ViewGunmanPicketFence HoffmanFenceShoot JFKfatalShot



"Part of me wanted to concentrate on seeing the president,
but I couldn't keep from looking back at the two men behind the fence.
Just as I did look back,
the man in the business suit raised the gun.
I saw him rest it on the pickets in the fence.
And just then I saw a spark of light.
I saw a puff of fluffy white smoke.
An instant later, I saw the businessman turn back away from the fence,
and as he turned around, I could clearly see the gun in his hand.
I could see the brown stock as he held the gun out in front of him.
Then, very quickly, he tossed the gun over to the train man and started running.
He ran past the parked cars and kept on going,
running north into the railroad yards."


watch What Ed Hoffman Saw listen

I learned of the existence of Ed Hoffman -- the deaf man who witnessed the assassination of JFK from behind the picket fence -- about twenty-five years ago when I first began researching JFK's assassination. He was in the book CROSSFIRE by Jim Marrs which came out in 1989. Since then I've read about Hoffman from many other sources and he fascinates me because, in reality, he's God's own witness -- so godcidently was he positioned that day and how hard he tried for the rest of his life to get the truth out to we the people. Below, from various sources, are excerpts, photos, maps and diagrams describing where Ed Hoffman was and what he saw happen to JFK in Dealey Plaza on Friday, November 22nd, 1963.

MarrsCrossfire CrossFireBackCvr CrossfireHoffmanPg82

A Grassy Knoll Witness, pages 81-85


It is a strange irony that the one person who apparently witnessed men with guns behind the wooden picket fence on the Grassy Knoll at the time of the Kennedy assassination was unable to tell anyone what he saw. Ed Hoffman of Dallas has been deaf since birth and, as is common with that disability, he cannot speak. However, this did not prevent him from attempting to alert authorities to what he saw behind that fence. Although Hoffman told his family and friends what he saw at the time and later reported it to the FBI, his story has remained unpublicized over the years. Finally, in the summer of 1985, he told his story to this author. It was later substantially confirmed by FBI documents.


MapConnollyDealyPlaza dealeyelm.jpg DealeyWarrenLayout

PlazaDeafTowerMap DeafManMap MapHoffHollBowSmith DeafTowerMenMap

Hoffman was twenty-six years old on November 22, 1963, and at noontime was driving toward downtown Dallas on the Stemmons Expressway when he noticed numerous people lining the freeway. He suddenly realized that President Kennedy was to motorcade through the city that day, so he stopped his car just north of a railroad bridge across Stemmons and joined the spectators.... After waiting for a time, Hoffman decided to walk along the shoulder of the freeway to a point where it crossed over Elm Street in hopes of getting a view into Dealey Plaza. From this vantage point, Hoffman was approximately two hundred yards west of the parking lot behind the picket fence at an elevation of about the height of the first floor of the Texas School Book Depository.


Being unable to hear, he was not aware that Kennedy's motorcade was passing through the plaza. However, he was aware of movement on the north side of the picket fence. He became aware of a man running west along the back side of the fence wearing a dark suit, tie, and an overcoat. The man was carrying a rifle in his hands. As the man reached a metal pipe railing at the west end of the fence, he tossed the rifle to a second man standing on the west side of the pipe near the railroad tracks that went south over the Triple Underpass. The second man was wearing light coveralls and a railroad worker's hat.


MapAssassinWitnesses AssassinFootprints

The second man caught the rifle, ducked behind a large railroad switch box -- one of two at that site -- and knelt down. The man disassembled the rifle, placed it in a soft brown bag (Hoffman's description matches that of the traditional railroad brakeman's tool bag), then walked north into the rail yards in the general direction of the railroad tower containing Lee Bowers.

The man in the [suit], meanwhile, had turned and run back along the picket fence until midway, when he stopped and began walking calmly toward the corner of the fence. Hoffman could not see the corner of the fence due to cars and overhanging tree branches. Unable to hear, Hoffman was at a loss to understand what was happening as he watched these men.


