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John Hinckley Jr. said he wanted to assassinate President Reagan to impress actress Jodie Foster. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982 and remains in custody.


Reagan was leaving the Hilton in Washington, D.C., after an appearance when this photo was taken, moments before Hinckley opened fire.


An unidentified Secret Service agent, automatic weapon drawn, shouts orders after shots were fired.


The bullet that hit President Reagan glanced off the frame of his limousine before striking him. It wasn't immediately clear he'd been hit.


Secret Service agents hustle the president into the limousine, which went directly to the hospital.


Tumult immediately followed the shooting, which gravely injured Press Secretary James Brady and struck two others besides the president.


Press Secretary James Brady lies wounded on the sidewalk as police and Secret Service agents wrestle John Hinckley Jr. to the ground.


Secret Service Agent Timothy J. McCarthy is loaded into an ambulance after being hit in the chest by a bullet; he recovered and is now living outside Chicago. He remains the last Secret Service agent to have taken a bullet for the president.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Edmonds / Associated Press

Presidential assistants James Baker, left, Edwin Meese III and Larry Speakes arrive at George Washington University Hospital to see Reagan.


News of the shooting prompted extra newspaper editions in Tokyo and elsewhere around the world.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Tsugufumi Matsumoto / Associated Press

The .22-caliber revolver used by Hinckley was displayed at his 1982 trial in Washington.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

One of the "Devastator" bullets used in the shooting.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dave Taylor / Associated Press

Hinckley holds a pistol to his own head in a Polaroid that was used as evidence in his trial.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

A crowd waits in a heavy rain outside George Washington University Hospital for word on Reagan's condition. Inside, he was famously cracking jokes, telling his surgeons, "I hope you're all Republicans."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Bob Daugherty / Associated Press

Two people hang a sign on a building near the George Washington University Medical Center on the day after Reagan's shooting.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Charles Tasnadi / Associated Press

The White House staff poses for a get-well photo for Reagan, Brady, McCarthy and wounded police officer Tim Delahanty.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barry Thumma / Associated Press

After visiting Reagan in the hospital, Vice President George H.W. Bush gives the public a positive report.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

President Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan arrive at the White House after his release from the hospital on April 11, 1981, 12 days after the shooting.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

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President Reagan’s shooting | March 30, 1981

Thirty years ago, on March 30, 1981, an attempt was made to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C.

At 2:27 p.m., as the president walked to his limousine outside the Washington Hilton after a speaking engagement, John Hinckley Jr. stepped out from a crowd less than 20 feet from the president, raised a .22-caliber pistol, and fired.

Press Secretary James Brady was hit by one shot; police officer Tom Delahanty by another. Secret Service Agent Tim McCarthy intercepted one that was on a vector to hit Reagan, after turning and shielding the president with his body; another bullet slammed into the door of the car as Secret Service Agent Jerry Parr urgently pressed Reagan into the vehicle.

And one bullet glanced off the frame of the limousine and ricocheted, hitting President Reagan under his left arm, puncturing a lung and lodging an inch from his heart.

Less than five seconds after the first shot was fired, the limousine carrying the president sped off toward George Washington University Hospital where Reagan underwent emergency surgery followed by 12 days of recovery.

The attempt on the life of the 40th president of the United States was unsuccessful but it was a day that would forever change America.

Framework presents a photographic remembrance of that fateful spring day in our nation’s capital.


  1. March 30, 2011, 9:17 am

    This happened on the day I was born!

    By: EREDR
  2. March 30, 2011, 10:02 am

    The limo did NOT go directly to the hospital!!! It is widely known that the limo headed for the White House and was still heading that way when the agent with Reagan discovered his wound. Only then did the limo change direction and go to the hospital.

    By: Michael
  3. March 30, 2011, 7:14 pm

    why is he john hinckley alive?

    By: reagan

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