TIMELINES: What world leader survived an assassination attempt on March 30, 1981?

March 30, 2012 Updated: September 29, 2015

Friday, Mar. 30, 2012


March 30, 1981, at 2:25 p.m., as President Ronald Reagan is leaving a hotel after giving a speech, John Hinckley Jr. pulls out a .22-caliber blue steel revolver and fires six times at the president. White House Press Secretary James Brady and a police officer are both shot but not fatally. Reagan takes the sixth bullet in his lung, barely an inch from his heart, but also fully recovers. Hinckley is immediately tackled by the Secret Service. Hinckley, who is obsessed with Jodie Foster, apparently committed the crime in an attempt to impress the star and win her heart. Hinckley is found not guilty by reason of insanity and is locked up in psychiatric hospital.


Today, President Reagan’s would-be assassin John Hinckley Jr. is waiting to hear the result of an appeal to have longer unsupervised visits with his mother, which could eventually lead to his discharge. Officials at the psychiatric hospital where Hinckley has been kept for the last 31 years, argue that he should have more freedom, but U.S. federal authorities strongly believe he should not. Evidence submitted by the state included testimony by a federal agent who observed Hinckley go into a bookstore last October and stare for 15-20 seconds at books on presidential assassinations. A ruling is expected in April or May.