Would-be Reagan assassin John Hinckley Jr. released from mental hospital

Former Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy says 'I hope they're right,' when asked about the decision to release John Hinckley Jr., the man who shot Ronald Reagan in 1981. McCarthy, now a police chief near Chicago, was wounded in that shooting. (July 29) AP

The man who shot President Ronald Reagan has been released from a mental hospital after more than 30 years of treatment and rehabilitation, and will live with his elderly mother in suburban Virginia.

John W. Hinckley Jr. was released Saturday morning, the Associated Press and Washington Post reported, and will live in Williamsburg, which he has visited multiple times for short trips.

Hinckley, now 61, was 25 when he shot Reagan, a Secret Service agent, a District of Columbia police officer and James Brady, Reagan’s press secretary. Brady died in 2014 from his injuries; the others recovered.

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The shooting on March 30, 1981, helped galvanize opposition to the easy availability of handguns and led to the creation of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Hinckley used an insanity defense during his trial, and was committed to a mental hospital for treatment. Hinckley had been permitted to make longer and longer visits to his mother’s home over the past several years, and a federal judge this summer ruled that he was no longer a threat to himself or others.

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Hinckley is technically on “convalescent leave” from the hospital, and he’ll continue to be treated and monitored on an out-patient basis, according to the judge’s order.

Hinckley said he stalked and shot Regan in an effort to impress actress Jody Foster. The jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity and he was committed to St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C.

The judge this summer ruled Hinckley, who he said is suffering from arthritis and high blood pressure, has been in remission for at least 20 years. Doctors initially diagnosed Hinckley with major depression and “psychotic disorder not otherwise specified,” and Hinkley tried to kill himself in 1983.

USA TODAY


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