French war reporter who witnessed Lee Harvey Oswald shooting dies aged 94

Paris (AFP) –


A veteran French war reporter who was a witness in Dallas to the fatal shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald has died at the age of 94, his family said Sunday

In 1963, Francois Pelou, who also covered the wars in both Korea and Vietnam for Agence France-Presse (AFP), was the first French journalist sent to Dallas the day after the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Two days later, he was a close eyewitness to Oswald's shooting in the basement of the Dallas police headquarters by nightclub owner Jack Ruby.

He was immediately interviewed by other reporters and covered Ruby's trial the following year.

"Francois died on Saturday at his home in Conques-en-Rouergue," his wife Caroline told AFP by phone from the south of France.

In Vietnam, Pelou met and got involved with one of Italy's most famous female journalists Oriana Fallaci, with the relationship lasting for many years.

"Oriana Fallaci arrived in my bureau in 1967. We covered many events together, she would become very important in my life," he told Toulouse's La Depeche daily in 2016.

During his career, Pelou also covered Mexico and Brazil, where he was jailed for having revealed the details of a ransom deal under which dozens of political prisoners were freed to secure the release of a kidnapped ambassador.

Posted to Madrid in 1975, he covered the death of dictator Francisco Franco who had ruled Spain with an iron fist from the end of the country's civil war.

While in Vietnam, he got shrapnel in one of his legs, leaving him with a lifelong limp.