed the weapon and moved to block the trigger with his hand.
A Navy veteran of the Korean War, Mr. McDonald served 25 years with the Dallas Police Department, retiring as a sergeant.