Virgil (Ed) Hoffman was born in 1937. After leaving school he found employment at Texas Instruments in Dallas. On 22nd November, 1963, Hoffman stood on the shoulder of the Stemmons Expressway in Dallas when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The deaf-and-dumb witness claimed he saw a man with a rifle moments after the shots were fired. He later described how a man wearing a dark suit and tie, with an overcoat, ran west along the wooden fence with a rifle and tossed it to a second man who was dressed like a railroad worker. The second man then disassembled the rifle and put it in a soft brown bag.
Hoffman immediately tried to alert the Secret Service agents about what he had seen. However, unable to understand what he was trying to say, he was threatened with a machine-gun (believed to have been George Hickey). He then attempted to tell his story to a Dallas policeman (believed to be Earle Brown). Unable to understand him, Brown waved him away. Hoffman then visited the local Federal Bureau of Investigation office. No officers were there and so he left written details with the receptionist. (The FBI never responded to this note.)
Hoffman told his father, Frederick Hoffman, about what he saw. His father, concerned that his son could be in danger, urged him not to tell anyone about what he had seen. Ed Hoffman did tell his story to his uncle, Robert Hoffman, a Dallas police officer. However, the police officer decided not to take the story to the Dallas Police Department: "I know that Eddie's a very bright person and always has been, and can't think of any reason why he would make up something like this.... His father (Frederick) was very, very concerned that Eddie knew anything about the assassination at all. It was time when suspicions were running high and he (Frederick) was worried about Eddie getting involved in any way... It just wasn't a time for loose statements that couldn't be proved or backed up with any evidence."
In June, 1967, Ed Hoffman took his story to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. When agents checked out his story they discovered his father did not want it investigated. The following month the FBI reported that "the father of Virgil Hoffman stated that he did not believe that his son had seen anything of value and doubted he had observed any men running from the Texas School Book Depository and for this reason had not mentioned it to the FBI." One FBI agent confirmed the worries of Frederick Hoffman by telling Ed Hoffman to keep quiet about what he had seen or "you might get killed".
Ed Hoffman did keep quiet until 1975 when he wrote to Edward Kennedy about his story. Kennedy replied: "My family has been aware of various theories concerning the death of President Kennedy, just as it has been aware of 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."
On 25th March, 1977, Hoffman contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation again. This time Hoffman took with him Richard H. Freeman, one of the supervisors at Texas Instruments. Freeman understood sign-language and was able to help explain in more detail what Hoffman saw on 22nd November, 1963. Again the FBI showed little interest in pursuing the story.
Ed Hoffman died on 24th March, 2010.