HoffanStemmonsBridge DeafManRamp


However, moments later Kennedy's car came into sight out of the west side of the Triple Underpas. Hoffman saw the President lying on the seat of the blood-splattered car and realized something terrible had occurred. As the presidential limousine turned onto the Stemmons access ramp just below his position. Hoffman decided to try to alert the Secret Service agents to what he had witnessed. He ran down the grassy incline waving his arms and trying to make them understand that he had seen something, when one of the agents in the President's follow-up car reached down and produced a machine gun, which he leveled at him. Hoffman stopped and threw up his hands and could only watch helplessly as the motorcade rushed past him onto Stemmons in the mad rush to Parkland Hospital.

There was no mention at the time of any Secret Service man with a machine gun, yet Hoffman was emphatic that it was an automatic weapon with a pistol grip and clip. It is now known that Secret Service agent George W Hickey, Jr, in the follow-up car did display an AR-15, the civilian model of the M-16 machine gun, further corroborating Hoffman's story.


Upset over what he had seen, Hoffman looked around for help. He saw a Dallas policeman standing on the railroad bridge crossing Stemmons and he walked toward him waving his arms in an attempt to communicate what he had seen. However, the policeman, unable to understand, simply waved him off. (This part of Hoffman's story is also corroborated, since policeman Earl Brown filed a report stating that he was on the Stemmons railroad bridge at the time of the assassination. However, questioned recenlty about these events, Brown said he has no recollection of seeing Hoffman).

Unable to get help, Hoffman walked back to his car, then drove behind the Texas School Book Depository for several minutes trying to locate the man with the rifle in the brown bag. He was unsuccessful. However, this is indicative of the total lack of security around the Depository in the chaotic minutes following the assassination. Hoffman was able to drive around in the rail yards behind the Depository for some time and then leave without being stopped or questioned by authorities. He then drove to the Dallas FBI office but found no one there except a receptionist. He left his name and address with the FBI. The FBI never responded. At the time, Hoffman had a relative at the Dallas police station, and he drove there next, hoping to find some help. However, the station was sealed off and the officer on the door refused to allow him to enter. Thwarted in his attempts to tell authorities what he had seen, Hoffman finally went home....

~ end quoting Crossfire ~

Then a few years ago I learned more about Ed Hoffman in the book JFK: BREAKING THE SILENCE by Bill Sloan, published in 1993. I'd read his previous book JFK: THE LAST DISSENTING WITNESS about Jean Hill, the famous Lady In Red who, standing on the Grassy Knoll, was closest to JFK's car when he was hit and saw smoke coming from behind the picket fence.

BeginDownElm JeanHillbookCover MomentJFKhit

Below are excerpts from JFK: BREAKING THE SILENCE, focusing on Ed Hoffman, with photos/maps/diagrams inserted from various sources to enhance understanding.

SloanBreakingSilenceCvr EdHoffmanSilencePg10
chapter Speak No Evil: The Ed Hoffman Story, pages 10-49


Your name is Ed Hoffman, and you've got a secret -- one of the most terrible secrets ever visited upon any living person. With your own eyes, you just saw two men commit the crime of the century. You witnessed a murder carried out with calculated viciousness and cold-blooded precision -- a murder that will forever alter the entire course of modern history.... The president of the United States has just been assassinated, and you may be the only person on earth who got a clear view of the assassins. You saw them from a considerable distance, but with perfect clarity. One of them wore a dark business suit, a hat, and a tie. The other was dressed in the cap and overalls of a railroad worker. In horror, you watched them dispose of the murder weapon. You saw precisely how they did it. You may be the sole eyewitness to their actions.... You want desperately to scream out the truth, but you can't. You can make sounds, but nothing that anyone else can comprehend. You can't speak a word -- because you're a deaf-mute...

At about 10:30 am that Friday, November 22, 1963, Ed took his morning coffee break along with the rest of the crew in the Texas Instruments machine shop.... He bit down on a large ice cube and felt a sudden pain stab through one of his jaw teeth.... He had broken a tooth.... Since the office of Ed's dentist was in Grande Prairie -- at the time a town of about 30,000 located due west of Dallas -- Ed's route took him south on USA Highway 75 and squarely through the center of the city.... As he drove west, he began to notice large crowds of people lining the downtown sidewalks and an unusual number of policemen... "I remembered that JFK was coming to town that day, and I got so excited".... Ed's route led him past Dealey Plaza, a fan-shaped, parklike area that lies at the extreme west end of the downtown business district....

