After spending 34 years in a psychiatric hospital after trying to assassinate President Ronald Reagan, John Hinckley Jr. is going to be set free. Before he’s released, get to know more about the man who nearly killed a U.S. president.
1. He will be a free man – almost.
John Hinckley Jr., 61, has been deemed fit for release, according to The Washington Post. He could be st free as soon as Aug. 5, but the man who almost assassinated President Ronald Reagan in 1981 won’t be completely free. He will live with his 90-year-old mother and can only travel within a 50-mile radius of Williamsburg, Virginia. He will continue with regular medical checkups and he also has to stay off of social media.
2. He came one inch from killing Ronald Reagan.
He was only 25 years old when he almost joined John Wilkes Booth, Charles J. Guiteau, Leon Czolgosz, and Lee Harvey Oswald in the club of U.S. President Assassins. On March 30, 1981, President Reagan was exiting the Washington Hilton Hotel in D.C. after delivering a speech. John waited among a crowd of admirers before unloading six shots from his .22 revolver in 1.7 seconds.
During the attack, White House Press Secretary James Brady was struck in the head, while Secret Service Agent Timothy McCarthy was shot in the abdomen. D.C. police officer Tomas Delahanty took a bullet in the back of his neck and President Reagan was injured when a bullet ricocheted off the armored side of his limo to pierce his left side. Ronald’s lung partially collapsed but it could have been worse – the bullet stopped one inch from the President’s heart. Thankfully, everyone survived.
3. John did it all for deranged love of Jodie Foster.
After seeing the 1976 film Taxi Driver, John became obsessed with Jodie Foster. He watched the film 15 times and made several attempts to contact her, according to Biography.com. When he was taken into custody following the 1981 assassination attempt, he said it was an “unprecedented demonstration of love” for her.
4. He had some interesting hobbies while he was committed.
John was found not guilty in 1982 by reason of insanity and committed to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in D.C.. While under observation, he was pen pals with convicted serial killer, Ted Bundy, before Ted was executed in 1989. Over the decades, John seemed to make progress in his recovery, gaining permission to have supervised visits outside the hospital in 1999. He lost these privileges after he was found to have a book on Jodie Foster.
5. John Hinckley Jr. was (partially) responsible for gun control reform.
James Brady was paralyzed by the attack, and he spent the rest of his life advocating for gun control reform. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, passed in 1993, mandated federal background checks on firearm purchases. This major change happened due to John’s assassination attempt. So, that’s something.
What do you think about John Hinckley Jr. getting released, HollywoodLifers?