On March 30, 1981, John Hinckley Jr. attempted to assassinate US President Ronald Reagan. He wounded police officer Thomas Delahanty, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy, and Press Secretary James Brady in the process. Hinckley shot six bullets that day, and though he didn’t hit Reagan directly, one of the bullets ricocheted off the side of the president’s limousine and hit him in the chest, seriously wounding him.
Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity and was sent to a psychiatric institution. On September 10, 2016, he was released from psychiatric care.
Since his release six days ago, Hinckley has lived full-time at his mother’s home in Williamsburg, Virginia. According to Fox News, the federal judge presiding over Hinckley’s case ruled that the now 61-year-old is no longer a danger to himself or others.
Judge Paul L. Friedman’s July 27 ruling went on to say that Hinckley was “a ‘profoundly troubled 25-year-old young man’ when he shot Reagan in an effort to impress actress Jodie Foster, but he has not exhibited symptoms of major depression or psychotic disorder for more than two decades.” Over the past two plus years, he has spent 17 days of each month at his mother’s home.
Hinckley has been ordered to spend at least a year living with his mother in her gated-community. After that, he is permitted to live on his own, with a roommate, or in a group house. He is also being asked to find part-time employment or volunteer work, and will need participate in group or individual therapy, according to Fox.
In response to the question of whether or not Hinckley should be freed, The Blade writes, “Either his conduct will prove his doctors right — he is no longer a danger to society — or it will prove them wrong. How much of a roll of the dice you think this is depends on how much faith you have in the psychiatric and psychological arts.” Patti Davis, Reagan’s daughter, believes that Hinckley should have never been released, regardless of whether or not he is psychologically healed.
Press secretary James Brady spent life in a wheelchair after being partially paralyzed by Hinckley. In 2014, he passed away at age 73. Brady’s death was eventually ruled a homicide, though no further charges were brought against Hinckley.