PlazaDeafTowerMap DeafManMap MapHoffHollBowSmith DeafTowerMenMap

HoffanStemmonsBridge DeafManRamp

Instead of continuing west toward Grand Prairie, Ed impulsively turned on the ramp leading into northbound Stemmons -- the very same ramp that the presidential limousine would be taking some fifteen to twenty minutes later. On the spur of the moment, he decided that the opportunity to get a glimpse of JFK was simply too much to pass up. The dentist and his broken tooth would just have to wait....

Being very familiar with the area along the freeway, Ed was almost certain that, if he could position himself atop a certain overpass under which the motorcade would travel, he would be able to look directly down on the president as his limousine passed below. As crowded as the downtown streets had been, Ed was elated to see that there were no similar throngs along Stemmons, and he had no difficulty pulling off onto the shoulder. Except for a solitary police officer who was standing watch on a nearby railroad bridge that spanned the freeway, Ed was the only pedestrian in sight as he parked his car and walked back along the shoulder for something over 100 feet until he came to the edge of the overpass. From here, he was just above the entrance ramp where the president's car would enter the freeway....

"By the time I got to where I wanted to be, I'd say it was probably about ten or fifteen minutes pasts twelve. I had a great view of the whole west end of downtown, especially Dealey Plaza and the railroad yards adjoining the plaza on the north.... I think my vision is much sharper than a hearing person's because I concentrate totally on what I'm seeing and there are no sounds to distract me. I was really enjoying the view.


As he surveyed the busy plaza from a distance of approximately 150 yards, Hoffman's attention was drawn to some activity taking place behind the wooden fence at the top of the now-famous grassy knoll on the north side of the plaza. He could clearly observe two men doing something in that area, although he couldn't tell exactly what. They seemed to be working busily and engaged in serious conversation, and there was something about the whole scene that struck Hoffman as odd for some reason. For one thing, the two men were dressed so differently that they didn't seem to belong togther. One of them was neatly attired in a dark business suit, complete with white shirt, necktie, and short-brimmed black hat. The other wore striped overalls and a cap and looked to be a railroad worker going about his duties -- which seemed a logical enough assumption at first, since the two men were standing right at the edge of the railroad yards. For a time, Hoffman's gaze roamed freely over the panorama before him, but he always found his eyes drawn back after a few seconds to the figures of the two men. And the more he watched them, the more curious he became about what they were doing and the more their movements and mannerisms aroused his suspiciouns.

MapAssassinWitnesses AssassinFootprints

The man in the overalls seemed especially fidgety and kept moving nervously back and forth among some cars that were parked in the area. What were they doing so urgently back there behind that fence, out of sight of the people lined up along the sidewalks facing the plaza? Ed had no answer for his own question; all he knew was that he could no longer tear his eyes away from the figures of the "train man" and the "businessman", as Hoffman still refers to them.... "The train man was standing there behind the fence and beside an electrical box of some kind. He was holding a brown bag, and I thought it had something to do with his work at first. But then I noticed that he and the businessman kept walking around, and they weren't staring down the street in the direction of the motorcade was coming like everyone else was. They seemed to be more interested in the fence than anything else.... "I saw the man in the dark suit bend down and pick up something, but I couldn't tell what he was doing. Then the train man came around and squatted down beside the other man for a while. A few seconds later, I saw the businessman raise back up, and I was amazed to see that he was holding a gun -- a long gun -- like a rifle. "I thought, 'How strange! What's he doing that for?' But then, almost in the same second, I thought, 'Well, maybe he's a guard or something'. Then I noticed that the train man was armed, too. He had a pistol in his hand".


Suddenly, the motorcade was right there. Bracketed by police motorcycles, the blue presidential limousine was turning right off Main onto Houston Street, then back left again onto Elm Street and slowly descending the slight incline in front of the Texas School Book Depository. "I could see that the top was down on the president's car and I could see the people inside waving at the crowds, although I couldn't make out yet who was who. Part of me wanted to concentrate on seeing the president, but I couldn't keep from looking back at the two men behind the fence.

