The lunchroom encounter that never was
In the tangled web that is the JFK assassination, there are very few things which defenders of the Warren Commission and its critics agree on. However, one thing which most critics agree with Warren Commission defenders on, is that the so-called encounter in the second floor lunchroom of the TSBD occurred. I am referring of course, to the allegation that DPD Officer, Marrion Baker, and TSBD superintendent Roy Truly, encountered Oswald standing in the second floor lunchroom within 1 ½ minutes of the President’s assassination.
On the day of the assassination, Baker was riding as one of the motorcycle Officer’s in the President’s motorcade. Upon hearing the shots, Baker raced his motorcycle towards the entrance of the TSBD. After parking his motorcycle, Baker then ran to the entrance of the TSBD where he encountered Roy Truly, who identified himself to Baker as the building manager. Baker can be seen running towards the TSBD entrance after parking his motorcycle, in the famous video footage by WFAA-TV cameraman, Malcolm Couch. See here.
The official story is that upon reaching the second floor, Baker spotted Oswald through the window of the vestibule door leading into the lunchroom. Baker allegedly approached Oswald, pointing his revolver at him, and asked Truly if Oswald worked in the building, to which Truly responded that he did.
Although many Warren Commission critics have taken for granted that the encounter did occur, there is very good reason to believe that it actually didn’t occur. For example, let’s consider that on the day of the assassination, Baker wrote an affidavit (here) in which he described encountering a man walking away from the stairwell on the 3rd/4th floor of the TSBD. There was absolutely no mention by Baker of encountering a man in the 2nd floor lunchroom! In fact, apart from the height, the description of the man Baker encountered did not match Oswald’s appearance.
However, on the following day, Roy Truly provided an affidavit (here) in which he explained that Baker had “stuck his head into the lunchroom area where there are coke and candy machines” and saw Oswald. Despite Truly’s claim in his affidavit, he was overhead by Dallas Morning news reporter, Kent Biffle, informing Fritz that he had seen Oswald near the storage room on the first floor.
Furthermore, Occhus Campbell, the Vice President of the TSBD, was quoted by the New York Herald Tribune on
23/11/63 as stating: "Shortly after
the shooting we raced back into the building. We saw Oswald in a small
storage room on the ground [first] floor." Partial corroboration
for both Truly’s and ’s
claims was ironically provided by DPD Captain Will Fritz. In his report of
Oswald’s interrogation, Fritz wrote that Oswald told him that he was in the
second floor lunchroom when he was confronted by Baker (see here). Campbell
However, in the same report, Fritz wrote the following:
“Mr Truly had told me that one of the Police Officers had stopped this man [Oswald] immediately after the shooting somewhere near the back stairway.”
The significance of Fritz’s above statement is that the storage room on the first floor of the TSBD was located near the back stairway. However, it should be noted that the second floor lunchroom was also located near the back stairway. Please refer to both Ce1061 and Ce1118 (here and here) for diagrams of the first and second floors of the TSBD.
On a further note, Oswald placed himself on the first floor during the assassination, according to Fritz’s interrogation report, and also according to the joint interrogation report by FBI agents James Hosty and James Bookhout on
the solo report by James Bookhout on 24/11/63,
it is claimed that Oswald admitted during his interrogation that he was in the
lunchroom when Baker allegedly confronted him. However, this
was not stated in the joint report by Bookhout and Hosty (See here).
Now which of the two reports are we to believe is more reliable? The initial report, or the latter report – after Oswald was shot and killed by Jack ruby and unable to speak on his own behalf? Common sense tells us it is the former.
To summarise, Officer Baker made no mention in his
22/11/63 affidavit of encountering a
man in the 2nd floor lunchroom, as he made his way up the stairs inside
the TSBD. Roy Truly was overheard by Kent Biffle informing Fritz on the day of
the assassination that he had seen Oswald near the storage room on the first
floor, as he went inside with Baker. Finally, Occhus Campbell informed the NY
Herald Tribune on 23/11/63
that shortly following the assassination, Oswald was seen on the ground (first)
floor near the storage room.
Yet despite this, many researchers insist the lunchroom encounter did occur. There are some researchers who believe Baker’s encounter with Oswald in the lunchroom occurred after Baker and Truly had returned to the second floor, following their descent from the roof of the TSBD. This is indeed a possibility, and if this was the case, it would explain why Baker didn’t think it was important to report this encounter in his affidavit on the day of the assassination.
There are also some researchers who believe that Baker had simply confused the 3rd/4th floor with the 2nd floor. However, in order to believe this, we must also believe that Baker had confused the stairway for the lunchroom. Furthermore, consider that during his Warren Commission testimony, Baker confirmed that his encounter with the man was on the 3rd/4th floor (the floor on which Baker and Truly had boarded the elevator to the 7th floor was the 5th floor).
All right. After going up the stairways, do you know what numbered floor it was---I will ask you this, did you take the stairway all the way to the top?
No, sir; we caught that elevator, it seemed like we went up either one or two floors, and Mr. Truly said "Let's take the elevator, here it is."
Now if the lunchroom encounter didn’t occur - as the best evidence suggests, the obvious question is: Why was it invented? In my opinion, it was to place Oswald one floor above from where he was, which put him closer to the 6th floor. This would have given the impression that Oswald could’ve descended from the 6th floor to 2nd floor, with sufficient time to be “spotted” by Baker and Truly.
Keep in mind that Mrs Robert Reid, who worked as a clerical supervisor for the TSBD, claimed in her affidavit to the DPD that she observed Oswald enter her Office following the assassination with a bottle of coke in his hand (see here). Since the coke machines were located in the 2nd floor lunchroom, this provided an excuse for the DPD to place the Baker and Truly encounter with “Oswald” in the lunchroom.
Let me also note that apparently Roy Truly had informed reporters and the FBI on the night of
that he and Baker had encountered Oswald in the second floor lunchroom. Yet as
mentioned above, he was overheard by Dallas Morning news reporter, Kent Biffle,
informing Captain Will Fritz that he and Baker encountered Oswald on the first
Bear in mind that the description of the man Baker claimed he encountered walking away from the stairway on the 3rd/4th floor, is similar to the description of the killer provided by Howard Brennan in his affidavit to the DPD (see here). In fact, many researchers (including myself) believe this man was quite possibly the 6th floor shooter. According to Baker’s affidavit, Roy Truly told him the man they encountered worked in the TSBD. Now if this man was the 6th floor sniper, then this means Roy Truly himself was involved in the conspiracy to assassinate the President! (In an upcoming post, I will be discussing the likelihood of Truly’s involvement in the assassination).
Suffice it to say, the best evidence indicates the so-called lunchroom encounter never happened as the Warren Commission told us it did. Although I had for a long time believed the encounter did occur, I was always puzzled by how Baker had managed to catch a glimpse of Oswald through the window of the vestibule door leading to the lunchroom.
On a final note, my appreciation goes to researchers such as Greg Parker and Sean Murphy for their research concerning this issue. I only hope that many more researchers come to realise that the lunchroom encounter was simply another fabrication by the DPD.