We appear to have the following state of play as of the late afternoon/early evening of the assassination:
-Lee Oswald in custody claiming to have been at the front entrance on the first floor during the assassination and to have had a fleeting encounter with a police officer and Mr. Truly as they rushed into the building
-Detective Ed Hicks telling the press about an incident involving Oswald and a cop at the front entrance of the building shortly after the shooting
-Marrion L. Baker on the record as having encountered a man walking away from the rear stairway several floors up the building.
So far, not a single reference anywhere--in a single news media report--to a second-floor lunchroom incident.
But it gets even worse for the second-floor lunchroom story.
For we now need to add into the mix two startling newspaper reports written on the evening of the assassination.
Both refer to an Oswald sighting on--you've guessed it--the first floor.
#1: From the Dallas Morning News, written by Kent Biffle 11/22, published 11/23:
The dissonant element here (dissonant, that is, to my theory) is not "first floor", not "the officer, gun drawn", not the question as to Oswald's being an employee. No, the dissonant element is "storage room". How--on my theory--would the Baker-Oswald encounter have happened in a first-floor storage room? Isn't it supposed to have taken place in the front lobby?
There were in fact two designated "storage rooms" on the TSBD first floor--one beside the domino room near the rear of the building and one just off the front lobby. Obviously the latter is going to arouse our interest in the current context. But the close proximity of the "storage room" to the lobby area doesn't quite explain how it could have become confused in the reporter's mind with "front lobby/vestibule".
In order to grapple with this conundrum, we must move on to the other newspaper report.
#2: From the New York Herald Tribune, written 11/22, published 11/23:
Mr. [Ochus V.] Campbell [vice-president of the TSBD] said, "Shortly after the shooting we raced back into the building. We had been outside watching the parade. We saw him (Oswald) in a small storage room on the ground floor. Then we noticed he was gone.” Mr Campbell added: "Of course he and the others were on their lunch hour but he did not have permission to leave the building and we haven't seen him since."
There it is again: storage room.
Only this time with three differences:
a ) This is a "small storage room"
b ) We are being given a direct quote from Ochus Campbell, the man we've just seen feature so prominently in the Biffle report
c ) The talk is of "we" having simply seen Oswald--no mention of an officer being involved.
What in the Sam Hill is going on here?
How about we do the unthinkable and take at face value what the NY Herald Tribune is telling us, i.e. that Ochus Campbell recalled his and at least other person's having seen Oswald in a small storage room on the first floor?
Campbell had been outside watching the motorcade with two other people: Roy Truly and Jeraldean Reid.
We know that Truly separated from them immediately after the shots and ran into the building after Marrion Baker.
So that leaves Campbell + Jeraldean Reid.
Put the case:
Oswald/Prayer Man, at some point after the shooting, nipped in to the small storage room just off the front lobby.
Ochus Campbell reentered the building around this time accompanied by at least one other person--Jeraldean Reid.
They made their way to the front-of-house stairs in order to go up to the second floor office area.
In order to do so they had to pass the small storage room beside the stairway.
The door was open and they--or one of them--noticed and recognised Lee Oswald in there.
Thinking nothing of it, they proceeded on up to the second floor office area.
I'll let Geneva Hine tell us what happened next:
Mr. BALL. When you came back in did you see Mrs. Reid?
Miss HINE. No, sir; I don't believe there was a soul in the office when I came back in right then.
Mr. BALL. Did you see anybody else go in through there?
Miss HINE. No, sir; after I answered the telephone then there was about four or five people that came in.
Mr. BALL. Do you have any definite recollection of Mrs. Reid coming in?
Miss HINE. No, sir; I only saw four or five people that came by and they all came and were all talking about how terrible it was.
Mr. BALL. Do you remember their names?
Miss HINE. Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL. Who were they?
Miss HINE. Mr. Williams, Mr. Molina (spelling), Miss Martha Reid, Mrs. Reid, Mrs. Sarah Stanton, and Mr. Campbell; that's all I recall, sir.
Mrs. Reid... and Mr. Campbell.
Now let's re-read that direct quote from Ochus Campbell in the NY Herald Tribune:
Shortly after the shooting we [= I and the person with me] raced back into the building. We [=I and the person with me] had been outside watching the parade. We [I and the person with me] saw him (Oswald) in a small storage room on the ground floor.
Mrs. Reid would accompany Roy Truly to DPD HQ the following day and give a statement to the effect that she had seen Oswald--not loitering in a first-floor storage room--but entering the second-floor office area.
Was she pressurised by her two bosses--Ochus and Roy--to do so? I believe we have serious grounds for believing that the poor lady was.
Now if only that pesky Geneva Hine hadn't been upstairs the whole time to ruin the marvelously efficient box-ticking story foisted upon her colleague.
I'm a bit confused here, Sean, with Mr. Campbell's stories. Did he "race" back into the building following the shots or did he "run" towards the grassy knoll?