BehindFencePhotos ViewGunmanPicketFence HoffmanFenceShoot

"Just as I did look back, the man in the business suit raised the gun. I saw him rest it on the pickets in the fence.... And just then I saw a spark of light. I saw a puff of fluffy white smoke. The first thing that crossed my mind was that it might be from a cigarette, but it was much too big for that. "When I realized it was a shot, I was totally shocked. I couldn't believe it.


MapAssassinWitnesses AssassinFootprints

An instant later, I saw the businessman turn back away from the fence, and as he turned around, I could clearly see the gun in his hand. I could see the brown stock as he held the gun out in front of him. then, very quickly, he tossed the gun over to the train man and started running. He ran past the parked cars and kept on going, running north into the railroad yards".


In this agonizing interim, the motorcade had come to almost a complete halt. But now it lurched forward again at high speed, streaking onto the Stemmons Freeway entry ramp toward Parkland Hospital, and heading directly toward the vantage point where Hoffman stood.

MotorcadeThruUnderpass JFKcarupStemmonsRamp

"I saw the limousine with the flags coming very fast. I saw JFK and Jackie slumped down in the car as they passed right below me, and I saw the blood. I saw blood everywhere. I saw the president's foot hanging over the side of the car and I saw his head blown open. The side of the president's head looked like red Jell-O. "I felt sick and I said to myself, 'Oh, my God, he's dead. With his head like that, he's bound to be dead'".

And a millisecond later, an even more stunning realization took form amid the horrified confusion flooding Ed's brain: The president of the United States had just been murdered -- and he, Virgil Edward Hoffman, had seen the men who did it. There was always a chance that someone else could have seen them, too, but even in the distress of the moment, Ed somehow doubted it. All he knew for certain was that he had to make sure the two men didn't get away with the unspeakable deed they had done. They had to be caught and made to pay, he thought, as the image of the mortally wounded president flashed before his mind's eye and made him shudder. It was all he could do to keep himself from running across the busy freeway toward the spot where he had last seen the two men. But logic told him that it was too far and there were too many obstacles in the way. He knew he would never make it.

BehindFencePhotos MapAssassinWitnesses

As the limousine roared on past with its tragic cargo, Ed's eyes darted back to the area behind the wooden fence -- just in time to witness the final act unfolding in the deadly tableau 150 yards away. "The train man was still standing there. I could see him very plainly. I watched him take the gun apart. I don't know how he did it because I don't know anything about guns, but he dismantled it and put it inside the brown suitcase. Then he started running, too. He ran off to the north, into the railroad yards. I managed to keep him in sight until he ran behind a train. He ran right around the caboose and disappeared, and after that I couldn't see him anymore"....


He looked down at the roadway below him again and saw a carload of Secret Service agents racing after the president's car. "I started jumping around and waving my arms, trying to get their attention. One of the agents looked up and spotted me, and for a second I thought maybe he might help. But then he pointed his machine gun at me and I thought for sure he was going to shoot me. I don't know if he thought I was involved in the assassination somehow or what, but I stopped waving pretty fast. My heart was pounding and I was so scared I couldn't get my breath. Then the car sped on by, and he was gone"....

SloanBreakingSilenceCvr HoffmanStoryPg32
continuing excerpts from chapter Speak No Evil: The Ed Hoffman Story, pages 32-40

The Warren Commission called its first witness, and began interviewing principal figures in the case early in 1964, and the testimony they would collect over the next nine months would eventually fill twenty-six bound volumes. Many of those who testified had been eyewitnesses in Dealey Plaza at the moment of the assassination, and a number of them expressed the belief that at least some of the shots had come from behind the picket fence on the grassy knoll -- the precise location where Hoffman had seen the man in the business suit fire his rifle.

But Ed was not among those witnesses. As far as the Warren Commission was concerned, there was no such person as Vergil Edward Hoffman, and sometimes Ed almost wished it were true. In September 1964, the Warren Commission issued its much-anticipated report.... Among its conclusions cited in the report: "The shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally were fired from the sixth floor window at the southeast corner of the Texas School Book Depository. The shots were fired by Lee Harvey Oswald.... The Commission has found no evidence that Oswald was involved with any group or person in a conspiracy to assassinate the president....

