HOT SPRINGS, Ark. -- Maurice McDonald, a former Dallas policeman who arrested Lee Harvey Oswald at a Dallas movie theater after President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, died yesterday of complications of diabetes. He was 76.
Mr. McDonald, who preferred his nickname, Nick, arrived at Dealey Plaza moments after Kennedy was shot on Nov. 22, 1963. In a memoir, ''The Arrest and Capture of Lee Harvey Oswald," Mr. McDonald recalled going to the rear of the Texas 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," Mr. McDonald wrote.
As the two officers confronted Oswald, the assassin said, ''Well, it's all over now."
As police tried to search and cuff him, Oswald pulled a pistol and tried to fire, but Mr. McDonald grabbed the weapon and moved to block the trigger with his hand.
''I could feel the hammer glide under my hand," Mr. McDonald wrote. ''The returning hammer made a dull, audible snapping sound as the firing pin struck the flesh of my left hand, between the thumb and forefinger.
''Bracing myself, I stood rigid, waiting for the bullet to penetrate my chest."
But the gun didn't fire.
The officer jerked the weapon from Oswald.
''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."
Mr. McDonald fell on Oswald and subdued him. It wasn't until later in the day that Mr. McDonald realized whom he had captured.
A veteran of US Navy who served during the Korean War, Mr. McDonald served 25 years with the Dallas Police Department, retiring as a sergeant and moving to Hot Springs in 1980.