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Reporter saw Oswald's killing

September 03, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Ike Pappas, 75, a longtime CBS newsman who reported the shooting death of suspected presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald on the radio as the crime was taking place, died Sunday of complications from heart disease in a hospital in Arlington, Va.

Pappas was among the reporters at the Dallas police station waiting for Oswald to be moved two days after President Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963.

Pappas had just asked him, "You have anything to say in your defense?" when the shot fired by nightclub owner Jack Ruby rang out. Pappas was standing next to Ruby when the gunman opened fire.

"Oswald has been shot!" Pappas said on air, adding, "Mass confusion here, all the doors have been locked. Holy mackerel!"

A native of Flushing, N.Y., Pappas graduated from Long Island University and served in the Army before starting his on-air career in the late 1950s as a reporter for WNEW radio in New York City.

He joined CBS as a correspondent in 1965 and covered several major stories on radio and television, including the Vietnam War from the front lines, the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the shootings of four Kent State students by Ohio National Guardsmen in 1970.

He was laid off by the network with 200 other employees in 1987. After leaving the network, he started his own production company.

He also appeared as himself in the films "Moon Over Parador" (1988) and "The Package" (1989).

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