HoffmanStoryPg37 HoffmanLetterTed

RFK Victory RFK Hotel Hall RFK Head Shot

On June 5, 1968, Senator Robert F Kennedy was fatally wounded as he left a political rally at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.... Like his brother, John, Senator Kennedy was felled by an assassin's bullet in the head....

For Ed, the assassination of another Kennedy tore open all his unhealed emotional wounds anew. "The only thing I could think of was that this man who had killed Robert Kennedy might be one of the two men I had seen behind the fence in Dallas. What if it was all tied in together somehow?"...

Out of this demoralizing period, however, another ray of hope eventually materialized. According to the newspapers, there was pressure building in Congress for a new investigation into the Kennedy case. Since no one else in authority would listen to him, Ed thought, why not contact the one person in the world who should be more interested in the case than anyone else? Wondering why he had never thought of it before, Ed turned his attention to Senator Edward M Kennedy of Massachusetts, the last surviving Kennedy brother. "I knew it was a long shot but I decided to write Ted Kennedy a letter. I thought if I could explain the situation well enough, he would surely be excited to find out who had actually killed JFK and could use his influence to get the investigation re-opened.

Ed spent a long time composing and typing the letter, revising it over and over to make sure that his explanation was clear.... "I thought surely Ted would read my letter and be interested in what I had to say. I convinced myself that he might even come to Dallas to talk with me about it. To me, that would have been like a dream come true, but I was wrong". Several weeks later -- on the twelfth anniversary of JFK's death, to be exact -- Ed received a letter in an official USA Senate envelope. The letter, dated November 19, 1975, reads as follows:

      Dear Mr Hoffman:

      My family has been aware of various theories concerning
      the death of President Kennedy
, just as it has been aware of
      the many speculative accounts which have arisen from the
      death of Robert Kennedy

      I am sure that it is understood that the continual
      speculation is painful for members of my family. We have
      always accepted the findings of the Warren Commission report
      and have no reason to question the quality and the effort of
      those who investigated the fatal shooting of Robert Kennedy.

      Our feeling is that, if there is sufficient evidence to
      re-examine the circumstances concerning the deaths of
      President Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, this judgement would
      have to be made by the legal authorities responsible for such
      further examination. I do not believe that their judgement
      should be influenced by any feelings or discomfort by
      any member of my family

      Ted Kennedy

"When I first opened the letter and read it, I didn't understand", Ed says. "I read it again and then I took it to my dad and asked him to explain what it meant. Surely, I said, it didn't mean that Ted Kenendy had no interest in finding out what really happened to JFK. "But my dad told me that was exactly what it meant. And then he asked, 'Why are you still so worried about this? Why do you keep persisting'? "I didn't know how to answer him. All I knew was that I was crushed. I felt like it was all so hopeless"....

But somewhere deep inside, now deadened somewhat by the accumulated layers of emotional scar tissue left there by the passing years, lurks the dreadful secret that Ed Hoffman longs to share with the world. Until that secret becomes common knowledge, he will never rest or allow it to rest. And he will never understand why it has been ignored and disregarded by so many who might have put it to valuable use. "I want everyone to know", he says simply, "and I don't care if the government is offended or not. I want to show the government that hiding everything is wrong. If we can't tell the truth in this country, what's America for?"

~ end quoting Breaking Silence ~

For the rest of his life, after his story was told in the 1989 and 1993 books excerpted above, Ed Hoffman continued to attempt to spread the truth about what he saw behind the picket fence the day of JFK's assassination. He gave speeches and interviews and appeared in documentaries and movies. Ed Hoffman died in March 2010 at age seventy-three.

