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Richard Sims dies

Steve Thomas

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I got this from a former Dallas policeman:

Richard Milton Sims, Dallas police detective who guarded Lee Harvey Oswald, dies


Richard Sims

Photo: File 2007 / Staff Photo

After police captured Lee Harvey Oswald, Richard Milton Sims and his partner were assigned to guard the accused presidential assassin.

Mr. Sims, a Dallas police officer and detective for 28 years, died Thursday of congestive heart failure at his Dallas home. He was 87.

A funeral service is set for 2 p.m. Monday at Grove Hill Chapel, where Dallas officers will serve as the honor guard.

“He was a great family man,” said Mr. Sims’ son, Richard Sims Jr. “He was very loyal to his friends and family.”

The Dallas native graduated from Wilmer-Hutchins High School in 1942 and served in the Navy during World War II.

He was assigned to the USS Tulsa, a patrol gunboat deployed in the Pacific Ocean during the war. In an ironic twist, his son said, the boat once towed the PT-109, a vessel later commanded by Lt. John F. Kennedy.

Mr. Sims returned to Dallas after the war and joined the Dallas Police Department as a patrol officer.

“He was only in uniform for six weeks before he went into plain clothes to work with the vice squad,” his son said.

Mr. Sims, who earned a degree in criminal justice from Sam Houston State University, later became a detective in the robbery and homicide units.

On Nov. 22, 1963, he and his longtime partner, Elmer “Sonny” Boyd, were assigned to guard Oswald, who had just been captured for shooting President Kennedy and Dallas police Officer J.D. Tippit.

The two detectives are thought to have spent more time than anyone else with Oswald during the following two days.

“He didn’t give us any trouble at all,” Mr. Sims said in a 2007 interview with The Dallas Morning News. “He went along like a little puppy dog when Boyd and I had him.”

On the night of the assassination, Mr. Sims took a telephone call from a man he knew from his days on the vice squad: Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby.

“He offered to bring some sandwiches and drinks over to the department,” Richard Sims Jr. said.

His father declined the offer but later wondered if Ruby was trying to get into police headquarters that night to kill Oswald.

Despite the many conspiracy theories, Mr. Sims “was convinced … [Oswald] was the lone shooter,” his son said.

Mr. Sims’ role in the historic event made him a celebrity of sorts. Over the years, people from around the world sent letters asking him to autograph photographs and newspaper clippings about the assassination, his family said. He always tried to accommodate the requests that included postage-paid return envelopes.

But he wasn’t able to sign them all before his death. “There are still some on the table,” his son said.

Steve Thomas

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