John Hinckley Jr., who shot President Ronald Reagan 41 years ago, is set to be released from federal psychiatric care in less than two weeks without conditions.
Clinton-appointed U.S. Senior District Judge Paul Friedman told a hearing that Hinckley will be released from psychiatric care June 15. The judge declared that if he hadn’t shot the president, his release would have happened “a long time ago.”
Friedman said last September that the attempted assassin would be released this year if he remained in good behavior. He also said Hinckley currently shows no signs of mental illness.
The popular Republican president was leaving the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., on March 30, 1981 when Hinckley fired six shots from a .22 pistol.
Three members of Reagan’s entourage and security squad were wounded, including press secretary James Brady, who was left permanently paralyzed. Brady became a gun control advocate, and after he passed away in 2014, the medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.
Hinckley was never charged with the former press secretary’s killing.
It wasn’t immediately known but the president was struck by a bullet that ricocheted off the limousine and pierced his lung. He had been in office just 69 days.
The 70-year-old Reagan underwent emergency surgery to remove the “devastator” bullet, designed to explode on impact, which was lodged an inch away from his heart.
In a quip to be long remembered, as he was going into surgery and having lost 40% of his blood, Reagan said to his surgeons, “Please tell me you’re Republicans.”
Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity and given a 35-year sentence to a mental health facility. He told authorities at the time that he attempted to kill the president to impress actress Jodi Foster, who he’d seen in the movie “Taxi Driver.”
He is now 67 years old and has been living outside a mental health facility for several years. There has been a gradual easing of supervision for Hinckley, who apologized to the Reagan family and says he wishes he could “undo” what he did in 1981.
The would-be assassin is about to embark on a solo music tour. Seriously. He has a sold-out date in New York City and another show scheduled for Chicago.