All the best,
Jackie Jura

HoffmanLecture watch Ed Hoffman Seminar, January 15, 2001 ( 8:25 into clip Hoffman pantomines picket-fence-shooter in business suit being confronted by a police officer pointing a gun and telling him to raise his hands, then showing identification and police officer lowers gun and lets him go...), YouTube

HoffmanFenceShoot watch Deaf-man Ed Hoffman Pantomines What He Saw (...I was travelling down the freeway when I remembered that President Kennedy was coming to visit Dallas...), YouTube

listen Radio Interview March 2013: Ed Hoffman saw shooter BEHIND the picket fence, with Brent Holland, Night Fright Show, YouTube

HoffmanBooksHome watch Ed Hoffman the Deaf Man (clip of Hoffman's view of JFK's head as the Lincoln passed under the Stemmons Freeway), YouTube

LaneRushJudgement Rush to Judgement, by Mark Lane, published 1966 (A critique of the Warren Commission's enquiry into the murders of President John F Kennedy, Officer J. D. Tippitt and Lee Harvey Oswald)

LadyRedHillInterview watch Witness Jean Hill (Lady in Red) interview on 22 November 1963 (saw smoke from behind the picket fence; heard bullet come from there), YouTube

HillMoormanPolaroidJFK HillMoormanInterview watch Witnesses Jean Hill & Mary Moorman interview on November 22, 1963 (talking about taking polaroid photo of moment JFK hit by fatal bullet from behind the picket fence), YouTube, YouTube

MomentJFKhit listen Witnesses Jean Hill & Mary Moorman first interviews on November 22, 1963, DVP Video/Audio Archive (... look of pain on his face... interval three or more shots... shots came from the hill... just east of the underpass... we were on the south side... I thought I saw this man running but I looked at the President for awhile...I started running up there too...I pressed the camera button immediately when he slumped...)

DOC MCCLELLAND JFK CONSPIRACY THEORIST (...Ed Hoffman, who is deaf, had his daughter tell McClelland what he saw near the grassy knoll, behind the picket fence, when Kennedy went down. Hoffman, 27 at the time, had left work around the time of the president's arrival in Dallas to get a toothache inspected at the dentist. The presidential motorcade forced Hoffman to pull off on the edge of Stemmons Freeway, about 700 feet away from the knoll. He said he saw one suited man pull out a rifle, place it on top of the fence and fire at Kennedy, then toss the gun to another man dressed in work clothes. That man disassembled the gun, put it in his tool bag and disappeared into the crowd, Hoffman said. Moments later, Hoffman saw a policeman question the suited man, then walk into the crowd with him following a short glimpse of the man's identification...

SearchForOswald.jpg The Search for Lee Harvey Oswald, A Comprehensive Photographic Record, by Robert J Groden

GrodenKillingPres.jpg GrodenKillingPres.jpg The Killing of a President: The Complete Photographic Record of the JFK Assassination, The Conspiracy, and the Cover-Up, by Robert J Groden

JFK mementos for sale: Piece of grassy knoll picket fence, FortWorthStarTelegram, Nov 24, 2016
It has been 53 years since President John F Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas. Mementos from that day in 1963 remain -- and some are now on the auction block from various sellers. But they won't come cheap.... There's a metal post from the fence on the grassy knoll, with a starting bid of $23,500. The description of the item, up for sale on eBay, says that this fence post "is the very same one that was standing at almost the exact position from where the United States House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations concluded it to be probable that someone fired a rifle from behind the Fence on the grassy knoll at President John F Kennedy on that fateful day in Dallas some 53 years ago". This post -- part of the stockade style picket fence built on the grassy knoll in the 1950s -- was about seven feet, 10 inches west of the corner of the fence that day. The starting bid for the fence post is listed at $23,500. Bidding ends Sunday...

JFK Grave Flame
JFK assassin picket fence post auctioned
MetalFencePost FencePostLocation FootprintsBehindFence FencePostInOut
watch Zapruder Film HD reaction
UmbrellaArmUp JFKLastWaveSign UmbrellaStemmonsSign
BowersTower WitnessBowers BowersViewShooters
HollandTopUnderPass DealeyPlazaMovieJFK HollandPicketFence
ViewGunmanPicketFence HoffmanFenceShoot JFKfatalShot
JFKpicketfence1960 MomentJFKhit JFKpicketfenceJackie1960
President Kennedy assassinated 53 years ago
November 22, 1963-2016
4.Old World Destruction &







Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~